Punchestown Festival Guide

Just two weeks after the Irish Grand National, the Punchestown Festival in April sees the top horses, jockeys and trainers go head to head in some of the most exciting racing of the National Hunt season. Top performers from the Irish Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National race are always among the competitors.

Every year the Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown Racecourse grows in size and popularity. In 1999 the Festival was extended from three to four days. The 2008 Punchestown Festival was extended to a five-day event for the first time. A record total of over 100,000 spectators are expected to be at the next Punchestown Festival.

As well as offering top-notch National Hunt racing, the Punchestown Festival is known for its fun, friendly atmosphere. Local schools even let students out for a day to attend. Live entertainment, plenty of food options and competitions that run over the course of the festival add to the fun of the racing events.

Punchestown Festival Schedule

The Irish National Hunt Festival is usually run between April and May each year. Each of the five days will see eight races, with a total of eleven Grade 1 races run over the course of the festival.

Punchestown Festival races include:

In 2008, the '220,000 Handicap Hurdle' run over 2 miles, 4 furlongs, was introduced as the feature race on the new Festival Saturday.

Other National Hunt Grade 1 races include the vcbet.com Champion Novice Hurdle and the Champion Novice Chase on Tuesday, the Paddy Power Champion INH Flat Race on Wednesday, the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle and the Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase on Thursday and the Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle on Friday.

The 2009 Punchestown Festival races had a whopping total prize fund of £2,535,000 – over a £250,000 increase on 2007. All Grade 1 races have a minimum prize fund of £110,000.

Have you picked your favourites for Punchestown Festival betting? Check our festival betting tips before placing your bets.