A stellar line up has been announced for the JNWine.com (Grade 1) Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival of Racing, 4th and 5th November 2016, with the calibre of entrants comparable to a Formula One event coming to Northern Ireland.
The JNWine.com (Grade 1) Champion Chase, taking place at Down Royal on Saturday 5th November, will be the first Grade 1 race of the National Hunt season in the British Isles and will see more than 1.5 million people tune in to watch one of Northern Ireland’s leading sporting events.
Mike Todd, General Manager at Down Royal, was joined by a panel, which included Grand National winning jockey turned broadcaster, Mick Fitzgerald, at the Festival Launch in the iconic Titanic Belfast. Mike said:
"The National Hunt season has a massive following amongst horse racing fans throughout the entire winter, and to once again kick off the season across the British Isles at Down Royal is fantastic.
"Down Royal hosts twelve races a year but the November Festival is without doubt the pinnacle of our racing calendar. Held over two days there will be a spectacle of graded races with leading jockeys and horses from across the UK and Ireland with a total prize pot of €437,000.
"The Grade 2 WKD Hurdle on Friday 4th November remains the richest hurdle race staged in Northern Ireland always attracting a high calibre of entrants and promising incredible action. The JNWine.com Grade 1 Champion Chase on Saturday 5th November will see the winner walk away with an incredible prize fund of €82,600 and will see trainers Paul Nicholls and Gordon Elliott, who have both enjoyed significant success previously within this race, return with a combined total of eleven entries.”
Joining Mike on the panel at the Festival Launch was Mick Fitzgerald, Grand National winning jockey now broadcaster; Rory Best, Captain of the Ireland Rugby team and Ulster Rugby hooker; and Jack Kennedy, the current leading rider in Ireland.
Whilst shaping up to be a world class fixture showcasing some of the best horse racing on the island of Ireland, the Festival promises just as much action off the track as on the track with thousands expected through the turnstiles each day.
"Off the track, our new catering partner, French Village, has prepared an incredible menu for the Festival which will be enjoyed not only those in the hospitality suites and boxes, but also in the Dark Horse Wine Bar. We’re really excited to welcome both French Village and Mount Charles’ new ‘Drink’ division, which will provide a bar service, to Down Royal.
"We continue our longstanding relationship with Victoria Square and the centre’s sponsorship of the Victoria Square Best Dressed Lady competition on JNWine.com Ladies Day, 5th November, will see the lucky lady win a once in a lifetime holiday to Cape Town, South Africa. Everyone puts such effort into dressing for the Races and we’re delighted to recognise and reward those that go the extra mile not only with our fabulous overall prize but also with special prizes for all the finalists.
"Down Royal not only boasts some of the best horse racing in the UK and Ireland, but also some of the best facilities, particularly within our hospitality areas, making it an unbeatable day out for racing enthusiasts and first time race goers alike.”
Gates will open at 11am on both Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November. General admission can be pre-booked online starting at £12 and a range of corporate and hospitality packages are also available with more information at www.downroyal.com/fixtures/