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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sandra Mallon

Punchestown: Staggering amount of food and drink to be served at racing festival

Three tonnes of fresh vegetables, over 60 kilos of artisan cheeses and 15,000 portions of petit four desserts and canapes will be downed with thousands of pints over five days at the Punchestown Racing Festival.

More than 110,000 racing fans are set to pony up their cash this week for the Kildare racing festival.

The racecourse is expected to host thousands of punters over the next five days with 40 races and a prize fund of over €3.3 million attracts the best of Irish and British racing talent.

READ MORE: Bravemansgame given green light to face Galopin Des Champs in Punchestown Gold Cup

Household names like Willie Mullins and Rachael Blackmore will be in action as the best of Irish and British talent battle it out at the home of Irish jump racing.

The five-day Punchestown Festival generates an estimated €60 million towards the local economy.

The entries for the flagship races feature equine superstars including major festival players Galopin Des Champs, Energumene, Bravemansgame and Envoi Allen, who are all backed heavily by Irish bookies.

The festival will open from 1pm for members of the public today, and the first race will begin at 3.40pm.

Conor O’Neill, CEO of the Punchestown Racing Festival, said: "The Punchestown Festival is a combination of so many moving parts.

"A showcase of Irish sporting excellence, one of the largest corporate events in the country, a huge social occasion, an essential fundraiser and a gathering of 110,000 people of all ages, urban and rural, who will share in a memorable experience.

"People make Punchestown and we look forward to welcoming friends old and new to the home of Irish racing for the last week of April."

Over 17,000 hospitality clients from 795 companies, 158 of which are UK-based, will enjoy delicious seasonal menus prepared and served by 60 chefs, 420 catering staff and 280 bar staff.

Back by popular demand is the Bollinger Best Dressed competition with finalists chosen across the first four days progressing to the final on Ladies Day, Friday 28 April.

Open to all, the fresh take on race day style encourages racegoers of all ages to be creative, sustainable and brave in a bid to win the ‘money can’t buy’ prize to Paris with Michelin star dining, private chauffeur and an exclusive behind the scenes visit to the breathtaking Bollinger estate in Champagne region.

The concept is Bollinger Best Dressed – Full Stop. The challenge is set and the competition is open to ladies and gents who catch the eye of the Style Council members by dressing with confidence, elegance and creativity whilst considering sustainability and appropriateness of their outfit.

The Bollinger Best Dressed Style Council Lead Jess Colivet explains what makes this Punchestown’s competition different to other best dressed race days.

She said: "Whilst style is timeless we are looking for something fresh and new. Last year we embraced the fact that Punchestown was probably the first real opportunity to find your style feet again and dress up following Covid.

"This year all bets are off and we are looking for a fresh approach to race day and occasion outfits.

"We invite entrants of all ages and genders to show us their true style with special emphasis on individuality, creative styling and a fresh outlook."

Colivet added: "Being stylish is not about spending a fortune, the most sustainable thing you can do when it comes to fashion is to wear what you already have in your wardrobe.

"Real style is how to wear it and what you wear it with so get creative and borrow, swap, reimagine and alter your way to the Bollinger Best Dressed title."

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes is also taking bets on whether snow will descend upon the popular racing festival and Ladbrokes make it a 8/1 chance of snow on the first day. There's also odds of 4/6 for rainfall on all days of the five-day festival.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a 5/1 chance that the racecourse records the highest temperature of the year this week thanks to an early summer blast.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: "Come rain, hail, or shine, nothing will dampen punters’ spirits ahead of The Punchestown Festival.

"It is the highlight of the Irish racing calendar and we expect to be kept very busy this week. Although whether we will be smiling by the end of the week remains to be seen.

"Willie Mullins holds all the aces this week, and it could prove to be a very costly week for us bookies."

For full event and ticket purchase information please visit


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