Naas Racecourse launched the Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle this evening at Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, Co. Kildare. The launch, which was hosted by Naas Racecourse Manager, Tom Ryan was attended by a mixture of racing fans, members of the press, fashionistas, and local traders. The fixture will take place on Sunday, 8th of January and is the Kildare track’s premier fixture. A Grade 1 contest, it boasts an impressive roll call of past champions including Carvills Hill and Ventana Canyon. Recent renewals of the Novice Hurdle have featured top-class performers such as Champagne Fever, Mikael D’Haguenet, as well as two Grand National winners Pineau De Re and Rule the World. The 2016 winner Bellshill, subsequently scored again at Grade 1 level during the Punchestown Festival and looks to be a high-class recruit to chasing this winter.
Lawlor’s Hotel have a longstanding connection to Naas Racecourse as its previous owner, Mrs. Brigid Lawlor who established the iconic Naas hotel in 1913 also bred the great Mill House, who recorded his first victory at Naas in the Osberstown Hurdle in 1961. Speaking at the launch, Tom Ryan said, “We are very much looking forward to the third renewal of the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle. As the centre piece of our National Hunt programme the first two renewals have been a resounding success, with modern day attendance records broken in 2015 and again earlier this year. Naas’s reputation as ‘the nursery of champions’, is well established. Over the last five year’s graduates from the race have won a variety of top class races at home and abroad, over €1.6m in prizemoney has been accumulated by these equine stars in that time”.
The famous voice of racing, Dessie Scahill was the MC for the event and he chatted to champion jockey Ruby Walsh on his life in racing as well as his favourite moments. Walsh told how he was around 10 or 11 years old before he really got into racing and how he earned his amateur license on his 16th birthday. “After my first ever win, I thought it was easy, but it wasn’t. I was raging with my mother when she made me go back to school at 16, of course she was right.” He went on to say how he worked both in Ireland and the UK for many years and even though it was an amazing time and he had, “the best craic ever”, it was too much of a strain on family life. “As I get older I have to work harder on my fitness but at 37 years old I’m in better shape now than I was at 19”. Dessie asked him if he had a favourite horse and without missing a beat he retorted, “Kato Star – he was the horse of a lifetime.”
Fashion was also big on the agenda at the launch as the big day will also feature the Hugh Statham Jewellers Winter Ladies Day. A fabulous Raymond Weil watch worth €2,600 is up for grabs for the best dressed lady. The fashion judges will include broadcaster and former model, Glenda Gilson, Bairbre Power of the Irish Independent, Jennifer Stevens, Editor of Irish Country Magazine, and Anna Fortune of the Kildare Post. The four runners up in the fashion competition will also win a necklace each worth €250 from Hugh Statham Jewellers.
Spotted at the launch were, Dermot Cantillon Chairman of Naas Racecourse, David Cox and Tamso Doyle, Mary Fanning of RTE and her husband Larry McCormack, Robbie Osborne and his wife Deirdre and Jack Tierney of Lawlor’s Hotel.
There will be seven races on the card on the 8th of January with the first off at 12.50pm. Admission tickets cost €15 and include a €5 free bet. There will be lots of free family entertainment on the day and children under 18 are free. A range of hospitality packages are available and bookings can be made by contacting Naas Racecourse on (045) 897491 or by logging on to www.naasracecourse.com
For further press information or photography, or to run a competition for tickets to the races please contact Aileen O’Brien, O’Brien PR (045) 407017 (086) 8403624 firstname.lastname@example.org.