TRALEE RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 10th August 1767
Final meeting: August 2008
Racing in Tralee, county Kerry has a long tradition with the first recorded meeting taking place in 1767 when racing was staged on the lands of the 'Gentry' and racecourses were movable. The opening six day meeting began on Monday 10th August 1767 with a race restricted to Kerry bred horses. It was won by Spodill for Mr Bateman. The next day the Whim Plate went to Mark Anthony for Mr Denny, while a race for hunters was won by Mr Quinn’s Old Ireland. The Tralee course was on the periphery of the town, although at least six different locations were used. Racing moved to Ballybeggan Park, where it ended its days, in 1898. The Park was formerly a Deer Park owned by the family of Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator. Before then, admission to the races was free but a fence was erected around the Park to ensure that everyone paid. Racing continued until the 1930's when the Economic Recession forced the company into liquidation. The present Company bought the property in 1946, with fifty people contributing amounts of either £100 or £200 towards its purchase from the O'Connell family. After the War had ended racing resumed in October 1946. The Directors hit on the idea of the Rose of Tralee Festival, with the original Directors of the Festival drawn from the members of the Race Company. With the success of the Festival racing thrived, quality horses were attracted to the course, encouraging crowds in their thousands. The principal races at the track were the Carling Gold Cup and Denny Gold Medal. Captain Christy won the Carling Gold Cup before going on to record a success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The great Vintage Crop won the Carling Gold Cup in 1992 before landing the Caesarewitch of that year and, to show his versatility, going on to land the Irish St Leger and Melbourne Cup in 1993. The wonderful mare Dawn Run was successful at Tralee before landing that remarkable double, the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle in 1984 and Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986. Montys Pass won the Denny Gold Medal at Tralee before gaining success at Aintree in the Grand National. The track closed its gates for the final time in August 2008 when crowds declined to an unviable level.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 4 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

Local Patrons Mr Denny, Mr McCarthy
Principal Races Carling Gold Cup, Demmy Gold Medal

Friday 14th August 1767
Tralee Weight for Age Handicap
1. Ajax, bay gelding owned by Mr Gunn
2. Cadina, grey filly owned by Mr Hewson
3. Unnamed bay mare owned by Mr Westrop
4. Peacock, bay gelding owned by Mr McCarthy
5. Cleopatra, black mare owned by Mr Denny
6. Red Rose, roan mare owned by Mr Collis

The final meeting took place in August 2008.
Course today On Ballybeggan Park.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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