Tramore Racecourse History
NOTE:The badges displayed on this page are not authentic and are for artistic display only.

The earliest record of racing in the County Waterford holiday resort of Tramore, about 8 miles from the city of Waterford, was in 1785. A local resident, Bartholomew Rivers, spotted the potential to hold races on the strand and meetings continued until 1911. Initially only one meeting was held annually, which was sometimes challenging given the shifting sands, but eventually the meeting increased in popularity and extended to a six day Festival by 1807, with full details of the meeting shown below. Meetings ceased in 1812, with no further racing reported in the annual Racing Calendars until 1835, although meetings were held in the mid-1820s. The management received a boost with the coming of the railway in 1854 with a consequence rise in both popularity and attendance. In 1890 the lease of the course was acquired by local businessman Martin J Murphy and he transformed the course, adding a hotel, golf course and electric street lighting. All went well until the sea intervened in April 1911, causing so much damage to the racecourse infrastructure that it was agreed to transfer the racing to another course. By 1912 meetings were being staged on Graun Hill, owned by Martin Murphy by then the local MP. The inaugural three day meeting took place on 13th August 1912 and the course continued to prosper until the death of Martin Murphy in 1920, after which administration passed to Senator J J Parkinson and Thomas Fleming. In 1924 the meetings became known as ‘Waterford and Tramore races’ and today offer a programme of Flat and National Hunt racing. Currently the course, a right-handed 1 mile circuit, hosts 9 fixtures annually.

Although Tramore remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Kilkenny closed its gates for the final time in 1903.
The Irish racecourse at the town of Kilkenny first held races in July 1731 when organised by the citizens of the town. Racing then lapsed for a while before returning in the middle of the 18th century with a full six day meeting in July 1762. Meetings took place intermittently, but lapsed towards the end of the 18th century. Meetings were rekindled in 1828 with Major Keatinge the driving force behind the revival, and he was rewarded with a crowd in excess of 20000 for the meeting on Saturday 1st November 1828. There were few runners for the 1829 meeting and every race on every day was won by Mr Maher’s Speculation. This was unsatisfactory for the crowd, who also complained that the course lacked basic facilities. The management built a stone grandstand and weigh-house in 1831 and secured wider sponsorship from the Citizens Club. Meetings ceased in the 1850s only to return towards the end of the 19th century. The meeting scheduled for October 1899 was abandoned and races stumbled on for four more years until the final meeting took place on Friday 19th June 1903.
I am grateful to Google Maps (© Googlemap) for permission to use the map shown below.

In August 1807 a six day Festival was organised between Tuesday 18th and Monday 24th August, with a variety of races ranging from Open races to races restricted to horses bred in Waterford. Selected results are shown below.
Tuesday 18th August 1807
Tramore £50 Plate over 3 miles restricted to Irish bred horses
1. Madame Catalani, 5 year old chestnut mare owned by Mr Scully
2. Moll Spriggins, 3 year old bay filly owned by Mr Caldwell
Wednesday 19th August 1807
Tramore £50 Plate over 3 miles restricted to Waterford bred horses

1. Bazilia, 4 year old bay filly owned by Mr Alcock
2. Game Chicken, 3 year old bay colt owned by Mr Cochlan
3. Diamond, 3 year old bay filly owned by Mr Barron
Friday 21st August 1807
Tramore £50 Open Plate over 3 miles

1. Madame Catalani, 5 year old chestnut mare owned by Mr Scully
2. Instructor, aged brown horse owned by Mr Dennis
3. Pretty Boy, 4 year old bay gelding owned by Mr J R Hunter
Monday 24th August 1807
Tramore £50 Weight for Age Plate over 3 miles

1. Madame Catalani, 5 year old chestnut mare owned by Mr Scully
2. Moll Spriggins, 3 year old bay filly owned by Mr Caldwell
3. Pretty Boy, 4 year old bay gelding owned by Mr J R Hunter

Although results ceased being included in the annual Racing Calendars, with racing lapsing in the early 1820s, meetings did resume in 1825, but with less than favourable reports. The Stewards appointed were Catholics, although the majority of Catholics suggested that they would not attend, but prominent Waterford Protestants did express their support for the meeting. The Stewards made no provision for betting or a band, and there was no specific accommodation for ladies. As a consequence very few respectable people attended.
Monday 24th October 1825
Tramore £50 Sweepstake, donated by Mr H V Stuart, restricted to Waterford bred horses

1. Unnamed black horse owned by Mr Maher
2. Unnamed chestnut horse owned by Mr Christmas
3. Unnamed chestnut horse owned by Mr Phelan
4. Unnamed bay mare owned by Mr Fitzgerald
Tuesday 25th October 1825
Tramore £50 Weight for Age Plate

1. Mary Ann, bay mare owned by Captain Caldwell
2. Bustugurth, bay horse owned by Mr Carew
3. Mellish, bay horse owned by Mr Scully

In October 1829 a £30 Steeplechase was staged at Tramore sponsored for £20 by Mr Winston Barron, with £10 donated by the Stewards.
Thursday 15th October 1829
Tramore £30 Steeplechase Sweepstake over 3 miles

1. Talma owned by Mr Maher
2. ‘Dunmore horse’ owned by Mr Murphy
3. Unnamed horse owned by Mr Low
Disq. Dolly bay mare owned by Mr Scully
Refused Taurus owned by Mr Power
The race started and finished in an extraordinary way when Taurus bolted at the start and took no further part. Dolly led from the start and seemingly made all untroubled, but after the race there were a whole host of objections. Dolly had run ‘outside the posts’ and was disqualified. There were further deliberations by the Stewards as to whether Mr Murphy’s horse or Talma should be declared the winner. In a highly unusual outcome the Stewards finally agree that if, on oath, Mr Lapham of Waterford swore that Mr Murphy’s horse ran outside the post then Talma would be awarded the race, but if he declined to swear on oath then Mr Murphy’s horse would keep it. After almost 2 centuries the result is still pending.

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774 former courses

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352 pages

400 former courses

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180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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