The Punchestown Festival is a five-day celebration of Irish National Hunt racing at it’s very finest and brings the curtain down on the Irish Jumps Racing season each year with almost a race-for-race repeat of the Cheltenham Festival which will have taken place around one month earlier in England.
This huge social event for patrons and punters is set in the heart of Kildare, an Irish racing homeland that provides the final chance for past and present champions to confirm themselves at the top of their respective racing divisions. It’s clearly a spectacle not to be missed and is one of the key horse racing betting events of the calendar year.
With €3.2m in prize money to be won, 12 Grade 1 contests down for decision and the added bonus of later than usual start times, there is no doubt that Punchestown is one of the Racing Calendar highlights for any horse racing fan and the avid horse racing punter.
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Betting at the Punchestown Festival is frenetic over all of its 39 races spread across five wonderful days of top-class racing. With 11 more races than the famous Cheltenham Festival, and spread perfectly over an extra day than the March showpiece, it truly is a unique occasion for local trainers and jockeys to be a part of. Likewise, the same duly applies to those brave enough from the UK and France to venture over and tackle their foes on Irish home soil.
That makes for competitive betting heats each and every day and with races like the famous Punchestown Gold Cup, the Champion Novice Hurdle, the Champion Chase, the Stayers Hurdle and the Racing Post Champion Bumper. It’s easy to see why Punchestown is only usually eclipsed by the Cheltenham Festival itself in terms of National Hunt Racing betting activity, with all of the best horse racing betting sites offering odds on each race.
Markets for the key Punchestown Festival races will open with bookmakers usually in the immediate aftermath of the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. Many of the best horses will run at all three of these events - with some top horses landing the coveted double or treble - so the best bookmakers out there will wait to know the results of these events before pricing up the same horses to take the spoils at the Punchestown equivalent. Consider this when drawing up your horse racing betting strategy.
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Unlike the Cheltenham Festival the Punchestown Festival rarely sells out even though it will be attended by approximately 125,000 people over the course of 5 days.
Tickets are readily available through the official Punchestown Festival website and vary from between €30 per ticket to €50 per ticket for some of the more exclusive enclosures.
The event is a huge social draw and plenty of hospitality options are available and the betting options at the track include the usual ring of bookmakers, on-course betting shop and the Irish Tote.
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"Diarmuid is a published horse racing journalist and creator of the #racehour twitter community which produces a weekly podcast and a home for all things horse racing throughout the flat and jumps season across the UK and Ireland."