SARAH KINSELLA: First trip to Roscommon

My Dad always says to me that he wants to visit every racetrack in Ireland and the UK, it’s a great way to see the country and make great memories. Naturally the love of horse racing has passed on to me and I’m lucky enough to have visited most of the Irish tracks but one track that was never ticked off my list was Roscommon, so I headed off yesterday to the heart of Ireland.

It took me about two hours to get there but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to see the car park quite busy. As I walked in the gate the parade ring was straight in front of me, so I got to see the horse’s parade for the first race, I wouldn’t have picked the winner though, 66/1 a great start for the bookmakers!

The track itself had a lovely atmosphere even though it was very windy and cold. The ice-cream van was kept busy funny enough! The restaurant sold out of soup, sandwiches and chocolate, a great sign! It was the tracks last race meeting of the year and the building along the road where the weigh room and owners and trainers bar is, will be getting knocked down and a major revamp will commence soon so we can look forward to attending some new features in Roscommon next year and I will be back.

The feature race on the card was the 40,000E Grade 3 Ballymore Irish EBF Novice Steeplechase. Henry De Bromhead won the race with Ornua and Dylan Robinson was on board, a name we are seeing a lot of lately. Henry had three runners in the race, but I backed the wrong one! I had a fiver on Classic Theatre at 14/1 as our brand ambassador Davy Russell was riding him but it wasn’t meant to be.

Davy had a busy day yesterday with six rides, he had one winner, two second’s and one third so a very good day at the office for Davy. His winner (pictured) was Toor General for Tony Martin and the horse looked smashing in the parade ring, he was bouncing along like he owned the place. He obliged at a lovely price of 11/2. The parade ring was full before and after every race, the betting ring was kept going and the bar was packed with racegoers getting in out of the cold. Henry and The Usual Suspects played live music and anytime I looked into the bar the place was very lively and there were a few people up dancing which you don’t see at most tracks especially on a Monday!!

It’s fair to say the track is dated, they don’t have any facilities like Leopardstown or Punchestown, but I have to say I enjoy the old tracks and Roscommon doesn’t need any fancy corporate tents to show the public how to enjoy at day at the races. Sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way!

The coffee was good, the food was good, and I’m told that the bacon and cabbage dinner is the best thing on the menu, so I will have to try that out next time.

Thank you, Roscommon, another track ticked off my list.