Killarney Races

Killarney race course is one of the most beautiful racecourses in Ireland if not the world. 

The first recorded race meetings in Killarney were in 1822 and between that date and 1901 they were staged between two different courses in the area. They were then discontinued until the present course was opened in 1936.

Killarney is the premier tourist destination in Ireland and the Killarney races provides eleven cracking days of racing over 3 summer festivals in May, July and August. Killarney Racecourse proudly boasts the title of the most scenic racecourse in Ireland.

It is situated within walking distance of Killarney town centre and has panoramic view of  Killarney National Park, Ross Castle, The Lakes of Killarney and the McGillcuddy Reeks. Killarney has some of the best hotels, restaurants and night life in Ireland coupled with the best scenery.

Course Characteristics

The course is a left-handed level, oval of approx one mile and about 100 yards and is home to both Flat and National Hunt racing.

How To Get There

By Road: 
Approx 96km north-west of Cork and 32 km south-east of Tralee.

By Rail: 
Killarney Railway Station is regularly served by trains from Heuston Station Dublin, Limerick and Tralee. See for timetables.

By Bus: 
Regular services to Killarney operate from Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Tralee. See or call 01 836 6111 for timetables.

By Air: 
Killarney is very accessible by air. Kerry Airport is located within 16km of Killarney with direct daily access to UK and German destinations with daily direct flights to Dublin Airport (

Cork Airport is only 90km from Killarney and provides a range of UK and EU connections ( Shannon Airport is 135km from Killarney and in addition to UK and EU connections, it offers direct flights to the USA ( Helicopter landing at the course can be arranged in advance.


Day 1: Day Meeting / National Hunt
Day 2: Evening Meeting / National Hunt
Day 3: Evening Meeting / Flat


Day 1: Evening Meeting / Mixed
Day 2: Evening Meeting / Mixed
Day 3: Evening Meeting / Mixed
Day 4: Ladies Day / National Hunt


Day 1: Evening Meeting / Flat
Day 2: Evening Meeting / Mixed
Day 3: Evening Meeting / National Hunt
Day 4: August / Ladies Day / Mixed

What to Wear

Here at Killarney Racecourse, they have no strict dress code policy, yet they do encourage a smart/casual approach, especially in our hospitality suites.

They do host ‘Best Dressed / ‘Ladies Day’ Competitions in July and August, which race-goers are actively encouraged to dress smart. Hats and Fascinators are encouraged and most welcome!

Where to watch the horses

Take a closer look at the horses before you place your bet.
Horses enter the Parade Ring approximately 15 minutes before their race.
Listen out for the bell, which signifies that all the jockeys have been weighed out and are about to mount their horses and ride out to the track.

The Maurice O’Donoghue stand boasts a commanding view positioned directly on the finishing line and gives the best vantage point on the track.

Experience the atmosphere as the horses thunder past the post.
Watching a race from the rails gets you as close as possible to the horses as they race past.

Enjoy the winners coming back to a rapturous applause and the trophy presentations after the race.
The Winners’ Enclosure is located inside the Parade Ring and this is where the winning and placed horses are reunited with their owners.
Trophies are presented by the sponsor or racecourse to the winning owner.

Guide to Betting

A bet is the risk of a sum of money or valued item against someone else’s on the basis of the outcome of an unpredictable event such as a race or game.
A bet can also make any race that so much more thrilling – beating the bookmaker is always an exciting challenge for every punter!

Type of Bets:
There are two types of very popular standard bets – win and each-way.

A Win Bet is very simple – and arguably the most exciting – your horse and jockey have to both cross the line first. They have to win the race.

Each way is very much the same as a win bet but it also has the place part of the bet too.
This means your horse has to finish in the placing of the race, in order for you to get a financial return. Each race has different place terms,
down to the size of the field (how many runners) – so refer to the points below for a full list of place terms

An each way bet is two bets, so it does cost twice as much. (A €5 each way bet would cost €10)

  • Handicaps of more than 16 runners – 1/4 odds on first four places.
  • Handicaps of 12-15 runners – 1/4 odds on first three places.
  • All other races of more than 8 runners – 1/5 odds on first three places.
  • All races of 5-7 runners – 1/4 odds on first two places.
  • All races of less than 5 runners – place money goes on to win.

Odds Explained:

The odds (or price) express the probability of a horse winning a race. 

  • Odds against: Less than 50% predicted probability of winning.
  • Odds on: More than 50% predicted probability of winning. On Course Betting

Bookmakers: The Bookmakers are situated in the middle of the enclosure between the two stands.
Tote: There are various Tote windows around Killarney Racecourse and it’s always easy to get a bet on with the Tote.
Ladbrokes: There are two Ladbroke SP Offices

You will find details of how to place a bet in your race card.

Reading the Form:
A list of all entered horses is first available on-line five days before the event.
Final declared runners and riders will appear on the site 48 hours before each race day.
Please note that changes can occur on the day of the race (such as non-runners, jockeys), and therefore details of runners and riders should be used as an indication only.

The owner’s colours, worn by the jockey during the race to distinguish them from the other runners.

Horse and Owner
The name of the horse is listed above the name of the owner.

Weights affect the chances of the horses in the race.

In conditions races – including weight-for-age races – each horse is allocated a certain weight to carry, depending on factors such as age, sex, and previous races won in certain circumstances.  In handicap contests, the weight for each horse is allocated by the official handicapper, according to past performance.

Jockey and Trainer
As well as looking for a horse in form, following a successful jockey or stable can be an effective way to begin your search for a winner.

Previous Form
The recent performances for each horse are listed in abbreviated form, for example: [124-PB1]. The number represents where the horse was placed in each race, with the most recent performance on the right.

A Guide to Symbols Used

  • / New Season
  • F Fell
  • – New Year
  • U Unseated Rider
  • B Brought Down
  • P Pulled Up
  • d Disqualified
  • O Unplaced

Guide for New Racegoers

If you are new to horse racing this guide will help you.  There are many types of horse racing, from Handicaps and Bumpers to Flat and National Hunt racing.

Flat Racing
As the name indicates, this type of horse racing is run on the flat, with no jumps.

  • Flat races are run over distances ranging from 5 furlongs (5/8 mile or 1,000 metres) to 20 furlongs (2 1/2 miles or 4,000 metres).
  • They are started from stalls.
  • The flat racing season runs from mid-March to mid-November.
  • Flat horses mature quickly and start running as 2 or 3-year-olds.

National Hunt Racing / Jumps
All jump races are contested over at least 2 miles and the horses and jockeys have to jump a number of obstacles. Jump horses mature more slowly and don’t run until they are 4 or 5 year olds.

Types of Jump Races

  • Steeplechase – Run over “fences” which vary in size.
  • Hurdle – Run over obstacles measuring about 3 feet 1 inch in height.
  • Point to Point – Run over fences on designated farmland throughout Ireland in the Spring and Autumn. Point to points are like a nursery for young jump horses.

Horse Racing Glossary

Maiden  – These races are for horses that haven’t won a race before

Handicap – A handicap race sees all horses carry weights based on their ability, which is assessed by the official handicapper. The highest rated horse carries the most weight and the lowest carries the least. Theoretically they then all have an equal chance of winning. A Nursery is a handicap for 2-year-olds only.

Novice – These races are hurdles and steeplechases for horses that haven’t won such a race prior to that season. However, a horse that has won over hurdles the season before can still run in a novice chase and vice versa. (?)

Bumper– A Bumper is a special flat race for young jump horses (also called National Hunt Flat Races). Run over 2 – 2 1/2 miles, these are usually confined to amateur jockeys.

Group 1, 2, 3 (Flat) – These names indicate valuable races (Group 1 being the most valuable) in which the weights carried are the same for all horses.

Listed – These races are just below Group standard but still quite prestigious, and are ‘weight for age’ races.

Conditions Race – A notch below listed standard, Conditions Races require certain conditions for qualification, e.g. winner of one race or more, winner of races of a certain value etc.


There you have it. Now get off to Killarney Races, might see you there.

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