Punchestown Racecourse has commenced phase two of their €6.2 million racecourse redevelopment, with work on a stunning new grandstand due to be completed by March 2018, in time for next year’s Irish National Hunt Festival.
The redevelopment is part-funded through the Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Racecourse Capital Development scheme, with additional funding bringing to 40% the HRI contribution to the cost of the project, approved at Monday’s HRI Board Meeting.
The principal feature of phase two will be a new grandstand in the area close to the final fence incorporating a dedicated Owners and Trainers lounge, public bars and additional toilets and betting facilities. Landscaping works and upgrade of the tarmac areas around the parade ring will also form part of the development which will cost an estimated €4.4 million.
Phase two will also include completion of the ground and first floor bar refurbishments, with themed areas creating more intimate settings and an upgrade to the turnstile facilities to improve the initial arrival experience.
The track enjoyed a hugely successful 2017 festival with a total attendance of 122,557 witnessing the best of jumps racing, an increase of 7% on 2016.
Phase one of the project, which commenced in May 2016, contributed hugely to this year’s festival, with enhanced facilities throughout the grandstand enclosure including additional public seating areas, upgrade to the winners’ room, construction of a new permanent festival press room and a new dining facility in the La Touche Restaurant.
Popular elements of the current festival facilities will be retained and incorporated into the new design, including the hospitality pavilions and canopy-covered Sky Bar.
Dick O’Sullivan, General Manager of Punchestown Racecourse, commented: “Punchestown is the home of Irish jump racing and we are conscious that the venue must live up to such a title. Through hard work and a dedicated team, we have continued to develop and grow the Irish National Hunt Festival despite some difficult years, and I think anybody who was here will agree, the festival just gone was right up there with the best we have hosted.”
“The customer experience is paramount to maintain and grow attendances and now is the time to upgrade our facilities. With the support of our trustees, Kildare Hunt Club, sponsors, Horse Racing Ireland and of course our loyal customers, we look forward with confidence to improving the facilities at Punchestown and this new development will be a huge addition to our enclosure and make the racing experience so much more enjoyable for thousands of customers from next year on.”