The UK and Ireland are the only two countries where horse racing and greyhound racing are put on the same level as football or other sports. Both are truly exciting too, with some of the best performers of all time coming from either the UK or Ireland. Since racetracks take up a lot of space and are pretty costly to operate, many have several purposes and offer both greyhound and horse races.
Nearly 100,000 people visit racecourses in Ireland every year, and the number is even higher in the UK. As mentioned, both sports are put on the same level as football and have a long history that runs back for centuries in both countries. Betting is heavily associated with the sports too. If you want to try your hand at another form of thrilling live race betting, similar to that of horse racing, then head over on GreyHoundBetting.co.uk to learn more about how to punt on greyhound racing and read their guides. Below you can find the top multi-purpose racecourses in UK and Ireland.
The legendary Dundalk racecourse is an Irish all-weather, flood-lit racetrack that first opened in 2007. Back in the days, it was the world’s first facility that combines horse racing with greyhound racing. The all-weather track is used for preparation runs and flat and jump races, but the course has a great program for regulars and poly-track specialists too.
The flat oval track is 10 furlongs long. There’s a 5-furlong sprint adjoined to the home straight, and overall, the track is left-handed. Dundalk is a very fair racecourse and a bit sharp at some points, but the 5 furlongs straight gives every greyhound and horse a chance to win.
Moving to the UK, Epsom Downs is one of the most famous racecourses in the world. It is home to the Oaks and the Derby, staging the events since 1780. The testing flat racing track is 12 furlongs long and features one of the most famous bends in the world of horse racing – the Tattenham Corner.
The Leicester multi-purpose racecourse features flat races up to a mile on the straight course. It’s a sound racing course with fantastic conditions even in cases of unrelenting rain. The racecourse is known for its chases. There are ten fences to jump over, one water jump, and two open ditches, so it’s not a course for the faint-hearted.
Sandown park is one of the leading dual-purpose tracks in the UK. A total of 26 high-quality races are held at the track, including the Group 1 Coral Eclipse every July. Evening meetings are held as well, and the steeplechases offer some of the most exciting spectacles. The obstacles in quick succession on the back straight make the track very exciting. Sandown Park is the racetrack that closes the National Hunt season with the Whitbread Gold Cup.
The Irish dual-purpose racecourse is a Grade 1 track. It is right handed and 1m6f long, with an uphill finish at the end of a home straight of 3 furlongs. This racecourse has been home to some legendary battles over the years. It has a considerable stature in Ireland and the UK. This is the home of the famous Irish Grand National, one of the sternest horse and jockey tests and the highlight of the fantastic Easter meeting every year.
Located in County Tipperary, the Clonmel Racecourse is a major test for thoroughbreds in Autumn and Winter. It’s 1m2f right-handed track has an uphill battle near the end. The main highlight of the dual-purpose racetrack is the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil chase won several times by legendary performers such as Doran’s Pride.
One of Ireland’s most famous dual-purpose tracks, Bellewstown features both flat races and hurdles. The racetrack is 3 furlongs long and ends with an uphill battle that’s a test for every horse and jockey. The left-handed course is located in County Louth. It may be a small course, but its presence is undeniably major, especially in the summer meetings in July and August, when thousands of racing fans flock the track and create a buzzing atmosphere.
Galway Greyhound Stadium
The Galway stadium is a multi-purpose facility that hosts greyhound races as well as matches in rugby union. It is the home ground of the Connacht Rugby Club that plays games in the Pro14 and European competitions as well. Leased by the Irish Greyhound board, Galway is co-leased by the Connacht club that plans around racing fixtures. The stadium can host 9,000 people for rugby matches, with less than 1,000 for greyhound races. One of the biggest races to take place at the Galway Greyhound Stadium is the Champion Bitch Stakes won by some of the most legendary bitches in Irish greyhound racing history. It’s the jewel of greyhound racing in Ireland.