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Punchestown Festival Prize Fund Jumps by Nearly €300,000 to a Record of More Than €2.9 Million

With only seven weeks to go until the 2017 Punchestown Festival, the racecourse today announced a further enhancement of €284,500 to the prize fund that will see the total rise to a record of more than €2.9 million for this year’s renewal from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th April.

The new record prize money total represents a substantial 33% increase since 2013 and importantly guarantees enhancements to prize values across the Festival programme.

With all 37 race sponsorship agreements almost finalised, the following key improvements have been applied:

·         The major feature race on each of the first four days has each been increased by €50,000 to €250,000*

·         The minimum value for any race at the Festival has been increased from €12,000 to €15,000.

·         All Pattern race handicaps will now be worth a minimum of €60,000, up by €20,000.

·         All handicap steeplechases are now worth at least €40,000, with handicap hurdle minimums increasing to €30,000.

*Tuesday – BoyleSports Champion Chase, Wednesday – Coral Punchestown Gold Cup, Thursday – Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle, Friday – BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle

With continued focus on enhancements to the mares programme at the Festival, the Weatherbys GSB EBF Mares INH Flat race has been upgraded from Listed to Grade 3 status and benefits from a €10,000 prize fund boost to carry a purse of €50,000. The 2m 5f Hanlon Concrete EBF Mares H’cap Chase is now valued at €75,000, having being upgraded to a Grade B contest. This represents a rise of €15,000.

Punchestown Racing Manager Richie Galway welcomed the announcement by stating: “These significant increases in prize money are a continuation of our policy to align the Festival prize fund with that of the major national hunt meetings in Great Britain in order to attract the best of British and Irish horses to Punchestown. The key Grade 1 races remain a priority and hence the €50,000 increase to the four feature events, but we are also very conscious that all owners should benefit from enhanced prize money and similar to our improvements in recent years, we remain very much focused on addressing the values of the overall programme”.

Richie Galway added: “Horse Racing Ireland share our aim with regards to improving the quality and value of the Festival, and this extends beyond the prize fund. Punchestown is undergoing a major redevelopment and the results of the first phase, which will see enhanced facilities throughout the grandstand enclosure and a fantastic new dining facility in the La Touche Restaurant, will be complete for all to enjoy come April 25th.”

Entries for 11 of the 12 Grade 1 races on offer at the festival  will close on Wednesday 5th April with three of the feature handicaps closing on Wednesday 12th April. A 48 hour declaration policy will be in place for all Grade 1 races.

For further information on the event, tickets and hospitality please visit www.punchestown.com  or call the team on  +353 (0)45 897704.

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