Thurles Racecourse History
NOTE:The badges displayed on this page are not authentic and are for artistic display only.

One of the earliest records of a race meeting in Thurles, County Tipperary, was from Pue's Occurrances on Monday 19 June 1732 when a 15 Pound Plate, run in three heats each of 4 miles, was advertised with an entrance fee of "one pistole to be paid to Mr John NEALE." A pistole was a Spanish gold coin equal to two escudos. Even at this early stage in racing’s history there was an association with the famous racing name of Pigott. Captain John PIGOTT (1704-1763) married a young Lady of great merit and 10,000 pound fortune in 1730 and seemed to have left London in a bit of a hurry, ending up in Ballynonty, just a few miles from Thurles, at about the time of the June 1732 race. Whilst he is unlikely to have had a horse running in that race, it is likely that his oldest brother Thomas Pigott did have a runner. It is known that Thomas was a racing enthusiast and was almost certainly the Mr Thomas Pigott whose grey mare Infanta was entered in the King's Plate at the Curragh in September 1739 when beaten in the first heat. By 1760 meetings were extended to five days, spread over a six day period in October 1760. That meeting began on Monday 13th October with a 4 year old Purse which went to Mr Forster’s Promise. As was traditional in those early days, a day off was taken on Thursday for hunting, before the meeting concluded on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th when Sir Edward O’Brien’s Lottery won the 100 Guineas race. The racecourse is located on the outskirts of the town on land owned by the Molony family. Racing continued to be well received and, on occasions, cards included flat races. There was a difficult period in the 1840s and 1850s during the Great Famine, but the course came through that, although at times there was insufficient spent on course maintenance towards the end of the 19th century. So much so that when the Irish Turf Club appointed course inspectors in 1907 Thurles was one course which was criticised. However, they completed the required work to meet an exacting standard and are as strong today as ever. Currently the course hosts 10 fixtures annually.

Although Thurles remains a thriving racecourse, nearby Templemore closed its gates for the final time in 1906.
The county Tipperary town of Templemore is in the north of the county and held its own race meeting on Tuesday 24th April 1832 in the grounds of the Eastwood mansion owned by John Lenegan MP. The meeting celebrated the work of the local 74th regiment. Garrison meetings continued for at least four more years, with a special one taking place on Friday 3rd April 1835. The Garrison Cup was contested over a mile with four 4 foot walls, but required 4 heats before Lieut. Fosbrook claimed the prize with Kate. By 1856 the local MP John Lenegan, and the local JP James Mason had organised a meeting to reward over 1300 local members. However, the day ended with a riot between the military and civilians. Meetings continued on an irregular basis until the early part of the 20th century. The final meeting took place on Friday 21st September 1906.
I am grateful to Google Maps (© Googlemap) for permission to use the map shown below.

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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