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Rupert Wyman 15th Oct 2010 - 14:17

Ulster racing fans set to flock to Downpatrick for free day of racing

Downpatrick Racecourse are anticipating a record crowd for tomorrow's William Hill sponsored 'FREE DAY' of racing at the Northern Irish track. The fixture, which celebrates 325 years of racing in Northern Ireland, gets underway at 2.10 - with the seven race card concluding at 5.25.

Acknowledging the success of the Down Football Team who were narrowly beaten by Cork in the All Ireland Football final two weeks ago in Croke Park, fans will be pleased to know that Molson Coors will be offering a 'Free Pint' of Carling for the first 325 visitors wearing Down colours in their special  'Come on Down to Down'  marquee facility.

There will also be Parade ring interviews with Celebrity Channel 4 Racing Presenter, Lesley Graham and live music after racing in a number of the raceday public bars.

'The 325 year Celebration is a day for all Northern Irish racing fans - and we delighted to be in the position to offer every racegoer 'FREE ADMISSION' to this historic meeting,' said Tony Kenny from the raceday sponsors William Hill 'The Northern Irish public have a real passion for horse racing, and we hope all those racing enthusiasts come along to Downpatrick and enjoy a great day of racing on us.'

A brief look at the history of racing in Northern Ireland

Racing in Northern Ireland has a long tradition. In 1685, twenty year's after King Charles II established the initial rules of racing, the first ever race meeting in Northern Ireland was held at Downpatrick which makes it the oldest venue town for official rules racing in the whole of Ireland.

The original track was abandoned after a few year's of racing and moved to the existing venue. This means the current venue has held race meeting for well over 300 years.

Through is long and extinguished history, Downpatrick has hosted many outstanding racehorses including Byerley Turk - one of the original thoroughbred racehorses.

The biggest previous attendance came in 1962 when the Queen Mother watched from the stands as her horse Laffy won the Ulster National.

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