Season Review 2016
The centenary year at Tipperary Racecourse was a great success and featured a number of events that both reflected on our rich and proud history and looked forward to the years ahead. There were a number of standout performances on the track, none more than the success of Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Jet Setting on Super Sunday in early October.
We hosted the Tipperary Cancer Colour Fun Run in August to support both the Irish Cancer Society and the Circle Of Friends – Tipperary Cancer Support Centre and it was certainly the one of highlights of the year. The fun run was followed by a concert from popular acoustic folk-rock band Hermitage Green and the event is one we will be looking to repeat.
There was plenty of style and fashion on display on our Ladies Day in July and our guest judge was Camogie All-Star and multiple All-Ireland winner Anna Geary who chose Listowel native Niamh Kenny as the best dressed on the day. The following month, the Gala Ball celebrated 100 years of racing at Tipperary and the racecourse was proud to display, throughout the year, the centenary gallery which paid a deserved tribute to the equine legends who have raced with us over the years.
The strong programme of races on offer throughout the season at Tipperary continues to attract top-class performers and it was a great thrill to have the Adrian Keatley-trained Jet Setting contest the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home of Champions Concorde Stakes in early October. She put up one of her best performances to win in great style and continues the trend of high-class horses winning our best races.
And to prove the point, Tanaza, trained by Dermot Weld, landed the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes in August in the hands of champion jockey Pat Smullen while the Listed Excelebration Tipperary Stakes went to the Michael Halford-trained Yulong Baobei who was ridden by Shane Foley. Foley was also on board Jet Setting and in all he rode six winners at Tipperary in 2016, the same number as Seamus Heffernan who rounded off the year with a stunning success on Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Longines Breeders´ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November.
Another notable Flat race on the calendar at Tipperary is the Listed Coolmore Stud Canford Cliffs Stakes which went to Aidan O'Brien’s Capri, a leading fancy for the Epsom Derby next June, ridden Seamus Heffernan. The Robert -Cowell trained Spirit Quartz landed the Listed Kilfrush Stud Abergwaun Stakes and we were delighted to welcome yet another British-trained winner at Tipperary.
A feature of every season at Tipperary is that, alongside an enviable Flat programme, the course plays host to a number of outstanding National Hunt races. Ivan Grozny was the big winner in 2016 when landing both the Grade 3 Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle in July and the Grade 2 Istabraq Hurdle in October for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. The pair have plenty to look forward too with Penhill who won the Grade 3 Joe Mac Novice Hurdle in impressive style and with Westerner Lady who continued on her upward curve with a runaway success in the Grade 3 Like-A-Butterfly Novice Chase. Not surprisingly, Ruby Walsh was the leading jump jockey at Tipperary with five winners in all.
Aidan O’Brien was once again the leading trainer at Tipperary although with seven winners, he was one shy of his 2015 tally. Willie McCreery sent out five winners over the season while both Henry de Bromhead and Willie Mullins were responsible for four winners. Jessica Harrington, Gordon Elliott and first season trainer Joseph O'Brien each visited the new look Tipperary winners’ enclosure on three occasions.