On 8 May 2016 I got introduced to one of Ireland’s national sports: horse racing. We went to the Leapardstown Racecourse, Leapardstown, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown…in short, just south of Dublin. This was the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial flat race, meaning that there were no obstacles to jump over. Combined with several attractions for kids, like bouncing castles, animals and lots of ice cream, horse racing suddenly turned into a family event! 🙂
Contrary to Switzerland, where most people have horses as a hobby, whoever has anything to do with horses in Ireland does it for professional reasons. Breeding, selling, racing – it’s a big business and Ireland is in it to win it!
How it works
It’s quite straightforward, at least I will keep it simple in my description because I don’t know every last details of it, either. 😉 When the horses and jockeys are ready, the horses are brought into the parade ring, where they are led around for a couple of minutes. This is an excellent opportunity for the jockeys to have a last chat with the trainers and for the public to get a close look at the horses before they actually set their bets. You can get a booklet with a description and brief history of every horse racing that day. This, combined with taking a close look at the horse helps you set the right bet…if you know what to look for. Listen to the explanations in the video below for more details regarding the parade ring.
All you have to do now is to place your bet(s). Obviously you don’t have to bet and can simply take a drink and enjoy the races, but it’s part of the sho, a bit like gambling in Las Vegas. Just set a budget for your play money and have fun. If you win, perfect. If you lose, you just had fun and that’s it!