When we think of racing on the sand in the U.K we naturally assume Lingfield, Wolverhampton etc. In an ever increasing circle in Europe however, racing on a beach is growing once more in popularity. Sanlucar in Andalucia, Plouescat in France, Cuxhaven in Germany and most famous of all, the races at Laytown Strand about thirty miles north of Dublin. We will have horse racing tips for the meeting on Tuesday, let’s dig a little deeper into this once a year card.
Racing at Laytown stretches back as far as 1868 when it was run in conjunction with a rowing regatta. It has seen many changes over the years, the biggest of which has been to the course itself following a safety nightmare in the mid 1990’s. The former U-Shaped course has now become a straight with committee members walking the beach daily for weeks before the meeting to determine the safest part of the beach for the horses to run on. It is a once a year special occasion on the Meath coast, one which will see myracing.com in attendance for the first time in 2017.
A three acre site known as the ‘race field’ sees marquees erected for hospitality and the weighing room, on site toilet and food facilities arrive and what is a bare piece of land for the majority of the year is transformed into a bustling racecourse with an average attendance of between five and ten thousand racegoers. The quality of racing on show is not much more than an ordinary midweek meeting but with entrance of just €10 and a once a year experience to go with it, it’s no surprise the crowds are comparable with Saturday sizes. Favourites are 10/24 over the last four years for a £8.21 level stake profit, so the punters have been on top in recent times.
There are no big races per se but it is quite the opposite to the majority of the meetings. The maiden and one of the amateur riders races are worth €7,700 to the winner while the final race of the night (also for amateurs) provides the winner with €9,240. It may not be the prep meeting for the Galway Festival that it was in bygone years before trainers had All-Weather gallops, but it is still full of recognisable names both equine and human with Dermot Weld, Joseph O’Brien and Gordon Elliott all with entries on the card.
Draw Bias and Course Informantion
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions given that races were always tape started. It’s just the last two years that stalls have been dragged onto the sands. Only twelve races to go on therefore but ten of the twelve have been won by horses drawn 1-6, stalls 7-10 have won just two, both of them in the outside stall of ten. It’s far too soon to go overboard about the figures but we will be watching with interest in coming years to see if low continue to dominate. The track itself is almost straight, with races run over just six and seven furlongs, so it is no surprise that sprinting sires such as Acclamation, Choisir, Invincible Spirit and Bertolini have all done well with limited runners.
Horses To Watch
Our Max (Entered in 6.35pm) – George Pakidis may not be a household name to many but he has had two winners from two runners at Laytown as Our Max won on the strand in 2014 and 2015. He is a winner of just 3/31 in his career so is far from prolific, saving his best for when he runs on the beach at Laytown.
My Good Brother (5.05pm) – Tom McCourt has had two winners, a second and two thirds from just seven runners at this meeting in the last five years, this horse is his only entry in 2017. A two and a half length winner in the opening contest last year, he has not been in much form so far in 2017, but a return to the beach may spark him back to life.
USA (7.05pm) – Making a remarkable sixth consecutive trip to this meeting, a win and a pair of runner-up efforts to his credit from the past five trips. He arrives in good heart having incredibly run three times during the Galway Festival finishing second, fourth and fifth. He relishes his time at this track so it would be no shock to anyone if he makes the frame here once more.
Seanie (7.05pm) – Really smart type in his younger years, he was rated north of 100. Recent efforts suggest that he is running back into form, placed in a couple of claimers. David Marnane has had three winners and three places in the last seven years at this meeting, this horse might just be coaxed back to life by something completely different in front of him.
Ishebayorgrey (7.05pm) – Able to run from his turf mark of 79 rather than his All-Weather mark of 86, this could be a canny piece of placing by trainer Patrick Martin. Martin has had two winners, two seconds and a third from his last eight runners at the meeting so he clearly targets his horses at this one day. Although a winner on turf, this horses best form has come on sand so although he is yet to run at Laytown, that makes him an intriguing proposition.