Limerick will have the honour of staging the first Grade One race to be run in Munster following with the announcement that the Greenmount Park Novice Chase has been upgraded in time for this year’s Limerick Christmas Festival.
The two-and-a-half-mile contest, which is the centrepiece of the four-day December meeting, is run on December 26 and has carried Grade Two status since 20002.
Recent winners include Sir Des Champs, Gilgamboa, Outlander and Bellshill and as well as being upgraded to Grade One status, this year’s renewal will carry a significantly increased total prize fund of 90,000 euro and will be televised live on RTE.
Patrick O’Callaghan, manager of Limerick racecourse, said: “We are delighted that the Greenmount Park Novice Chase has been upgraded to Grade One status.
“Over 20 years ago the board of directors had the foresight to develop a new Grade One facility at Greenmount Park and now we will have Grade One racing to match.
“The Greenmount Park Novice Chase has always been a distinctive race with notable winners in recent years. St Stephen’s Day is a highlight on our racing calendar and we are expecting some top-quality runners due to the improved status and increased prize-money on offer.
“The aim has always been to have Grade One racing here and it is testament to the board and all the team that this has been achieved.”
In a further boost to the annual programme at Limerick, a new Listed hurdle for mares – the Maurice Power Solicitors Mares Hurdle – will be added to the Munster National card on Sunday, October 14.