The east Meath village of Laytown was the focus for horseracing enthusiasts last Thursday when the annual trek to the seaside for the only official action on a beach under the Rules of Racing took place with six races and close to €50,000 in prizemoney on offer.
Each contest was restricted to a maximum of 10 runners, for safety reasons, on a straight track over six and seven furlongs, but a large and enthusiastic crowd attended. Relatively benign weather conditions meant that most people enjoyed the occasion.
The first recorded racing at Laytown was in 1868 when races were run on the beach in conjunction with the Boyne Regatta and the traditional one-day meeting has continued since.
Local success was confined to the last race of the day when the Ger Lyons-trained Romeo's On Fire won the amateur handicap to provide a one-two for the Kiltale-based handler.
Kevin Power partnered the winner and got the better of Tara man Andrew Duff who was on board stable companion Tarrsille, edged out by a neck in a driving finish.
"Andrew has done a lot of work on Tarrsille at home, schooling him to keep him sweet, and he had the choice of the pair here," said the trainer afterwards.
The enclosure at Laytown consists of a three-acre field above the beach with terraced steps cut into the sand dunes.
A big screen was in place to help patrons view the action that got underway promptly at 4.45pm with the last race scheduled for 7.20pm to avoid high tide.
Close to €65,000 was wagered on the Tote and there was one lucky winner of the popular jackpot bet that was worth €3,750.