November date for racing at Laytown

The annual strand races at Laytown, which were due to be held on Thursday 2nd September, will now take place on Monday 1st November.

“Laytown races is in a unique position as we race under temporary facilities and our racetrack, on the beach, is open to the public," commented Laytown Races Committee chairman Joe Collins.

"After consultation with all key stakeholders, there were still some concerns about how we could implement the government guidelines next month, especially on the beach.

“I would like to thank Horse Racing Ireland and the IHRB for their help rescheduling our race meeting and we look forward to racing on Laytown strand on Monday 1st November,” he added.

Racing on the strand at Laytown dates back to 1868, when races were run on the beach in conjunction with the Boyne Regatta.

A rowing competition took place on the high tide and the horseracing began when the tide receded.

Racing took place intermittently during the late 1800s. Local folklore suggests that the parish priest, supported by the Bishop of Meath, was opposed to the races.

Then, in 1901, a new parish priest arrived, who was supportive of the races and from then on the meeting began to thrive once again.

The final two years of the First World War saw racing suspended at Laytown, resuming in 1919. There was a further break in racing during the Second World War between 1942 and 1945.

Racing continued over the years and in the 1950s and 1960s, Laytown was considered an important meeting for horses preparing for the Galway Festival.

Up until 1995, racing was run at distances between five furlongs and two miles with a U-shaped turn at Bettystown where the horses made a sweeping return before heading back to the Laytown finish.

Racing now is on a straight stretch of strand with a maximum of 10 horses in each race.