Jump races or National Hunt races are races that include obstacles for the horse to negotiate. There are two types of obstacles, hurdles and fences. Jump racing in Ireland takes place all year round. Four of Ireland’s 26 racecourses, Punchestown, Downpatrick, Kilbeggan and Wexford solely cater for jump racing.  

    National Hunt races are held over a variety of distances from two to four miles and one furlong. The longest race in Ireland is the La Touche Cup which is held over the unique banks course at the Punchestown festival in late April.  

    Flat races are races that range from five furlongs to two miles and are run without any obstacles. Flat racing in Ireland primarily takes place on grass but a large number of Flat races are run on the all-weather surface at Dundalk. Dundalk is Ireland’s only all-weather racecourse and racing takes place there all year round, while the turf season only runs between mid-March and late October.  

    The Curragh is the headquarters of Flat racing in Ireland and plays host to many of the biggest races in the season. It is one of three tracks that only host Flat racing, the others are Dundalk and the once-a-year meeting on the beach at Laytown.