Horse Racing Ireland Expects Inaugural Dublin Racing Festival To Draw 24,000
Horse Racing Ireland anticipates crowds of up to 24,000 people for the upcoming inaugural "Dublin Racing Festival" at Leopardstown, according to Brian O'Connor of the IRISH TIMES. The Dublin track currently has capacity for up to 18,000 at a time. When the €1.5M ($1.8M) initiative was unveiled last September, champion jockey Ruby Walsh predicted the new fixtures from Feb. 3-4 would "have to fill the place." However, HRI Racecourses CEO John Osborne "played down such expectation during the latest promotional event" for the new festival. He said, "I think we’re looking at 24,000 over the two days." Increasing racing’s profile "in Dublin city in particular is one of the major aims of the new festival initiative" (IRISH TIMES, 1/16).