Kilbeggan racecourse plans more facilities for horses

The racing season in the Midlands kicks off this evening at Kilbeggan buoyed by the news that the lack of facilities for the horses should be a thing of the past by this time next year.

A plan to build an additional 54 horse boxes at the racetrack has been submitted by the committee in charge of racing in order to comply with the Department of Agriculture legislation which looks after equine welfare.

Traditionally the biggest gripe amongst owners and trainers about the compact course on the Mullingar road had been the lack of proper-sized boxes in which to prepare their horses.

This resulted in many the equine athlete being set up for racing in the trailer in which it travelled to the racecourse, a less than satisfactory situation that many within the racing fraternity believed mitigated against the course in its attempts to attract a better card.

A decision on the plan is expected to be made by the county council before June 16.

The picturesque racecourse - the only uniquely National Hunt course in Ireland - will host the first of its eight meetings of the season this evening, with the first race off at 5.30pm.

The course has previously made improvements to update its facilities after jockeys and trainers criticised the condition of the road the chase ambulance had to use in the wake of the death of Kieran Kelly nine years ago, the first jockey fatality on an Irish track in more than 20 years, although it must be noted the course was, in no way, deemed responsible for this accident.

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