The first recorded race meeting in Thurles was in 1732. In a document in Trinity College called “Pues Occurances” it refers to a three day meeting which took place in June of that year.
Thurles is the only family owned racecourse in Ireland and has been in the Molony family since the early 1900’s. Pierce Molony took over the running of the races from a local committee. This committee had been running the races for a long number of years with the co-operation and support of the Molony family. Pierces son Dr Paddy took over the running of the racecourse in the mid 60s and his son Pierce became manager in 1974. Following Pierce’s untimely death in January 2015, his wife Riona together with their daughters Patricia, Helen, Annemarie and Kate are now at the helm.
In those early years in Thurles Racecourse there were just four meetings per year in February, April, June and November. The local community was as important in those years as they are in the present day. The racecourse had only 20 or so stables, and travelling the day before racing was common place. Extra stables were provided by neighbours, Matty Maher, Tommy Hickey, Capt.Goodman, Pat Carey and in the town by Timmy Shelley, Dr.Tom Barry and Hugh Ryan, the latter being the local undertaker. To this day we still enjoy the help and support of our neighbours.
Thurles racecourse was never purpose built. It has developed and evolved over the years. Developments have been ongoing through the years to improve facilities for our patrons and to make race days as enjoyable as possible.
Producing raceable ground in the worst of Irish winter has been Thurles’ lasting achievement. Jokingly and affectionately referred to as ‘Ireland’s first all-weather racecourse’. Trainers and jockeys are mostly full of praise for the ground conditions and it is known to be a crucial preparation for those horses heading to Cheltenham. Kinloch Brae winners of 2016 Don Cossack and 2017 Sizing John have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.