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Tuesday, 29th August 2017

Dowth Point to Point races and Country Fair

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At the launch of the 2017 Dowth Point to Point Races and Country Fair which take place on October 29th were (from left) Bronagh Conlon of Listoke Gin representing the Boyne Valley Food Series, horse trainer Pat Downey from Knowth Stables with Dinos Mixa, Cheltenham winning jockey, Lisa O’Neill, and Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman the Devenish Group who are the event sponsors. Photo: Andy Spearman.

It’s always a pleasure to get away from the desk for a spin in the Boyne Valley but it was a particular delight yesterday morning to drive out to Dowth Hall for the launch of the 2017 Dowth Point to Point races and Country Fair which take place on October 29th.

Having negotiated the two mile long driveway and parked the van, very carefully, beside a 1928 Rolls Royce, it was time to meet the folks who were promoting the event.

The first person I met was Bronagh Conlon from Listoke Distillery and Gin School where I spent a fantastic afternoon recently learning how to make gin. Brona was representing the Boyne Valley Food Series whose members will be out in force at the Country Fair.

I had a great chat with jockey Lisa O’Neill. I told her all about my one and only time on a horse’s back which ended up with the horse standing on my foot. She just smiled and gave me a pitying look.

Lisa left it someone else to tell me that she is a very successful jockey with a string of wins to her name including two Lady’s Derbies, a win at Cheltenham and lots more.

I was to see Lisa’s winning smile again as she was announced as “the face” of the Dowth Point-to Point which, although it has only been run twice before, is Ireland’s largest Point-to-Point and Country Fair. The first outing in 2015 attracted a crowd of 1,000 and last year the attendance had shot up to 5,000 and this year they’re hoping the upward trend will continue.

With six Point-to-Point races, over three miles and fences, the card will also host the Anglo-Irish Jockey's Challenge and two exciting pony club races to sign off the day’s action on the track.

This year will see lots of new exhibits and displays joining the line-up to complement the thrilling racing action, including, a shopping village, country fair exhibits, gourmet food vendors, live music, a kid’s zone and an artisan food fair with cookery demonstrations from food ambassador and Michelin star chef, Richard Corrigan. A new addition for this year is the Dog Show.

“We are really looking forward to hosting our third Point-to-Point and Country Fair at Dowth this October and to welcoming the local and wider community for a great day of racing, food, and family fun and building upon the success of the last couple of years,” Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman of the Devenish Group, hosts of the event, said.

Country fair exhibitors will include the Maperath Mobile Farm, Newgrange Falconry display and a wide range of exhibitions and demonstrations, including The Royal Meath Bee Keepers, The Deer Society, Fly-Tiers as well as Gun Dog demos. Visitors can also enjoy the fantastic shopping and food village stands.

Families can enjoy free children’s entertainment and good old-school outdoorsy fun with bouncy castles, puppet shows, magic shows, arts and crafts, pumpkin carving, outdoor games, pony rides and more. Kids entertainment is free and admission to The Point-to-Point is free for all children under 12.

Tara Smith of the Boyne Valley Food Series commented: - “The Point to Point and Country Fair at Dowth is a firm fixture on the Boyne Valley Food Series calendar. What better way to showcase the great food and drink producers than alongside great racing action.”

Michelin star chef, Richard Corrigan remarked: - “I am delighted to be involved in this great event again, to be able to showcase the fantastic local produce and producers who have brought it to market."

On the eve of racing, Saturday, October 28th, Devenish will host will host 400 guests at a Charity Ball in a marquee at the centre of the Point to Point track. Richard Corrigan will design a delicious and seasonal menu, which will be followed by a night of live music and great entertainment. Proceeds will go to Farm Africa & The Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.

For further information and to purchase tickets €10 each, under 12’s free) see: www.DowthP2P.ie  

Andy Spearman.

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