A fine New Year’s Day saw a great turnout for the annual race meeting in Tramore, with numbers close to the average for the August Festival meeting and improving on the 2015 figures.
Last year’s New Year’s day meeting, of course, was postponed due to the stormy weather and subsequent waterlogged track.
The good attendance was a welcome boost for a facility which will undergo major renovations in the coming months. The fencing around the parade ring has already been improved, with local builder Noel Frisby remarking on the quality of the work undertaken, while also praising the overall plans.
The tote aggregate came to almost €60,000 and locals did very well with top trainer
Henry de Bromhead from nearby Knockeen securing the first winner of the day with A Dream Still Alive.
Champagne West was another horse to come in for Henry on the day, and it was a fruitful New Year’s Day for Henry, who also recorded a double at Fairyhouse that same afternoon.
We met a member of the syndicate which owns Line View, who won the meeting’s last race and he praised the track’s condition, stating it was better than Cork Racecourse at Mallow, which he feels is too flat.
Tramore, he said was more testing felt and traditional, praising the locals for their work and dedication to maintaining the course.
The car parks were full, with taxis coming out from Waterford to pick up race goers, with the bus service also being well used. The town itself did well from the meeting with locals using hostelries afterwards to prolong the New Year cheer – and we encountered a good sprinkling of race goers from Piltown, Mullinavat and Ballyhale.
We also met many local business people, including John Flood from Dungarvan Nissan and David Dickenson from the Waterford Motor Village, along with builder David Flynn and Mr Flynn from the Pet Paradise shop on O’Connell Street.
We also chatted with Dubliner and ex-Daily Star MD Paul Cooke (previously of the Sunday Business Post) who spoke of his satisfaction with new Waterford FC owner Lee Power, one of several people we spoke to in Tramore who spoke with optimism about the Blues’ future.
As usual, Tramore devotee Vince Power travelled over from the UK for the meeting and he told us about a plan to have an Irish music event in Central Park New York, with top Irish bands playing including Van Morrison this coming July.
He is also looking forward to the opening of the Waterford Greenway and the impact it will have on his native Kilmacthomas. He recalled taking the train there when he emigrated to London in his mid-teens back in the 1960s.
We also met Mary Daniels, formerly of Tramore Tourism who is now much work in New York in the financial service sector, who enjoyed the races with her kids.
Local politicians were also circulating, including Cha O’Neill (Ind) and Eamon Quinlan (FF), who gave a helping hand to his aunt Caroline at what was a welcomingly busy day.
There was fine food available at the Inside Track on what was a cold day for punters, with many seeking shelter from the strong winds at the exposed track on the top of Graun Hill.
Overall, the atmosphere was very friendly and the race course directors along with manager Sue Phelan can take great credit for pulling off another excellent meeting.