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December 13, 2007

Punchestown Festival Extended to 5 Days

Punchestown Festival 2008 is extended to five days running from Tuesday 22nd April to Saturday 26th April 2008.

A revised racing calendar for the week will see the addition of a € 220,000 handicap hurdle as the centrepiece on the new Festival Saturday. In addition the traditional charity race will be transferred from Friday to the Saturday and a number of new races have been added to the five day calendar.

Festival Saturday will also act as the concluding day of the Irish National Hunt season, providing the opportunity for the sport to celebrate the successes of the previous year.

At least two grade one races will be run on each day of the festival with a minimum of seven races each day and total prize money will increase to approximately € 2.8 million for the week.

The announcement means that over 100,000 race goers are expected to enjoy the thrills of championship racing during what has become one of Ireland’s most exciting sporting and social events.

The extension of the festival is expected to provide an € 18 million boost to the local economy which already benefits from a € 55 million spin off associated with the Punchestown Festival.

The Punchestown Festival has enjoyed tremendous success over the last few years; attendances have grown by 24% since 2004 with crowds thrilling to the performances of superstars like Moscow Flyer, Spotthedifference, Kicking King, War of Attrition and Brave Inca.

Last year’s festival saw an attendance of over 90,000 at the Kildare venue with The Festival Friday setting a record attendance of almost 33,000.

The Punchestown Festival has also enjoyed considerable commercial success with high profile sponsorships from companies like Kerrygold, Guinness, Menolly Group and ACCBank. It has grown to become Ireland’s biggest corporate hospitality event, attracting 25,000 corporate guests over the four days. Punchestown is currently in negotiations with a number of new sponsors for the 2008 festival.

Announcing the news, Dick O’Sullivan General Manager of Punchestown said, “Before making this decision we have carried out considerable research and consultation, we feel festival racing on Saturday will attract a significant new audience, we are particularly targeting those young working race goers who cannot take a day off during the week. It is an exciting time for Punchestown and we are convinced the five day festival will be an enormous success.”