Downpatrick Horse Racing Is On Track Today

Downpatrick preview and tips: Ulster National the highlight of seven-race Friday card 

The rescheduled Ulster Grand National – postponed from April 7 – is the highlight of the seven race Friday card at Downpatrick on Friday afternoon. 

The feature race, the National itself, is off at 6.20 and a field of 18 runners are set to head to post to battle for the €30,000 prize for crossing the line ahead of the rest. 

Trainer Gavin Cromwell, who has landed the last two renewals of the big race and has another favourite to land it in 2024 with Ask Anything. The six-year-old was a fine second of ten in a handicap chase at Navan 34 days ago and is very much in the frame to go one better in the Nastonal. 

Irish Champion Jockey title hopeful Jack Kennedy will ride the Gordon Elliott-trained Frontal Assault, who hasn’t won in 12 starts since 2022 but was fourth of 20 in a belting effort at the Irish Grand National earlier this month and can certainly make his presence felt north of the border. 

Horse racing at Downpatrick will get of to a good start today as punters arrive to enjoy the races starting at 4.20pm and the Ulster National at 6.20pm. (Photo by Jim Masson / Down News ©.)

Speaking to BoyleSports, who offer the latest Punchestown odds, Kennedy said of his title tilt: “It would mean the world to win the title for the first time after the things I’ve been through.

“It is something everybody wants to do. It would be a dream come true from when I was a young boy.

“I’d say 130-135 winners will do it – I am not going to die wondering, that’s for certain. I am going for it.” (Punchestown odds).

Surrounding the big race of the meeting, Downpatrick has six other races for punters to get to grips with, kicking off at 4.20 with an 18-runner maiden hurdle which could go the way of Gone For Tea, trained by Peter Fahey, second over course and distance on hurdles debut back in September. 

Race two (4.50) is a 2m2f maiden hurdle and The Great Unknown is the pick of the nine runner field and should take the spoils, while race three (5.20) can go to Benjis Benefit for trainer Emmett Mullins, who was backed as though he should have won last time out but could only manage fourth. 

Race four (5.50) is the 2m7f handicap hurdle and the selection in the race prior to the Ulster National is for Surf Club, who impressed on chasing debut last time out at Tramore just four days ago and turned out quickly here back over the smaller obstacles. 

After the National, race six (6.50) can go the way of Jimli’s Island in the 2m3f handicap chase and the card comes to a close with the beginners chase (7.20), where jockey Kennedy should add to his title chances with Duffle Coat, second of 11 in a novice chase at Down Royal when last seen. 

Downpatrick selections for Friday 28th March at Downpatrick Races – Courtesy of:

Top Picks: 4.20 – Gone For Tea

4.50 – The Great Unknown

5.20 – Benjis Benefit

5.50 – Surf Club

6.20 – Ask Anything

6.50 – Jimli’s Island

7.20 – Duffle Coat.