First graded race for Kilbeggan

The AXA Farm Insurance Midlands National will become Kilbeggan Racecourse’s first Pattern race after being awarded Grade B status.

Kilbeggan managing director Paddy Dunican said: “We are delighted that our AXA Farm Insurance Midlands National of €75,000 has been upgraded to Grade B status. The massive investment over the years in developing our racetrack has improved the quality of horse racing which has now resulted in Horse Racing Ireland granting us a graded race for the first time in our history.”

A further enhancement to the Irish National Hunt race programme for mares sees the Glencarraig Lady Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival being converted from a Grade B handicap to a Grade 2 weight-for-age chase.

The Grade 3 Kerry Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase at Cork Racecourse in early December becomes a Grade 2 race. Registered as the Lombardstown Mares Novice Chase, it was won by subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Mount Ida last year and previous winners of the race include Vroum Vroum Mag, Shattered Love and Elimay.