AHEAD of the seven-day Listowel Harvest Festival, which gets underway tomorrow (Sunday), school children from Scoil Réalta na Maidine and Gaelscoil Lios Tuathail in the town took part in a special Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Racing Juniors education day at the Co Kerry track.

Nearly 100 school children got to go behind the scenes at Listowel Racecourse to meet Co Limerick-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and his racehorse, Punters Poet.

Eoin, who is based in Templethea, explained what his job entails as a racehorse trainer as well as a typical day-to-day routine for his racehorses, their exercise schedule and diet, and how he prepares his racehorses to run in a race.

Jockey Gary Noonan brought the children into the weighroom to show them the jockeys’ changing room and the kit jockeys wear on race days including boots, back protector, helmet, and racing silks.

Head groundsman Dan O’Connell took the children on a course walk to see first-hand how the Listowel team are preparing the track for the Harvest Festival.

Listowel Racecourse director Donal Lynch brought the students through the stable yard to show them all the facilities for horses and explain what happens on a busy race day.

David Fitzmaurice, Listowel chairman, said: “It’s great to have the HRI Racing Juniors education day back in Listowel. We hope it was an enjoyable morning for all of the children, giving them an insight into what is involved in getting ready for this year’s Listowel Harvest Festival. We look forward to seeing the children, their parents and all our patrons at the Festival over the seven days.”

The objective of the HRI Racing Juniors education days is to encourage an affinity with racehorses among the younger generation.

HRI Racing Juniors education days are free to attend. To register your school for a HRI Racing Juniors education day at your local racecourse, email hriracingjuniors@hri.ie