THIS week’s Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) column brings you news of the action-packed programme for the forthcoming Harvest Racing Festival at Listowel, which runs from Sunday, 17 September to Saturday, 23 September. This year celebrates 165 years of quality racing at the Kerry track.

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are all National Hunt meetings, with Tuesday and Thursday featuring all flat cards. In addition, there is something for people of all ages, including six fashion competitions, great live music acts including Superfly and DJ Marty Guilfoyle, and some very special celebrity guests!

The opening day’s feature race is the €40,000 Kerry Group Steeplechase. Sunday also features the return of a best dressed event, the Lyrath Estate Best Dressed Couples Competition, and this will be judged by Kristin McKenzie Vass, and has a prize of €2,000.

Family day

Sunday is also family day, sponsored by Garvey’s SuperValu, and this year’s entertainment promises to be better than ever. Highlights include the free Wooly Farm with chicks, guinea pigs, hens, ducks, rabbits, and more, as well as the return of Giggles Entertainment, featuring a mini disco, face painting and free balloons. Coco Melon and Mickey Mouse will meet all the children as they arrive.

The feature race on Monday is the €50,000 Liam Healy Memorial Lartigue Hurdle, and will also see the return of a competition celebrating one of fashion’s most iconic wardrobe essentials.

Open to everyone, ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ is a great excuse to wear your favourite jeans, and style them up or down as you wish. It will be judged by model and actor Timmy Dowd, and has cash prizes in both male and female categories.

Tuesday’s main race is the €37,500 Edmond and Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes. Top Irish DJ Marty Guilfoyle will be spinning the vinyl, and there are cash prizes for the best dressed young racer – you must be under 25.

The week’s racing highlight, the Grade 3 Guinness Kerry National, is on Wednesday and will attract a huge crowd. Listowel Racecourse is partnering with Ascot, and their chairman, His Majesty’s Representative Sir Francis Brooke, and other directors, will be guests. This is to say thanks for the hospitality shown to the Listowel directors over the past number of years.

On Thursday, the racing feature is the €45,000 Listowel Printing Works Handicap, while back by popular demand is the Best Dressed Man competition, sponsored by Ryles Menswear in Tralee.

Ladies take over on Friday! This is the ninth year of McElligotts’ sponsorship of this event, and they are delighted to again welcome Kia as event co-sponsors. Judged by the international fashion designer Don O’Neill, with model and businesswoman Elvira Fernandez Zebo, the winner’s prize of a trip for two to New York will be enhanced by prizes of €1,000 for the Most Creative Headpiece, and €500 for the Most Contemporary Outfit.

The €50,000 Charlie Chute Memorial Handicap Steeplechase is the feature on the last day of the meeting, Saturday 23rd. Listowel was the first racecourse to host a sustainable-focused fashion competition, and it continues to grow in popularity as racegoers dress to express their individual fashion personalities by wearing vintage and pre-loved outfits. Model and vintage lover, Pat Walker, will judge this year, and there are prizes for both male and female entrants.

There will be live music each day, and a wide selection of catering facilities on course which including excellent corporate entertainment packages. Please visit for information.

The Association of Irish Racecourses wishes new chairman David Fitzmaurice, Brenda and all the team at Listowel the very best of luck with their Harvest Racing Festival.