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The town of Doneraile, in North Cork, is situated in the heartland of National hunt racing history. It was in Doneraile in 1752 that the first recorded steeplechase finished at the spire of the local Protestant Church having started over 4 miles away in Buttevant at the spire of their local Protestant Church. Since 1752, North Cork has continuously held centre stage in national hunt racing.
The great Dr. Vincent O’Brien started out training in nearby Churchtown. In recent times Silver Birch, bred by the Power family in Shanballymore won the Aintree Grand national in 2007, providing leading trainer Gordon Elliot with his first winner. Jim Culloty sent out Lord Windemere to win the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup from his Churchtown base.
Doneraile point-to-point was first held in 1974 on the lands of the late Con O’Keeffe, a staunch supporter of point to-point racing during his lifetime. It was appropriate that the first winner was one of his horses, Westlander, ridden by his son Brian. Another favourite during the early days was a horse called The Black Watch owned and ridden by Bill Elliot.
In more recent times, the Doneraile Point-to-Point has been held at the nearby Dromahane course. Dromahane is one of the premier point-to-point tracks in Ireland, always providing competitive action. One of the recent Cheltenham winners, Black Hercules, won his maiden point –to-point at the Doneraile meeting for the renowned Mullins family.