Everyone’s prone to ‘paint the town green’ on the Irish Day at Klampenborg Racecourse – even if you’re not usually a punter, or if you don’t have any traceable Irish DNA. But over the many years it’s been running, the day has become one of the most popular events of the season and a sign that the summer has arrived – and this year should be no exception.
The gates open at noon on Saturday, and the drinks will begin flowing shortly thereafter when the Irish Rover turns Højen, the resident racecourse bar, into an Irish pub for the day. The bar will be well stocked with hot and cold food, Irish coffee, cider, and a range of other beers on draft in anticipation of a crowd of 6,000. Throw back a Guinness or some spirits and slip into the spirit of the day by dropping a few kroner on one of the thoroughbreds before you. There will be nine races in total, including the Danish Breeders’ Cup Trial. Try your luck on a hunch, or study up a bit on a particular nag’s history in advance.
The first race begins at 14:15, but multiple performances will take the stage in the meantime, kicking off at 13:00 with a live band. Later in the afternoon, catch the Dark Green School of Irish Dancing, which often performs original works based on Irish myths and legends. Alongside them will be the professional Irish dance group Green Steps, followed by traditional marching music provided by the Gordon Pipes and Drums marching band.
As always, audience members have the chance to compete themselves – albeit not on the racetrack, but in the form of the Ladies’ Hat Competition. The top prize again this year is a return trip to Dublin on Irish airline Aer Lingus, courtesy of the Irish Rover.
For those not particularly interested in wagering, there are still plenty of activities to make for a great day out. Take the kids to entertain their inner equestrian with a free pony ride, for example. Face painting and balloon sculptures will also be available, as will a special children’s surprise later in the day. Elsewhere, visit the Danish-Irish Society near the racecourse’s entrance and find out more about their upcoming activities. Or, visit nearby Dyrehaven (the Royal Deer Park), known for its large population of free-roaming deer and other wildlife.
While the racecourse is located in Klampenborg north of Copenhagen, a free shuttle will run from the Irish Rover in the city centre (Vimmelskaftet 46, Cph K). Enjoy a full Irish breakfast at the pub before the coach departs, at approximately 12:30, and then catch it back again after the last race finishes. Otherwise, take the S-train to Klampenborg Station and then catch Bus 388 towards Lyngby Station.
Irish Day at the Races
Klampenborg Galopbane, Klampenborgbej 52-56, Klampenborg; Sat May 25, doors open at 12:00, races begin at 14:15, tickets: 50kr; 3996 0215; www.galopbane.dk, www.facebook.com/KlampenborgGalopbane