And just like that, the curtain came down on another Listowel Harvest Racing Festival, with memories in the bank of an unorthodox event on the Island.
But even in the throes of an unfamiliar race meeting, Listowel Racecourse, along with Fairyhouse, still managed to make its own piece of history last week in allowing a limited number of owners return to see their horses in action.
This brought a welcome sense of normality back to the races offering a slight – though welcome – reminder of how it used to be and how it will be again someday soon.
Kudos also goes to those behind the scenes, who kept calm and carried on regardless.
It was good to see the fashion stakes continuing to make their presence felt, while it was also nice to see many of the loyal sponsors of Listowel Races continuing to show their support, in spite of the reduced publicity this year.
One reason for Listowel Races’ continuing success is Brenda Daly. Brenda is Secretary of Listowel Race Company and she is a vital cog in the wheel.
“It was probably trickier to run this year, as with an ordinary race meeting you kind of do what you’ve done the previous year. This is completely knew to us, so it was trickier in that regard,” Brenda said.
Enclosure Manager John Sheehan’s team also kept things in shape all week, moving the rails in search of fresh ground.
“They were tops in sorting things out, especially the barricading, so people would go in the right entrance for health screening,” Brenda said.
“It was worth it really because at the end of the day the racing went ahead.
“We got our seven days’ racing, which is important just to keep the industry going. Our hopes are high for 2021 that spectators will be back,” Brenda said.
Cathaoirleach of Listowel MD Cllr Michael Foley also praised everyone involved.
“Great credit is due to everyone involved in organising the races, especially the publicans It was a trial for them, they did very well, as did the people who visited Listowel,” he said.