Kilbeggan: is off due to a lack of water

Alain Barr

Kilbeggan racecourse manager Paddy Dunican has described himself as “devastated” after having to cancel Sunday’s meeting due to doubts about whether the track would have water or not.

There have been ongoing water shortages in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath, for a number of weeks, but the water pressure was strong in the local area on Saturday evening.

However, another burst pipe on Sunday morning, this time in the village of Dysart, just over ten kilometres from the course, led to serious doubts about whether there would be enough water available at the track, and the decision was taken to cancel the meeting on welfare grounds. It has been rescheduled to take place on Tuesday evening.

Dunican explained: “We were afraid to go ahead with the meeting for obvious reasons. The council tested our water last night and we had proper pressure after all of the leaks recently, but then suddenly there was another burst water mains in Dysart this morning.

Kilbeggan manager Paddy Dunican: “When you haven’t got water you’re putting the horse’s welfare and everybody’s welfare at risk.”

Alain Barr

“They repaired that, but then there was another burst pipe somewhere. We didn’t know if we were going to have water or not today.

“The burst pipe is a long way away from us, but by the time the reservoir fills, and by the time the water gets to us, it was highly unlikely we’d have had water by 2pm.”

He added: “Not only that, but they have to find where that new burst pipe is. It’s all very frustrating and I’m devastated.

“When you haven’t got water you’re putting horses’ welfare and everybody’s welfare at risk. We could have waited longer but we appreciate there are people driving long distances and we wanted to make the decision as soon as we could.”

Westmeath’s only track, Kilbeggan usually attracts big crowds when the weather is as fine as it is, and given Sunday’s meeting had been billed as family fun day its cancellation was an especially bitter pill to swallow.

Dunican said: “A lot of work had gone into the marketing of this afternoon’s meeting and we’d a lot of people booked in for hospitality. It was due to be one of our most popular meetings of the year. It’s devastating.” 

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