Leopardstown on track to be an even bigger success with €19m three-year overhaul plan
Leopardstown Racecourse is galloping ahead with its plans for a major €19m revamp.
Work will begin this year on phase one of the ambitious three-year overhaul.
This aerial view of Leopardstown shows what the racecourse will look like in 2017 when the works are completed.
While the racecourse, can comfortably cope with 15,000 people, over the busy Christmas period the numbers can swell to 20,000.
Chief executive of the Leopardstown Racecourse Pat Keogh said ambitious plans are in place.
"What we are going to try and do is to have top class facilities catering for 20,000 people."
Around €5m will be spent on the project this year, with €2m of this being provided through a capital development grant from Horse Racing Ireland.
Meanwhile, another €14m is being earmarked over the next two years for the project.
"The plan for this year is to totally restore the grandstand in Leopardstown. It was built 45 years ago. It will be fully restored at the end of this year and everything will be upgraded," Mr Keogh said.
Much of the upcoming work will focus on the second floor.
"The restaurant will be redone, the members' lounge will be redone. The Fillies Bar, which is very popular, will be extended. That will be a major upgrade.
"We are also going to put in new staircases and new escalators," Mr Keogh explained. "Next year, we will move outside and start adding facilities."
Any disruption will be minor while the works this year are being carried out, added Mr Keogh, who has been the CEO for three years.
"It is going to be done over a six-month period. Racing will continue throughout," he said.
The contractor will commence the work on June 1.
Mr Keogh said that he is delighted with how the season is going at the moment.
"We are well ahead of last year's attendances at this stage already this year, and as we look into the Bulmer's Live at Leopardstown series, that looks like that will go very well.
"There is a lot going on. It's all hands on deck here at the moment," Mr Keogh told the Herald.
He was speaking after Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) approved four major racecourse capital development grants last week, including the one for Leopardstown.