Gowran Park racecourse first opened its gates to the racing public on the 16th of June 1914. The race programme consisted of flat races and steeplechases under the Irish National Hunt rules of racing; the prize money at the time was £130. The stewards at that particular meeting included Lord Annaly, Capt. Dermot McCalmont (Whos Grandson Harry carries on the McCalmont tradition as a Director on Gowran Parks present day Board) and Isaac Bell the renowned Huntsman of the Kilkenny Hunt.
The present race company was formed in 1948 and its first Managing Director was Jack Duggan of the famous Monster House mens clothing store in Kilkenny. Jack Duggan was Chairman over many firsts at Gowran Park including the first on course commentary in 1952 and the first Tote Jackpot in 1966. The first televised race was also from Gowran Park.
The new Grandstand and its facilities were officially opened on the 9th of April 2003. The new complex, completed at a cost of 3.5 million euro is the culmination of an extensive development programme supported by Horse Racing Ireland, which commenced with the upgrading of the stable yard and parade ring areas.
In 2006 Gowran Park staged its first ever Group 3 flat race. The elevation of the Denny Cordell Lavarack and Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes to Group 3 status highlights Gowran Park’s commitment to delivering high quality flat racing.
Other notable National Hunt dates include; the long established The Goffs Thyestes Chase valued at 100,000 euro in January, Red Mills Day in February and the October Festival.
In 2006 Gowran Park was also re-classified as Grade 1 course for National Hunt Meetings for prize money purposes. This reflects the fact that Gowran Park stages top class National Hunt racing, predominantly during the winter months.
Future developments include the upgrading of the Weigh Room area and development of the bookmakers ring.