Punchestown Kidney Research Fund
Charity Race

Dual Champion Hurdler Hardy Eustace took part in the 2010 race.
Picture used with kind permission of Healy Photography.

The Charity Race

  • Founded in 1990 by James Nolan.
  • 1 Mile and 7 furlongs flat race run over the Punchestown Championship Racetrack.
  • Run at the Irish National Hunt Racing Festival in front of 30,000 people.
  • In the past riders from the world of racing have included Frank Berry, Tommy Carberry, John Joe O’ Neill, Oliver Sherwood, Arthur Moore and Robert Hall.
  • The equestrian world has also been well represented with Jessica and Kate Harrington, Jessica Chesney, Edward Doyle, Alfie Buller, Susan Shortt, Vina Buller, Mark Barry, Captain David Foster, and Mairead Curran.
  • Jon Kenny from D’unbelievables took part in 1998 and 1999.
  • It is traditionally the last race on the final day of the festival.
  • Riders undertake to raise a minimum of €1,500 in sponsorship as their condition to enter.
  • The race is fully recognised by the Punchestown Management Committee and has full race status.
  • All jockeys must pass a One Day Competency Assessment to ride as jockeys.
  • Past participants in the race include “Bobbyjo” who has won the Irish National in l998 and the Aintree Grand National in 1999 and former Champion Chaser Moscow Flyer and former Champion Hurdler Hardy Eustace.

Garret McBride, Mick Dwyer, Sonia Treacy, Tracey Piggott, Anne Marie Molloy, James Nolan, Darren Cawley with the ORGAN DONOR CARD


How the Race came About

The Gift of Life


  • James Nolan was born in 1967 with progressive renal failure from birth.
  • For the first 19 years of his life he spent much of his time in hospitals and had extensive medical treatments.
  • In November 1986 at the age of 19 James was put on Dialysis in the Meath Hospital, Dublin.
  • In April 1987, the Nolan family began to consider the possibility of a transplant and various tissue tests were carried out to determine suitability of a donor within the family.
  • His sister Catherine was found to be 100% compatible as a kidney donor and volunteered to donate one of her kidneys.
  • Both Catherine and James then needed to prepare for the operation. For James everything was controlled through his dialysis unit in the Meath Hospital. For Catherine, this included an intensive period of final testing.
  • Once fully recovered, he decided to “put something back” and approached The Punchestown Race Course and The Turf Club about the idea of a charity race.
  • To date just over €1.7 million has been raised for various kidney related projects.


Michael O’Leary of Ryanair with Darren Cawley, Mick Dwyer, James Nolan, Sonia Treacy, Michael & Garret McBride


We are a Registered Company (Tax Reference 64270888) and a Registered Charity (CHY 16613) since 2005.
Copyright © Punchestown Kidney Research Fund 2012

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