The Curragh gets ready for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival 5 years ago

The Curragh gets ready for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh is the jewel in the Irish flat racing crown and this year’s line-up sparkles.

Cracksman, representing John Gosden, who won the race with Jack Hobbs in 2015, will renew rivalries with his Epsom conqueror, Wings of Eagles and Waldgeist, runner-up at Chantilly, in the Prix du Jockey Club, will ensure this is no two-horse race.


Aidan O’Brien regularly has many runners in the race, and this year will be no different. Among his eleven victories, he has managed to saddle the first three home on four occasions.

Wings of Eagles is looking to become the eighteenth dual Epsom and Curragh Derby winner, but given the price he started at Epsom, question marks remain about whether he can become the next Camelot, Australia or Harzand.

Pat Smullen was victorious on Harzand in 2016 and has picked up the ride on Cracksman due to Frankie Dettori’s continued injury woes. The Rhode man is looking for his third victory in the race.

Waldgeist looks the selection.


Trainer Andre Fabre will be hoping history repeats itself as his last Irish Derby winner, Hurricane Run was also a runner-up at Chantilly before taking victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Waldgeist was a slightly unlucky loser in the Prix du Jockey Club, he can make up for that in more truly run affair at The Curragh.

“It doesn’t seem that any horse is able to be the best by 3lbs or 4lbs, they all seem to be very much together, so that is why I am taking my chance. I think it is a good opportunity for him.” Fabre said.

“He stays well, he has a big heart and he has a good acceleration as well as the ability that he has already shown. I’m a great fan of the Curragh. It is a beautiful track, well designed, you cannot be unlucky as it is a very fair course.”

SportsJOE Derby Friday gives a chance to the younger members of the weighroom to grab some of the limelight. The Hackett Apprentice Jockeys’ Derby is the feature race of the evening. It has been won by future stars of the weighroom such as Jamie Spencer, Shane Foley, Fran Berry, Martin Harley and this year’s Derby hero at Epsom Pauric Beggy.


Dubai Duty Free Derby Day is an all ticket affair, those lucky enough to be in attendance will be joined by Chanelle McCoy. The star of Dragons Den will be one of the style judges, with the most stylish guest whisked off for a luxury trip to Dubai and a stay at the five-star K Club.

The big race gets underway at 5.20 and afterwards the winning connections will be presented with a specially commissioned trophy, sculpted by Kilkenny-based artist Ani Molineau

The final day of The Dubai Duty Free Derby Festival provides fun for all the family alongside a card packed with top class racing. Minding won’t be able to defend her crown in the Group One Pretty Polly


Minding won’t be able to defend her crown in the Group One Pretty Polly stakes due to injury, but a strong line-up looks guaranteed. The Comer Group Curragh Cup is always won by a top quality stayer, who will surely be a contender for the final Classic of the season at the Curragh and The Tote Rockingham is a super competitive sprint handicap where Sors will be looking to defend his crown for Andrew Slattery.

The stars look aligned to provide patrons with a fitting finale to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day is a sell-out, so those without a ticket will have to catch the action on TV. There are tickets and dining opportunities available for SportsJoe Derby Friday and for Pretty Polly family Day, find out more at