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11th May 2017

The Curragh is ready for racing this weekend

And they're off!

Niall McIntyre

One of Ireland’s most iconic racecourses is open for business.

Racing will return to the Curragh for the first time in the 2017 season with a two day meeting this weekend 13th & 14th May, featuring the Group 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes on Saturday and the inaugural Sole Power Sprint Stakes on Sunday.

The Curragh opened its doors for the first time this year on the 4th May in preparation for the opening weekend, when they staged a test race day to line up with Turf Club requirements.

Ireland’s flagship racecourse is currently in the second year of its redevelopment phase with the €65-million project planned to be completed by January 2019. By 2019, the racecourse will look like this.

Those in attendance on the test day included Turf Club officials, Vets, and other racing stakeholders. Representatives from the Trainers, Jockeys, Stable Staff and Owners Associations were also in attendance. Attendees were shown the temporary facilities which will be in operation this season.  A small group of horses galloped on the track over six and 12 furlongs to test the racecourse itself.

The Chief Executive of the Curragh Racecourse Derek McGrath says that racing will continue as usual.

“We’ll have everything that you expect when you come to a racecourse,” McGrath said.

“We’ve built facilities for the public, we’ve a brand new big structure which will accommodate about 800 people and in there, there’ll be betting, drinks, food.

“We also have a full restaurant facility in a double-decker structure.

“We’ve got a brand new Grand Stand structure which was built in front of the hoarding of the development and that will cater for 1500 people to get right up close with the track.”


Willie McCreery, the Rathbride-based trainer which is on the edge of The Curragh, was at the test-day and he looks forward to racing his horses on the track.

“I was impressed by the layout and facilities which I viewed for the first time today and it was good to see that the track is in great condition. I am looking forward to having runners throughout the season with hopefully some winners amongst them…The Weigh room for the jockeys is a grand facility and the jockeys are happy with it.”

Padraig McManus, the Chairman of Curragh Racecourse Ltd summed it all up, “Well I think we’ve put a lot of effort into trying to make the temporary facilities look more than just temporary. When people think of temporary facilities they think of some ramshackle place you know but we’ve put a lot of effort into trying to make it a reasonable place for the next two years.

“I think some of the people who have had the opportunity to walk around the temporary facilities so far have been very impressed,” said Padraig McManus, Chairman, Curragh Racecourse Ltd.


The 2,000 Guineas winning jockey of last year Chris Hayes was impressed with the condition of the track. “The temporary stand poses no problems and the track itself seems to be in good condition,” he enthused.

The first race of the Curragh season will get underway at 2.10pm on Saturday while the Newbridge Parishes Raceday on Sunday begins at 1.55pm.

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