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Irish Derby

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The Pinnicle of Our Season

For 3 days in late June the Curragh is the only place to be for the The Irish Derby Festival. Starting on Thursday 27th June with an exciting evening meeting, Friday 28th June features top quality Group and Listed racing and the festival closes with Irish Derby Day on Saturday 29th June. Three fabulous days where International Trainers and Jockeys and Equine Superstars come to settle scores and confirm their reputations. World Class Racing, Gourmet Food, Stunning Fashion and top quality entertainment ensure that this 154 year old race meeting delivers the ultimate race fan experience at the best racecourse in the world. Do Not Miss It !

Race & Stay Packages

Hotel Including Transport, Ticket or Hospitality Packages

Our exclusive Race & Stay™ Packages let you check in and chill out leaving you free to enjoy your luxury stay and world class racing in style and comfort. Our package prices start from as low as €129 pp but we have offers to suit all budgets, tastes and requirements including our new Gold and Platinum Tour Packages featuring the best accommodation, racecourse hospitality, exciting events and behind the scenes extras and side tours.
Start by selecting the Hotel of your choice from the options below, you will be able to explore all of our fabulous packages.

Visitor Guide & Information

All You Need To Know About The Irish Derby Festival

About The Curragh

The Curragh Racecourse is located on a large grassy plain approximately 50km from Dublin Airport and City center on the main M7 / N7 motorway route in the “Horse County” of Kildare, one of the world’s foremost racing and breeding areas. Steeped in racing history from the early 17th century the Curragh runs all 5 classic races throughout the season starting in late May with the Irish Guineas Weekend, late June for the Irish Derby Festival, mid– July for the Irish Oaks and early September for the Irish St Leger, now part of the fabulous Longines Irish Champions Weekend. Aside from the 5 “classics” the Curragh also runs on 13 other race days often featuring high class group racing with some of the best international horses and jockeys taking part in truly enthralling racing action. The Curragh is not just a racecourse, the vast plain encompasses Irish Army barracks, training facilities, an equine pool, golf courses and is also home to many of the best trainers in the country. A wide racecourse with wonderful limestone turf of nearly 2 miles in horseshoe shape the horses run right handed across mildly undulating plain to a slightly uphill finish. It is widely recognized as one, if not the best, racecourses in the world.

Course Layout

The Curragh Racecourse Layout

Wise Words

"The Curragh is lovely track. In general the round courses are very fair, but one thing I would say is that the Derby track is quite different to the Plate track. It’s quite deceptive when looking at it from the stands, but there’s an awful lot of turning on the Derby track and a low draw is definitely a help. On the sprint track, when they race up against the stand side, a high draw is always favoured to one extent or another no matter what the ground is like, as there is a gradual camber from the stand side down to the far side, so the stand side is always that bit drier. When they move the running rail out into the middle of the straight track, the draw isn’t quite as important, but high numbers are still best. Over the mile/seven furlong tracks, I don’t think there are any great biases, though they do tend to come across to the middle or even the stand side when the ground is on the soft side". Mick Kinnane Hall of Fame Jockey

Following 2 years of intensive redevelopment the NEW Curragh will be unvieled to our guests at our first meeting of the season on Saturday 13th April 2019 with the official opening taking place on Friday 24th May. Over 100m will have been spent by the time we are ready for business with the stunning new Curragh Grandstands as the centrepiece of this investment. Fabulous new restaurants, private suites, guest facilities, public bars and viewing areas await you on arrival at this historic venue. Not forgetting the total re-build of the site, car parking, equine facilities, gallops and training grounds. The Curragh has always been one of the wolrd's best racecourses now we have the facilities to match the hallowed turf we race on.

About The Derby Festival

Now in its 153rd year The Irish Derby Festival is the perfect attraction for both locals, tourists and those in the racing industry. The Irish Derby Festival is the pinnacle of the flat race season attracting the very best horses from the Europe, UK and Island of Ireland. Over the course of the weekend many international human and equine superstars take to the track to settle scores and confirm reputations and to compete for over 3m in prize money. Thousands of racegoers will flock to the racecourse each day to witness the best trainers, jockeys and equine stars competing for record prize money over 3 fabulous days.
The Festival is a lively, fun event with music, fashion and craic complementing the excellent racing on offer each day. Knowlegeable race-goers mingle with guests who come for a variety of reasons, maybe its the valuable fashion prizes that attract some but mainly its the fabulous atmosphere that The Irish Derby Festival generates that keeps the racegoers happy, and especially this year as it's the first year the NEW Curragh grandstands will be in use.

Ticket Prices

Thursday 27th June: Adult Admission €20
Friday 28th June: Adult Admission €25
Saturday 29th June: Adult Admission €40

Hospitality Packages

Information will appear here when hospitality packages are released

Thursday 27th June

Racing starts at 5.45pm
Derby Thursday is the traditional curtain raiser for what always is three days of quality racing, fabulous fashion, delicious food and some of the most enjoyable social days in the sporting calendar. Always an evening meeting and a local’s favourite to attend it is traditionally a party night to welcome in the competition to follow. The atmosphere is relaxed and the emphasis is clearly on welcoming the many guests that go each of the three wonderful days of racing we have planned this season. Derby Thursday is an evening to meet acquaintances old and new, to eat, drink and relax and enjoy the event as only the Irish know how, where music and fun are the keys to the evening and a true festival atmosphere abounds. Racegoers tend to be more casual in their attire and arrive in droves to enjoy a quality night out at Ireland’s premier racecourse.

Friday 28th June

Racing starts at 3pm
Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival features some of the best racing of the year. Competitive and valuable handicap’s mix with the feature races including the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes and Comer Group International Curragh Cup, won in 2017 by Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling.
The Juddmonte sponsored Pretty Polly Stakes has an impressive roll of honour with past winners including Dance Design, Rebelline, Chorist, Alexander Goldrun, Peeping Fawn, Minding, and in 2017 Nezwaah. Horses with great classic and group form are laid out for this race year on year and the winners and placed horses all tend to have form at the very top of the tree.
A host of international Trainers and Jockeys target this day as an opportunity to showcase some of their established equine stars as well as trying to win some of the near .8m prize money on offer. A spectacular second day and a day not to be missed by any serious racing fan.

Derby Day 29th June

Racing starts at 3pm
The modern Irish Derby was created by the 3rd Earl of Howth, the 3rd Marquess of Drogheda and the 3rd Earl of Charlemont. It was first run in 1866, and it was initially contested over 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 3 yards. It was extended by 9 yards in 1869, and cut to its present distance in 1872. The first Epsom Derby winner to achieve victory in the Irish version was Orby, trained in Ireland by Fred McCabe, in 1907. The Irish Derby became a major international race in 1962, when its prize money was substantially increased. Joe McGrath, a founder of the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake, combined the race with the sweepstake, and it became known as the Irish Sweeps Derby. The event began to regularly attract the winners of the Epsom Derby, and Santa Claus became the second horse to win both races in 1964. A total of eighteen horses have now completed the English-Irish Derby double, and the most recent was Harzand in 2016.
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day is the pinnacle of the Irish Racing season and one of the most enjoyable and social days of the year, with thrilling racing action, fabulous fashion, delicious food, great entertainment and the best of craic. International Trainers, Jockeys and equine superstars compete for glory over one and a half miles on the Curragh’s hallowed turf for one of racings most coveted prizes. Won by a host of famous horses over the years the Irish Derby continues to attract Royal Ascot winners as well as the Classic winners from the UK, France and Europe. The days supporting races are of high quality too. Altogether not just a day at the races but a total experience not to be missed.

Please note that race timings and admission prices are given "as is" and may be subject to change

What to Wear

There is no formal dress code except no offensive dress anywhere and no sportswear, shorts or t shirts please in the hospitality areas. Especially on big race days guests do dress for the occasion. Ladies tend to wear dresses with hats, Gentlemen wear suits or slacks with a collared shirt and jacket. Formal wear is not at all necessary. Smart casual works always on all race days but you are very welcome to dress how you feel most comfortable. The choice is yours how you dress for the day, and of course the weather.
For Ladies
Wear what is appropriate for the weather, what you feel most comfortable in and also what is suitable for the environment you are booked for. Hospitality guests usually dress up for the occasion, Ticket only guests tend to be less formal in their choice of outfit. A nice dress, Trouser suit or Top and Skirt will always work well in any location, Hats look great, whether they be fascinators or headwear. Block colours work as well as do simple plain colours or designs, again, dress in what makes you feel good and your confidence will shine through. Racing is a long day out and good shoes are important. Those nice looking trendy killer heels may end up being your worst enemy at the end of the day.
Again wear what is most appropriate for the weather, you cant go wrong with a good suit or quality slacks, collared shirt and tailored jacket. No T shirts or sportswear, smart casual is fine and is generally the rule. If you have booked hospitality you’ll find most guests will dress up, but the wearing of jackets and ties is by no means compulsory. If you have booked tickets only then the attire tends to be much more casual and as always don’t forget that a good pair of comfortable shoes is a godsend.
Our advice is to have a glam day out and go for it !!!

Betting In Ireland

There are two betting options in Ireland, The Tote and Bookmakers.
The Tote
The Tote is pool betting similar to the USA and other EU counties. Tote staff will come around your tables and be available in various locations on course throughout the afternoon to take your bets and hopefully pay out as well !! Trifecta’s, Exacta’s and other exotic type bets are available on nearly every race. Please ask your tote staff if you have any questions about what bets are available on each race.
Bookmakers offer bets according to the price shown on their board for each horse at the time of the bet. Odds are displayed as fractions e.g. 2/1 which means if you bet €1 you get €2 back plus your stake. When you place a bet with a bookmaker they will give you a ticket which shows your bet and the potential return should you win. Most bookmakers will also take bets on “away races” that is races at other Irish and UK racecourses. Bookmakers are located in the betting ring (as its called) which is a fast paced, lively and noisy place. Bookmakers often vary in the odds they offer on each horse so do shop around for the best value. They may also take bets with or without the race favourite and each way bets for a horse to be placed in the first 2 in races up to 8 runners, first 3 in races of 8 or over runners and the first 4 in races that are handicap’s with 16 or more runners. If in doubt please do ask the bookmaker before you place your bet. As soon as you have placed your bet please look at your ticket and make sure that it is correct as mistakes cannot be rectified during or after a race.

Currency Exchange & ATM’s

There are ATM machines at the racecourses but they are always busy on big Race Days. Restaurants and Bars do take Cash, Visa, MasterCard and Visa Debit cards for any transaction if required. We do not accept American Express or Diners Cards in any area. Our advice is to ensure that you have enough Euro’s before you arrive and to only use the ATM’s if you have to.

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