Curragh – The Home of Irish Horse Racing
The Curragh Racecourse in Kildare is synonymous with Irish horse racing. The very first race in Ireland took place here in 1741 and it has remained the head quarters of horse racing in Ireland and one of the country’s premier sporting venues. Curragh means place of the running horse and even before horse racing started here, the area where the racecourse stands today was used for chariot racing way back in the third century. Located less than an hour from Dublin, The Curragh horse racing season runs from March to October. Considered to be the best venue for flat races in the country, the major races run here include all five Classic Races featuring the Boylesports Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas, Budweiser Irish Derby, Darley Irish Oaks and Irish Field St. Leger. The first Irish Derby took place here in 1866.
Food and drink is an integral part of horse racing in Ireland and Curragh boasts of a number of lively bars and restaurant located through the racecourse enclosure. These include The Bollinger Champagne Bar and Bistro, Curragh View and Horseshoe Bars, The Horseshoe Restaurant and the Horace Pinks and Vintage Crop West End Bars. Curragh provides a variety of entertainment for children throughout the horse racing afternoons and families are most welcome here.
The highlights of the Irish horse racing season is the Irish Derby being run this year on Sunday July 2, 2006, one of the greatest sporting and social events of the year. It is the culmination of an exciting weekend of fun fashion and horse racing. The Boylesports Irish 2000 Guineas at the end of May is one of the most prestigious racing events in the international sporting calendar, featuring two days of first class racing action and an exciting line up of great entertainment including music by top Irish bands. The next day’s eight race programme includes the Boylesports Irish 1000 Guineas and the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup. It is also one of four “Fashions on the Turf” Ladies Days. The Summer Racing Carnival features Ladbrokes Race Day including 100,000 euro Ladbrokes Rockingham Handicap on Saturday, with Darley Irish Oaks, Emirates Airline Minstrel Stakes and Dubai Duty Free Anglesey Stakes being the main attractions of Sunday.
Curragh is at the heart of the Irish bloodstock industry, and their training grounds are renowned all over the world. It is also surrounded by numerous large stud farms, prominent among them being the National stud. Horses from here have done their masters proud with Vintage Crop and Media Puzzle having won the prestigious Melbourne Cup in 1993 and 2002 respectively. Other recent notable Curragh successes include Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace and Epsom Derby winner Sinndar. Alamshar and Grey Swallow, have won the Budweiser Irish Derby.
Extensive renovations of the race course particularly upgradation of the grandstands are on the cards and will commence shortly. Care will be taken no doubt to ensure that the racing meets are not cancelled or disturbed by this.