150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival acclaimed a huge success
June 29, 2015
The sun was shining, the crowds were up and the quality of the action on the track was fitting for this weekends historic Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh.
An increase of almost 3,000 people over the weekend led racecourse manager Paul Hensey to deem the fixture “a huge success” and with sponsors Dubai Duty Free onboard with increased prize-money next year, Hensey is hoping to build it on this success.
“The attendance was up on the three-days including 25,255 here on Saturday for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and overall it was a very positive weekend,” Hensey said.
“Jack Hobbs was a very impressive winner of the Irish Derby, which of course was the 150th running of the race, and Diamondsandrubies was a worthy winner of one of the most competitive renewals of the Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes that I can remember.
“It is the reward of a lot of hard work from a lot of people including the trainers, jockeys and owners who make it happen, the patrons and all the staff and sponsors. The feedback about the ground conditions were very favourable and there was a lot of kind comments about the racecourse in general so I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Jack Hobbs was the first English trained winner of the Irish Derby since Commander In Chief won in 1993 and it was the first time that world-renowned trainer John Gosden managed to win the race to his clear delight.
“I’m delighted to finally win the race,” beamed Gosden. “They have done a fantastic job watering the track and it is good to see the Epsom form stand up so well. We have always thought Jack Hobbs was a very good horse and I would really love to run him in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this year with his three-year-old weight allowance. He has definitely earned a break now however.”
Aidan O’Brien won the feature Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes on Sunday with Diamondsandrubies returning an 8/1 victor to give O’Brien and jockey Seamie Heffernan a double as they also won the Group 3 At The Races Curragh Cup with English St Leger bound Bondi Beach.
Former Irish International rugby star Ronan O’Gara was absent but his colours were carried to victory in the Group 3 Grangecon Stakes by the David Wachman-trained Most Beautiful who looks to have a very bright future ahead of her.