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The Curragh launch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival

June 15, 2017

The Curragh launched the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival at a well-attended event at the Curragh Racecourse yesterday. The three-day festival taking place from Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July, features top class racing alongside live music, delicious food, stunning style and family fun.

Ticket sales for Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day have now reached the attendance capacity of 6,000, but there are plenty of admission tickets and dining options still available for Friday and Sunday.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby takes centre stage on Saturday with the prospect of one of the most competitive races for many years. Epsom Derby hero Wings of Eagles looks set to attempt to give trainer Aidan Obrien a remarkable 12th victory in the race and will renew rivalry with Cracksman owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer and trained by John Gosden who saddled Jack Hobbs to win the 150th running of the race in 2015 and the Martyn Meade trained Eminent who finished third and fourth.  All three horses qualify for the Irish Derby “free entry” initiative.

French Derby runner up Waldgeist trained by legendary trainer Andre Fabre, who has enjoyed success twice in Ireland’s premier Classic with Hurricane Run and Winged Love), is expect to try to be the first French trained winner of the race since 2005. Other notable entries include Grandee trained by Jessica Harrington who will bid to become the first female trainer to win the race, and Crystal Ocean trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race three times.

Irish Derby winning trainers Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger, John Oxx and Aidan O’Brien all attended the Launch, in addition to Irish Derby winner jockeys Seamus Heffernan, Kevin Manning and Pat Smullen who rode Harzand to victory last year.

The 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby trophy was also unveiled and this magnificent piece of art was commissioned by Dubai Duty Free from County Kilkenny based artist Ani Molineau.  The trophy incorporates many symbols to highlight the strong relationship between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.

Cullen & Co Jewellers have agreed to sponsor valuable prizes to be presented to the leading owner, trainer and jockey of the Festival.

Derek McGrath, CEO of The Curragh Racecourse, commented: “The potential line up for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby looks really promising and the prospect of having the Epsom Derby winner taking on the runner up from the French Derby will make the Irish Derby one of the top races in the world for three year olds.  There is a strong line up of entertainment to create a real festive atmosphere throughout the three days and we are pleased to support a number of initiatives to continue our strong association with the local community”

DDF Irish Derby – Paddy Power, official betting partner of The Curragh: 9-4 Cracksman, 5-2 Wings Of Eagles, 3 Waldgeist, 6 Cliffs Of Moher, 9 Capri, Douglas Macarthur, 12 Crystal Ocean, Yucatan, War Decree, 14 Venice Beach, 16 Best Solution, 20 Orderofthegarter, Tamleek, 33 Best Of Days, Irishcorrespondent, Taj Mahal, Titus

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