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Curragh to stage 18 race days from May to September in 2017

September 13, 2016

The 2017 Fixture List for Irish racing has been released today (Tuesday, 13th September 2016) by Horse Racing Ireland. The total number of fixtures remains unchanged at 355.

In terms of the overall Flat/National Hunt (NH) split, it is estimated that Flat races will increase by 16 (to 1102) while NH races will decline by 15 (to 1412). This reflects the improvement in Flat average field sizes in the first eight months of 2016 (up from 9.8 to 10.5) when compared with a small drop in the NH average (down from 11.3 to 11.2).

The main change within the 2017 Fixture List is that the Curragh’s season has been shortened from mid-May to mid-September to facilitate its proposed redevelopment, which is currently going through the formal HRI capital evaluation process. During the summer of 2017, the Curragh will continue to stage its normal allocation of 18 fixtures, with the use of temporary facilities where necessary.

The Curragh’s revised schedule for 2017 is as follows:

Sat/Sun May 13th/14th Two new dates
Sat/Sun May 27th/28th  
Sat/Sun June 10th/11th One new date
Fri/Sat/Sun June 30th/July 1st/2nd  
Sat/Sun July 15th/16th  
Sat July 29th New date
Mon (Bank Holiday) August 7th New date
Sun August 13th  
Sat/Sun August 19th/20th  
Sun August 27th  
Sun September 10th  

The following five traditional early and late season Curragh dates have therefore been switched to other racecourses, for 2017:

March 26th Naas
April 9th Naas
May 1st Naas
September 24th Naas
October 8th Navan

To facilitate these changes, a number of other Naas and Navan fixtures were required to move dates.

Other key points in relation to the 2017 Fixture List are as follows:

  • At the request of the Irish Stable Staff Association and with the agreement of the racecourses concerned, blank racing days have been reintroduced on the two September Sundays featuring the All-Ireland Hurling and Football Finals (3rd and 17th respectively).
  • Additionally, there will be no Flat racing on Sunday July 9th to give stable staff in Flat yards a break during this very busy period of the year.
  • As Easter falls close to Punchestown, Fairyhouse will stage a quality Sunday card on 2nd April featuring several Pattern races from Easter Weekend which would potentially be clashing with similar contests at the Punchestown Festival.
  • Fairyhouse will still stage a three-day Easter Festival, moving their meeting which is normally held in late April to Easter Tuesday, with this Tuesday card featuring a high profile €100,000 Grade A handicap hurdle.
  • As well as opening the Flat turf season next year, Naas will also stage the final Flat turf meeting of the year on Sunday, 5th November. This has been converted from a National Hunt fixture at the request of the Trainers Association in order to extend the turf season.
  • Longines Irish Champions Weekend will be run at Leopardstown on Saturday 9th September and the Curragh on Sunday 10th September.

Announcing the 2017 Fixture List, Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of HRI, said:

“The biggest change to the Fixture List for 2017 is the shortened Curragh season, which will now see 18 meetings staged in 18 weeks. It will be a very busy period but will prove worthwhile as, subject to the Curragh’s application for funding passing through the rigorous HRI capital evaluation process, it will allow redevelopment to get underway on the new state-of-the-art facilities at the home of Irish Flat racing.

“I would like to commend Naas and Navan Racecourses for their co-operation and support when it came to moving dates next year so that we can continue to provide a coherent early and late season programme of Flat opportunities. The significant additional available racing surface, remedial work to their sprint track and ability to accommodate virtually all distances with high safety limits, made Naas the obvious candidate to accommodate the majority of the Curragh’s transferred fixtures.

“An important change to the fixture list is the reintroduction of blank racing days on the two All-Ireland Sundays in September. Combined with a Sunday where there will now be no Flat racing in July and the existing blank Sunday before the Galway Festival, this will give stable staff some welcome breaks, and HRI was happy to facilitate this with the full support of the racecourses.”

Click here for 2017 Fixture List

The dates of the major racing Festivals for 2017 will be:

Cork Easter 15th – 17th April
Fairyhouse Easter 16th – 18th April
Punchestown National Hunt 25th – 29th April
Killarney Spring 14th – 16th May
Curragh Guineas 27th – 28th May
Down Royal Ulster Derby 23rd – 24th June
Curragh Derby 30th June – 2nd July
Bellewstown 6th – 8th July
Curragh Oaks 15th – 16th July
Killarney July 17th – 20th July
Galway 31st July – 6th August
Tramore 17th – 20th August
Killarney August 23rd – 26th August
Longines Irish Champions Weekend 9th – 10th September
Listowel 10th – 16th September
Down Royal 3rd – 4th November
Punchestown November Winter Racing 18th – 19th November
Fairyhouse Premier Jump Racing Weekend 2nd – 3rd December
Leopardstown Christmas 26th – 29th December
Limerick Christmas 26th – 29th December

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