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||June 10th/11th||One new date|
|Fri/Sat/Sun||June 30th/July 1st/2nd|
|Sat||July 29th||New date|
|Mon (Bank Holiday)||August 7th||New date|
The following five traditional early and late season Curragh dates have therefore been switched to other racecourses, for 2017:
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.”
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|