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Curtain comes down on another memorable Curragh season

October 22, 2015

Curtain comes down on another memorable Curragh season
Significant increases in attendance and betting
Racing at the Curragh has drawn to a close for 2015 and it was another positive year for the County Kildare racecourse with increases in both attendance and betting figures for the season complimenting the magnificent action on the track.
Attendances figures compared to 2014 increased by 6.5% to 109,960 in 2015, while the total betting on course at the Curragh in 2015 was €14,556,628 compared to €11,219,935 the previous year.
Two of the five Irish Classic’s went for export with the John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs proving to be a very impressive winner of the 150th running of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and trainer Hugo Palmer’s first ever trip to the Curragh proving to be a very memorable one as he saddled Covert Love to win the Darley Irish Oaks.
Gleneagles completed the 2,000 Guineas double when claiming the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas all the way back in May before going on to record an emphatic success in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, while the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach also made her presence felt again later in the season for Jim Bolger when winning the Yorkshire Oaks.
Easily the most impressive winner of the five Irish Classic’s this season was Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of St George who looks sure to be a stayer that will have a big say in the major long distance races of 2016.
Air Force Blue, the leading two-year-old of the year, was a three-time winner at the Curragh including two Group One victories, while champion jockey Pat Smullen was the most successful rider with 21 winners and Aidan O’Brien’s tally for the 2015 season at the Curragh was 27 winners and €2,390,740 in prize money.
Reflecting on a fantastic year for the racecourse, General Manager Paul Hensey said;
“It has been an excellent year both on and off the track with increased attendances (+6.5%) and betting figures (+30%), while the majority of our key races have rated well above the required parameter and a number are in line for an upgrade in the not too distant future. We also enjoyed a 22% increase in the number of overseas trained runners this year”
Hensey added; “The celebrations to mark the 150th running of the Irish Derby went very well with over 25,000 people in attendance on Derby Day, an increase of 2,000 on last year’s figure. Longines Irish Champions Weekend has gone from strength to strength and although the weather was not kind to us, the racing was top class with the Group 1 winners Air Force Blue, Minding and Order of St. George all likely to be crowned as European Champions and of course also not forgetting Sole Power’s victory in The Derrinstown Stud Flying Five.”
Other positive initiatives introduced this year included the enhancement of the owners experience with a designed Owners Lounge featuring complimentary dining for owners with runners.
The racecourse’s strong commercial performance continued with the majority of races sponsored during the season. Earlier this year it was announced that Dubai Duty Free agreed to extend their support of the Curragh and of Irish Racing by sponsoring the Irish Derby for a further two years until 2017. Tattersalls extended their support by adding the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas to their portfolio of races which also include the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas and Tattersalls Gold Cup. The Hong Kong based Tsui family sponsored the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes for the first time, while other Group 1 sponsors who continue to be firmly committed to the Curragh are Darley, the Comer Group, Moyglare Stud, Goffs and the US based Keeneland Association.
In total 1,580 horses ran throughout the season at the Curragh for prize money of €9,649,750 across 141 races.
Hensey concluded by adding that redevelopment plans for the racecourse are moving forward, “The development plans are progressing very well and Minister Simon Coveney will outline more details of the project on Wednesday next. We will continue to use our current facilities for the 2016 season”
2015 was also a fantastic year for Curragh-based trainers who use the state-of-the-art Curragh training facilities on the daily basis. Last Saturday’s English Champion Stakes winner Fascinating Rock was another Group One winner for Dermot Weld, while earlier in the season Sandra Hughes won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse with Thunder And Roses.
The Curragh will stage 19 races in 2016 with the opening day taking place on Sunday 20th March
Curragh details 2015
Attendance:
2014: 102,840
2015: 109,960
Increase: 6.5%
Tote:
2014: €5,117,894
2015: €7,109,396
Increase: 38%
Bookmaker:
2014: €5,135,691
2015: €6,254,635
Increase: 21%
Paddy Power on course Betting Shop:
2014: €966,350
2015: €1,114,599
Increase: 15%
Total Betting:
2014:€11,219,935
2015: €14,556,628
Increase: 30%

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