Preface

Published in 1980, the History of the Irish Derby 1866 – 1979 was born out of a chance meeting of like minds, each intent on chronicling the history of Irish racing. Recognizing that such a canvas was simply too broad and potentially shapeless, we resolved to use the Irish Derby as the continuous theme, incorporating as it did virtually all the main players on the Irish scene throughout that period.

As the 150th Irish Derby approached we realised that innovations in research technology had largely overtaken the original, newsprint research on which that first edition had been based. Consequently, this update constitutes a précis of its forerunner, from 1866 to 1961. As the inaugural Irish Sweeps Derby – the richest race in Europe – in 1962 marked a watershed in Irish racing, we have updated the years 1962 – 1979, treating the subsequent renewals in similar fashion.

It is our hope and belief that this formula will appeal to racing aficionados and students of racing history alike. Throughout its vicissitudes the Irish Derby has always been the centrepiece and showcase of Irish racing and breeding. Its story is worthy of recording between covers, a sentiment happily endorsed by our generous benefactors. Enjoy.

Guy Williams and Francis Hyland