Monday 21st June 2021
IRISH ARMY FRONTLINE SOLDIERS LAUNCH THE 2021 DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH DERBY AT THE DEFENCE FORCE’S CURRAGH CAMP
The Curragh Racecourse to recognise all frontline staff with the homeless also to benefit from this weekend’s festival of Racing
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Racing Festival which takes place this weekend at the iconic Curragh Racecourse was launched today at the nearby Curragh Camp barracks by members of the Irish Army’s frontline staff that have been tirelessly assisting the State and the HSE during the pandemic. This year The Curragh Racecourse are specially recognising the service of all frontline workers and especially those who serve in the military. This will be the 156th running of Ireland’s most prestigious and valuable race which also doubles as a pilot sporting test event with a lucky 1,000 spectators present on the Saturday of the three day racing festival which sees the best horses from Ireland and England competing throughout the weekend for €2.3m in prizemoney. The Curragh Racecourse will be donating €10 from every €25 admission ticket to the Peter McVerry Trust who run seven shelters for the homeless in Co Kildare and Fr Peter McVerry himself will be present to receive the proceeds on the day. 50 Members of the Defence Forces frontline staff will also be special guests of the historic venue and a specially arranged Air Corps flyby will take place before the Dubai Duty Free Derby as a salute to all frontline workers to recognise their great service.
It is expected that Ireland’s flagship race will be viewed all around the World with viewers tuning in from as far away as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, South Africa, USA, all over Europe and even Mongolia. Whilst just 1,000 racing fans will be allowed into the racecourse the Curragh Racecourse next Saturday, the Thoroughbred County of Kildare has really embraced the prestigious annual sporting event as those who are interested in soaking up the Derby atmosphere in the area can also soak up the racing atmosphere with two festivals taking place on either side of the iconic racing venue. Newbridge June Fest (www.junefest.ie) and the Kildare Derby Festival (https://intokildare.ie/kildare-derby-festival/) will both be taking place with lots of activities and fun available for everyone to coincide with permitted outdoor dining.
CEO of The Curragh Racecourse and Training Grounds Pat Keogh who was on hand at the launch with Brigadier General David Dignam said “It is shaping up to be a special weekend of racing, particularly on Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day, and we are so happy that the revised protocols will allow 1,000 members of the public from all sectors of the public to attend. We were especially keen to recognise the amazing work of all frontline workers and especially those in the Defence Forces who are neighbours of ours for the past 166 years here on the Curragh plains. We are also delighted to be able to support a very worthy charity in the Peter McVerry Trust and we hope that the proceeds from our admission prices can help make some positive difference to their brilliant shelter and housing work.”
“In line with Government protocols this will be an outdoor event. While it will not be The Curragh as we know it, the racing will be as good as ever and we are sure that spectators will understand, there will be plenty of atmosphere on the day with outdoor dining and catering provided. We are always grateful to all our sponsors but in particular to a major international corporation in Dubai Duty Free who return to us again this season for the 14th year in a row to sponsor our Irish Derby, one of the greatest races in the World, where they will present a specially commissioned silver trophy by the nearby Newbridge Silverware to the winner,” he continued.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said “The year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby marks the return of spectators to sport in Ireland, and while the numbers are limited at this time for safety reasons, it’s a very positive step in the return to some degree of normality. This is our 14th year as title sponsor of this most prestigious race and our 20th year in association with The Curragh Racecourse which is a very important milestone in itself. Despite the pandemic, we have continued to operate our retail operation in Dubai and continued to invest in and support our various sport sponsorships despite most events being held behind closed doors. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland and The Curragh Racecourse for keeping racing going during the pandemic and for safely overseeing the return of spectators to the sport.”
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is the feature race on Saturday 26th June with and can be viewed on RTE television with racing also taking on Friday 25th and Sunday 27th June as part of the weekend’s Derby Festival of Racing.