1,500 Acres of World-Class Training Facilities
The Curragh Training Grounds provide trainers with the opportunity to prepare their horses on approximately 1,500 acres of world-class training facilities.
The standard and range of gallops on offer is really quite remarkable and led to Dermot Weld describing the facilities as “unquestionably one of the finest training grounds in the world”. Trainers are able to choose from a number of immaculately maintained grass gallops if they want to work their horses on turf. The ground staff rotate the use of the gallops, meaning that ground is kept fresh and the quality of the surface is continually excellent.
In addition to the numerous turf gallops, there is an option of peat and eight all-weather tracks available to work on. There is even variation in the surfaces on the all-weather tracks. There are four made up of a sand and fibre mix, and four that are woodchip-based. With so many options on offer, horses are able to have plenty of variety in their schedules and could be worked on a different gallop every day of the week if the trainer so desired. The range of gallops at the Curragh Training Grounds provides trainers with great scope to tailor each horse’s work to suit their individual needs, with gallops varying in length, gradient and surface.
To ensure that National Hunt and point-to-point trainers are well catered for, the training grounds have an all-weather schooling strip that is two furlongs in length and has both Easyfix hurdles and Easyfix fences on it. This compliments the extensive schooling facilities over both fences and hurdles to make schooling jumpers as straight forward as possible.
The Curragh Training Grounds are maintained 365 days a year by a skilled and dedicated team. The constant attention helps to keep the gallops in fantastic condition year-round and means that there are gallops available to use every single day of the year without fail, providing trainers with continuity and peace of mind during extreme weather conditions.
Thanks to the generous support of Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner we are due to complete a gallop refurbishment project in 2020. This Project has already granted the Curragh the new Free Eagle gallop as well a straight sand and fibre gallop in the Little Curragh. A refurbishment of the Old Vic was completed in December 2019 meaning trainers will have a top-class woodchip surface for the 2020 season and beyond. The world-class facilities offered by the Curragh Training Grounds provide Irish trainers with the ideal conditions on which to prepare their horses for races both in Ireland and on the international stage. The training grounds’ record speaks for itself and the fact that horses prepared on the Curragh Grounds have gone on to win Irish and English Derbies, the Melbourne Cup, the Hong Kong Mile, the Belmont Stakes, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Aintree Grand National shows that when it comes to preparing horses for the highest-class races in both the Flat and National Hunt spheres, the Curragh Training Grounds are second to none.
Trainer John Oxx acknowledged the huge advantage of having access to such high-quality facilities, stating “Curragh trainers are now reaping the benefits of the recent significant investment in the facilities of the Curragh Training Grounds. The commitment to maintain and upkeep the gallops to the highest standards has ensured that trainers based on the Curragh continue to win top races all over the world”.
Not everyone may be aware that the world-class training grounds are not solely for the use of Curragh-based trainers, but are actually available to hire by any trainer or point-to-point handler in Ireland. This means that every yard, whether it be home to one or one hundred horses, can have access to exactly the same gallops used by the likes of John Oxx, Dermot Weld, Michael O’Callaghan, John Feane, Ken Condon, Johnny Levins, Kevin Prendergast, Willie McCreery, Tracey Collins, Darren Bunyan, Conor Dwyer, Charles O’Brien and Johnny Murtagh on a daily basis. Trainers not based on the Curragh also use the facilities including Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Jessica Harrington, Joseph O'Brien and Michael Halford.
The location of the Curragh Training Grounds makes them easily accessible, nestling in the heart of Kildare, the Thoroughbred County. They are situated just off exit 12 on the M7, close to major racing establishments including RACE, the Irish Racecourse Trainers Association, the Racecourse Owners Association, the IHRB, Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish National Stud. There is also a large equestrian shop and café overlooking the grounds.