The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Weekend is three days of top quality racing showcasing the best that Ireland has to offer. The iconic festival is one of Ireland's biggest social and sporting occasions, a whirl of music, dancing, fashion and racing that attracts some of the world's top horses and jockeys.
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby History
The Irish Derby is the third and most important Irish Classic and Group 1 of the Flat season. Run over a distance of one mile and four furlongs at the Curragh, it is open to three-year-old colts and fillies. Many horses which have previously contested the 2,000 Guineas in Ireland, England and France and the English and French Derbies traditionally come to the Curragh for the Irish Derby.
The ﬁrst running of the Irish Derby took place in 1866 and was won by the English raider Selim who struck for trainer Tom Cliff after accounting for just two rivals. Cliff supplied the winner again the following year and to date English raiders have enjoyed 53 victories in the race. From 1866 until 1871 the Irish Derby was run over a mile and three quarters before reverting to its present distance. The ﬁrst horse to complete the Epsom-Irish Derby double was Orby – the ﬁrst Irish-trained winner of the Epsom race – in 1907. After its prizemoney was substantially increased in 1962 (when it was ﬁrst run as the Irish Sweeps Derby), the race began to attract stronger ﬁelds and in 1964 Santa Claus became the second dual Derby winner. Thus far a total of 18 horses have won both the Epsom and Irish Derbys.
Epsom and Irish Derby winners:
There have been two dead heats in the Irish Derby. Haine and Zodiac were inseparable in 1924 and ten years later the honours were shared between two more English runners in Patriot King and Primero. Easily the biggest surprise in the race’s history came in 1954 when Zarathustra sprang a 50/1 surprise for Michael Hurley and Paddy Powell. Subsequently Zarathustra won the Irish St. Leger and he proved himself an outstanding stayer in the coming years with his victories headed by the 1957 Ascot Gold Cup. The largest Irish Derby ﬁeld went to post in 1962 when Tambourine II defeated 23 rivals to become the ﬁrst French-trained winner of a race whose prizemoney had increased sevenfold on 1961. There have been seven more French-trained winners since then with the last coming when Hurricane Run prevailed in 2005.
LEADING RIDER (since 1990)
SEAMIE HEFFERNAN with 4 wins: Soldier of Fortune (2007), Frozen Fire (2008), Capri (2017) & Santiago (2020)
JOHNNY MURTAGH with 4 wins: Sinndar (2000), Alamshar (2003), Fame And Glory (2009) & Cape Blanco (2010)
LEADING TRAINER (since 1990)
AIDAN O’BRIEN with 13 wins: Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Dylan Thomas (2006), Soldier Of Fortune (2007), Frozen Fire (2008), Fame And Glory (2009), Cape Blanco (2010), Treasure Beach (2011), Camelot (2012), Australia (2014), Capri (2017), Sovereign (2019) & Santiago 2020)
TRainer A.P. O'Brien
Rider S. Heffernan