Countdown begins for 15th edition of Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby


Godolphin’s Hurricane Lane won last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The sense of excitement is rising ahead of the 15th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival, which will take place at The Curragh Racecourse in Co. Kildare (Ireland) from Saturday to Sunday.

This premier race will see some of Europe’s top trainers, jockeys and horses battling it out on the famous Curragh track for derby glory.

Last year’s winner was the Godolphin owned Hurricane Lane, who was trained by Charlie Appleby and emerged victorious in the capable hands of jockey William Buick. 

With a limited crowd last year due to the pandemic, the upcoming weekend sees the return of racing fans to the track that will be keen to witness the live action in person.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is one of the premier races in the global calendar, with prize money of €1 million, making it Ireland’s richest race. 

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said, “This year marks our 15th as title sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby although we have been working with the Curragh Racecourse, supporting them, and sponsoring other races for 21 years now. We are glad to be back here in person once more with a full capacity crowds.”

He went on to say, “Over the term of our sponsorship, we have worked closely with The Curragh team and endeavored to grow this event into a festival with activities taking place both on and off the track. An example of this is the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Golf Classic which will take place at The K Club on Thursday. We also sponsor the Ladies Fashion element of the raceday with a great prize of a trip to Dubai.”

During its tenure as title sponsor Dubai Duty Free has always been keen to have activations off the track in a bid to encourage racing fans and the local communities to ‘embrace more than the race.’

The company has partnered with several Irish and local charities over the years and has helped raise over €640,000 for local children’s charities and for people in need in Ireland. Over €200,000 of this was pledged directly by Dubai Duty Free through its own Foundation. This year Dubai Duty Free is working with Barretstown Children’s Charity located in Ballymore Eustace in Co. Kildare. 

He also commended the Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland and The Curragh Racecourse and its team for keeping racing going during a difficult couple of years and for safely overseeing the return of spectators to the track.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival has grown beyond recognition since the airport retailer took on the role of title sponsor in 2008. The centrepiece, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby has become one of the premier races in the global calendar. The company is also sponsoring five other races on Derby Day and has six of the eight races on the card on Saturday.



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