The home of Flat racing in Ireland is at the magnificent Curragh, one of the finest tracks for racing in Europe.
The County Kildare course is located in an equine hotbed, with top yards, studs and equine facilities all nearby, including the Irish National Stud.
The Curragh is the home of Ireland's Classics, including the Derby in June and is – naturally – a venue that stages only Flat racing.
Here's our guide to the Curragh racecourse.
|Irish Champions Weekend, Day 2
|The Curragh Racecourse, Co Kildare
|Sunday 10th September, 2023
|How to watch
|bet365 Sports Live Streaming, RTE & Racing TV
Racing at the Curragh typically takes place from the final weekend in March – the opening weekend of Flat turf racing in Britain and Ireland – through until late September, with usually something in the region of 23 meetings per year.
Early in the season there are plenty of Group races but things really go up a notch in May with the Irish Guineas weekend, staging the first two Classics of the season, as well as the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup – a key contest for older performers.
After The Derby at Epsom in early June, the Irish equivalent comes along at the end of the same month. Some of the greats of the game have done the Epsom/Curragh double, including Auguste Rodin in 2023.
The Irish Oaks is the mid-July highlight, while the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes for two-year-olds takes place in early August.
Irish Champions Weekend comes up in early September, with the two-day meeting now shared between Leopardstown and the Curragh.
Day two, the Sunday, is at the Kildare venue and boasts the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes – the crowning of the leading juvenile – and the Irish St Leger, which is open to any horses aged three-and-older unlike the Doncaster version for 3YOs only.
A horseshoe-shaped, right-handed course with no sharp bends over two-miles with a straight run-in of three furlongs slightly uphill – the Curragh is for many people the perfect racecourse.
On the sprint track, a high draw can be an advantage depending on where the field chooses to race, while over 7f/1m it is generally very fair.
The Derby course and distance features plenty turning throughout and, therefore, a low draw and rail position can be definite assets.
The name "Curragh" comes aptly from the Irish language word Cuirreach, meaning "place of the running horse".
Redevelopment at The Curragh took place from 2017 to the start of the 2019 season, bringing the raceday facilities up to scratch.
Celebrating the picturesque landscape of the Curragh, the Main Grandstand is comprised of three linear planes (10,500 square metres) that are respectful to the Curragh landscape whilst cutting a dramatic and elegant silhouette.
The Irish passion for horse racing is legendary and experiencing it at The Curragh is unforgettable. The vast open grassy plain of The Curragh is at the very centre of Ireland's thoroughbred horse industry and the racecourse.
The Curragh racecourse is located in County Kildare, on the edge of The Curragh plains, approximately an hour outside of Dublin (50km).
Amongst the facilities on offer to racegoers are the Champions Hall, Atrium Café, the Guineas Bar, Derby Bar, the Oaks Bar and Restaurant, The Classics Suite and the Lilywhites Lounge – named in honour of Co Kildare.
Racegoers can also choose to pre-book a sumptuous selection of savoury and sweet snacks and treats via the Curragh Gourmet Picnics.