Curragh expect to sell around 500 tickets to spectators for Derby day

A total of 1,000 will attend the race including local frontline workers

Up to 500 tickets are set to be available for spectators to buy for the  Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh later this month. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Up to 500 tickets are set to be available for spectators to buy for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh later this month. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

 

Up to 500 tickets are set to be available for spectators to buy ahead of the €1 million Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh later this month.

The fixture featuring Ireland’s premier Classic is one of a series of pilot events to test the return of spectators to sporting events as part of a national relaxation of Covid-19 protocols.

A total of a thousand people will be allowed attend the Derby on June 26th and tickets are going to be put on sale to the public next week.

The Curragh management are awaiting clarification on a number of final logistical points but part of their plans include complimentary tickets for a number of local frontline workers.

“I’ve come up with a plan and asked people for their views so there will probably be 50 complimentary tickets for frontline workers, something like that, and they’ll be from within the local community,” said the Curragh chief executive, Pat Keogh, on Monday.

“Our members will be given an option to come along. There are currently 250 members of the Curragh.

“We’ve put everyone’s 2021 membership back to 2022 because they’re not getting a full year. But they’re all still members and there will be a ticket reserved for everyone of those and the option to buy a ticket.

“Then there are a number of other people that we’d like to come along, people who’ve been helpful during the period, and that will probably leave us with about 500 tickets to go on sale to the general public.

“It depends on uptake from members and other things but circa that. If they [members] don’t take it that gives us more to distribute.

“So they’re roughly the numbers. They will be spread probably over a day to give people a chance to get it,” he added.

Owners were allowed return to the racecourse on Monday and some spectators are permitted at Down Royal’s two-day ‘Summer Festival’ meeting in Northern Ireland next week.

The Derby, however, will be the first chance for some of the general public to go racing in the Republic since March of 2020.

“This trial will be really important because we have the responsibility for every other racecourse, and the industry generally, to show it can be done. and then the industry can hopefully move beyond a thousand for Galway and everything else,” Keogh commented.

For the first time, due to the pandemic, the 2020 Curragh Classic was the first of Europe’s three major Derby races to be run.

Now it is back in its traditional role as the final leg of the Derby series and with prizemoney increased to €1 million from last year’s €750,000.

With High Definition pencilled in for the Curragh the odds are against Ballydoyle fielding Sunday’s Prix du Jockey Club winner St Mark’s Basilica but the Epsom third Hurricane Lane will line up for Godolphin.

“I’m delighted with how he has come out of it and the plan is the head straight to Ireland,” said trainer Charlie Appleby, who will point the Epsom winner Adayar at the King George.

However, Mojo Star, the maiden who finished runner-up to Adayar, is already being seriously considered since the €75,000 required to supplement him into the race is covered by the Curragh’s ‘Win & You’re In’ scheme.

“We’re looking for the next Derby I suppose,” reported Mojo Star’s trainer Richard Hannon.

“I think we’ll be looking at the an Irish Derby or a King George, maybe. If you finish in the first three in the English Derby, you get a free go at the Irish Derby so that’s got to be the worth looking at,” he added.

The free entry scheme relating to a series of races also sees Johnny Murtagh’s Earlswood get in having won the Gallinule Stakes, while Fernando Vichi gets free entry for winning the Nijinsky Stakes.

“It means that horses that didn’t have it in the plan originally don’t miss out, and we get as strong a field as we can,” explained Keogh.

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