A crowd around 3,650 people flocked to the redeveloped Curragh Racecourse on Bank Holiday Monday to catch a glimpse of the new facilities — as preparations continue for Guineas weekend later this month.
The €80 million flagship racing venue, with a new capacity for 30,000, received generally favourable reaction from both the public as well as the industry — jockeys, trainers, owners and stable staff.
The eye-catching new grandstand with its curved copper-coloured roof has a capacity of 6,000 inside with terraces and seating outside for another 6,000.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, fresh from his double Guineas success at Newmarket, said of the Curragh: “It’s very special. I can’t remember any stand as good as this.
“It’s something we never thought could happen in Ireland and full credit to everyone that’s made it happen.”
The Curragh’s official opening will be performed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the three-day Guineas festival beginning on Friday, May 24.
The weekend begins with the Curragh Spring Festival on the Friday, with the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes with the first race at approximately 5.25pm.
Saturday, May 25, is the first Classic race day of the season with Europe’s top colts competing in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas, while the support programme features the Cold Move Marble Hill Stakes (Listed, Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Group 2) and Lanwades Stud Stakes (Group 2).
Entertainment includes live music from the brilliant Seo Linn after the final race on Saturday.
Sunday also promises to be an exciting day of racing with some of Europe’s best fillies competing for classic race glory in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas.
The day also boasts the Tattersalls Gold Cup, one of the leading races in Europe for middle distance horses.
There will also be entertainment throughout the day from Viva Manila.
Pictures courtesy Curragh Racecourse