The 5 Main Races in Ireland’s Horseracing Calendar

October 25, 2021

Ireland has a long history of horse racing. The earliest records date back to 60 AD! However, that actually seems rather recent when you learn that the sport’s origins date to the nomadic tribes of Central Asia of around 4,500 BC. Today, Ireland hosts a variety of thrilling racing events each year. Here is a look at the five main ones.

The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is the most significant event in the Irish horse racing calendar. The Group 1 flat race features three-year-old thoroughbred fillies and colts and is held annually at the Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare at the end of June. The distance of the race is one mile and four furlongs. The modern Irish Derby was created in 1866, although it was based on an earlier version called the O’Darby Stakes, which began all the way back in 1817. However, it was only in 1962 that the Irish Derby became a major international race, and the prize money became significantly larger. In 2021, the prize was €580,000, which is around $674,000 (USD). And the amount is expected to be similar in 2022. While the next Derby is not until the end of June, it is not too early to think about wagering options. Keep up with all the latest horse racing news and odds with the Sports Betting site available at this online casino.

The Irish Oaks

This Group 1 flat race also takes place at Curragh Racecourse, just after the Irish Derby; at the beginning of July. The race is basically the equivalent of the famous Oaks race in England. The Irish Oaks was established in 1895. The race is open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. Usually, they have previously run in the English Oaks race at Epsom. Several horses have won both races over the years. The first horse to do so was Masaka, in 1948. The feat was also achieved this year, by the one and only Snowfall.

The Irish Champion Stakes

Open to horses of three years and older, the Irish Champion Stakes is also a Group 1 flat race. You may have seen the last gripping race, which took place in September. After a close contest between St Mark’s Basilica and Tarnawa, the former horse prevailed in a thrilling finish of the €1 million Irish Champion Stakes, reinforcing his claim as one of the best three-year-olds on the circuit. This horserace was established in 1976. It is held at Leopardstown and covers a distance of one mile and two furlongs. In 2009, the Irish Champion Stakes became a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, which means the winning horse gets to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The Irish 2,000 Guineas

Open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies, the Irish 2,000 Guineas is a Group 1 flat race run over a one-mile distance at Curragh Racecourse. The race takes place at the end of May each year. The event was established in 1921, when the race was won by Soldennis, and is the equivalent of the English 2,000 Guineas. Only nine horses have won both the Irish and English 2,000 Guineas. The most recent was Churchill, in 2017.

The Irish 1,000 Guineas

This Group 1 flat race is open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. The one-mile horse race takes place each May at Curragh, three weeks after the 2,000 Guineas. It was established in 1922, one year after the inauguration of the 2,000 Guineas. The first horse to win the Irish 1,000 Guineas was Lady Violette. Each year, the field typically includes horses that have already won the English 1,000 Guineas, although only four horses have won both events; the most recent being Hermosa in 2019.

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