Curragh Racecourse Guide

The headquarters and home of Irish flat racing and arguably the most famous racecourse in Ireland, the County Kildare track is also the home of the Irish Classic races with every ‘Classic’ race hosted there.

The course also hosts ten out of the 12 Irish Group One races on the seasonal calendar and is regarded as a very fair track allied with top-class training facilities and racegoer facilities it is little wonder that ‘The Curragh’ enjoys its’ lofty reputation as one of the best in the world, attracting the very best thoroughbreds.

Irish Champions Weekend Tips

7152 Showlhs N

Curragh Major Meetings

There is no shortage of major meetings at The Curragh which hosts all five of Ireland’s Classic races throughout the season with the Irish Derby Festival the jewel in the crown of its’ fixture list which also includes the Irish Guineas Meeting, the Irish Oaks Meeting and the second day of the recently formed Irish Champions Weekend which features the Irish St Leger as the cornerstone of what is a top-class fixture.

Curragh Track Characteristics

Undulating with a long home straight The Curragh is wide and galloping and with a number of track configurations with the Derby Course and Plate Course as well as the Straight Course. There is also an Inner Course although it is no longer used for racing.

Races over seven furlongs start from a chute that connects to the home straight; while the Plate and Derby Courses are both right-handed horseshoe courses and the straight has a gradual climb to the line from turning in.

The courses at The Curragh are in general very fair although there is a fair bit of turning involved racing on the Derby Course which features an almost constant turn from the start and leading into the straight.

Curragh Draw Bias

Front-runners often do well at The Curragh on the Derby Course and horses often find it difficult to make up significant ground from the rear. The Plate Course features a downhill run into the straight that can see fast finishers build up a head of steam.

The course in general is very fair across all the track’s configurations although a slight camber from the stands-side rail to the far side of the track means those drawn high under the stands-side rail have slightly better ground when it is wet. 

While it can be an advantage to be drawn on the stands-side rail especially in big fields, pace and track position can be a big leveller at The Curragh and can lessen the impact of the draw. Horses often tend to come stands-side anyway especially in bigger fields so those drawn away from the rail can get competitive if pace horses are around them.

The wide course and long straight at The Curragh effectively negates any perceived draw bias however

Curragh Leading Trainers

Over the past three seasons, Paddy Twomey has been the man to keep onside despite a modest number of runners with the handler winning with almost 30% of his representatives. 

Ken Condon meanwhile has a much lesser strike-rate but tops the profit chart, his runners returning a +36 points profit over the three years. Backing the big guns blindly however would see punters enduring significant losses; while Aidan O’Brien has had far and away the most winners and boasts a decent strike-rate of almost 20% his runners over the last three years would leave followers almost 150 points down.

Curragh Leading Jockeys

Of the top jockeys at The Curragh over the past three years few have returned a profit although Ryan Moore has struck on just over a quarter of his rides at the track over the period although followers would be around 20 points out of pocket backing all of Moore’s mounts. 

Colin Keane has ridden the most winners at the track over the past three seasons, winning the most prize money into the bargain. He’s also had the most rides at the track over the same period and while he’s operating at a loss of almost 50 points he’s not a jockey to be overlooked.

Billy Lee is the most profitable of the jockeys at the Curragh, especially in handicaps where he has an impressive profit return despite a relatively modest winning strike-rate; over the past three seasons backing Lee blindly with his mounts would yield a 90 points profit

Curragh Track History

Racing at The Curragh can be traced back to 1727 with the first recorded meeting taking place and the Irish Turf Club made the track their HQ when founded in the 1760s in Kildare. 

The first Irish Derby took place in 1866, won by Selim, although it was run over a longer distance than now before being reduced to its’ present yardage in 1872. The Curragh became an official horse racing venue and training facility in 1868 when granted such by an act of parliament by the Irish Government. 

Facilities at The Curragh underwent redevelopment in 2017, further enhancing the venue’s reputation as one of the finest racing and training centres in the world. At almost 5000 acres The Curragh site has been hugely influential in the world of horse racing with many locally trained horses going on to make their mark on the global stage. 

Curragh Racecourse Address

The address of the Curragh Racecourse is:

The Curragh Racecourse
County Kildare
R56 RR67

Curragh Racecourse Directions

The Curragh racecourse is located in County Kildare, on the edge of The Curragh plains. The course is approximately an hour outside of Dublin.

By Car: The Curragh is easily reached by car with the racecourse situated close the M7 Motorway, connecting both the M8 and M9 motorways to the track. There is free parking available although this can be upgraded for a fee.  Parking is signposted on approach roads.

By Train: Shuttle buses operate on racedays from Newbridge and Kildare Town stations, taking approximately 20 minutes.

By Air: Dublin Airport is around 50km away, driving to the track takes around an hour. The Curragh has a helipad which is available to book every raceday although booking is made in advance.

By Bus: Return buses to The Curragh from Dublin are available on racedays, operated by Expressway.