The Dubai Duty Free Derby will now run on Saturday evening, June 30, with an off time of 7.40pm. The Curragh management have moved the entire Sunday card to Saturday evening with the first race off at 3.40pm. One of the benefits of the move is that the last three days of the day including the Derby will be shown on live on RTE.
While the track organisers were anxious to facilitate RTE they were also keen to avoid going head to head with a major GAA fixture. There is also the added complication this year of a possible clash with the Euro Championships. That said the Curragh have always gone out of their way at the big meetings to facilitate sports fans with big screens feature live action from other events and sports always a feature at the track.
Track manager Paul Hensey also pointed to the track’s market research which confirmed that the public much prefer the Saturday evening option as most won’t have work next morning.
Family value and entertainment will be a big feature of Derby Saturday at the Curragh this year while the popular Food Villlage will be a feature throughout the three days of the Derby Festival. Despite the difficult economic times it is heartening to hear that corporate hospitality for the Derby Festival is 99% sold.
Full marks also have to go to the track management who have moved to make attendance at the races easier for the public with ticket prices down to €30 per adult if purchased a week on advance or €40 at the turnstiles.
To get you into mood for the Derby festival the final race meeting at the Curragh pre the Derby Festival takes place this Sunday and it will have a distinct Chinese feel to it as the track looks to cement links with the Chinese racing community.