Independent Guide to the World's Richest Thoroughbred Horse Races
Location: The Curragh, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Total Prize: €1,500,000 (approx. US$2,000,000)
Official Website: www.curragh.ie
First run: 1866 (modern version)
Qualification: 3yr old colts and fillies 9 stone less 3lbs for fillies (57.15kgs less 1.36kgs)
Distance: 1 mile 4 furlongs (2414 metres approx)
Race Record: 2:27.10 Galileo 2001
Track: Turf, right handed.
Track Bias: This pear shaped course has no particular bias as the long final straight gives every runner plenty of room and a chance to run down the leaders. Hard to lead and win as most winners come from on pace having stalked the leaders in 3rd or 4th place.
History: There were races in Ireland dating back 1817 referred to as the Derby, originally known as the O’Darby Stakes. The modern version started in 1866 and was run over 1 mile 6 furlongs but shortened to the present distance in 1872. The first horse to win the Epsom Derby/Irish Derby Double was Orby in 1907. The race became more popular with foreign horses as the prize money increased and in the 1960’s began to be targeted by winners of the English classics, many well-known horses have achieved the double including Nijinsky, Galileo and High Chaparal. The most famous Irish horse to win was Shirgar who succeeded in The Epsom Derby, The Irish Derby, The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, The Sandown Classic and The Chester Vase, all in 1981. He retired to stud after an injury for one year before being kidnapped and held for ransom. No ransom was paid and Shergar was never heard of again. As a Stallion he was valued at £10million, the crime remains unsolved.
Past Winners: Ballymoss 1957 (also St. Leger stakes), The Minstrel 1977 (Epsom Derby, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes), High Chaparal (Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes & Breeders Cup Turf 2002 &2003).
Lead Up Form: Best form is a win or close placing in the Epsom Derby.
Related Races: Can be a good pointer for the Irish Champion Stakes, The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, Prix du Jockey Club & Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe.
Statistics & Trends: The leading owner is Michael Tabor with 9 wins to his credit and the leading trainer is Aidan O’Brien who has 8 wins (7 of those for Michael Tabor). Only 10 females have won the race since it started and none in the last 16 years.
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