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Irish Classics: Assessing Ireland’s five biggest flat races

Ireland’s rich horse racing heritage is epitomised by its Classic flat races. All held at the Curragh, these races attract the finest thoroughbreds, trainers, and jockeys from around the world. As fans eagerly track these events through livescore horse betting platforms, these prestigious races continue to captivate the imagination. Here, we assess Ireland’s five biggest flat races and their significance in the world of horse racing.

  1. The Irish 2,000 Guineas

The Irish 2,000 Guineas, held at the Curragh Racecourse in late May, is a highlight of the Irish flat racing calendar. This Group 1 race is open to three-year-old colts and serves as a key test of early season form.

Often featuring horses that have competed in the English 2,000 Guineas, this mile-long race is renowned for its competitive field and thrilling finishes.

Notable winners include legendary horses such as Nijinsky and Kingman, whose victories have cemented the race’s reputation for showcasing future champions.

  1. The Irish 1,000 Guineas

Taking place the day after the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Irish 1,000 Guineas is a premier race for three-year-old fillies. This Group 1 race covers a mile and frequently attracts the top fillies from across Europe.

The Irish 1,000 Guineas is not only a test of speed but also a stepping stone to other major races, such as the Irish Oaks. Winners like Minding and Hermosa have gone on to achieve further success, underscoring the race’s importance as a proving ground for elite fillies.

  1. The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is arguably the most prestigious race in the Irish flat racing calendar. Run over a mile and a half in late June, this Group 1 race is open to three-year-old colts and fillies. The Irish Derby often features contenders from the Epsom Derby, adding an extra layer of excitement and competition.

With its rich history and substantial prize fund, the race has seen legendary winners like Sea the Stars and Galileo, whose triumphs have solidified their status as icons of the sport.

  1. The Irish Oaks

Held in mid-July, the Irish Oaks is the premier race for three-year-old fillies at the Curragh. This Group 1 race, run over a mile and a half, is the Irish equivalent of the Epsom Oaks. The Irish Oaks is a key event for assessing the leading fillies of the season, often featuring winners from the English classic races.

Famous victors include Snow Fairy and Enable, whose successes in this race have marked them as exceptional talents and significant contributors to the prestige of the Irish Oaks.

  1. The Irish St. Leger

The Irish St. Leger, held at the Curragh in September, is the final leg of the Irish Triple Crown. Open to horses aged three and older, this Group 1 race covers a distance of one mile, six furlongs, and 120 yards.

The race’s open age policy attracts a diverse and high-quality field, making it a thrilling conclusion to the Irish flat racing season. Legendary stayers like Vinnie Roe and Order of St George have claimed victory in the Irish St. Leger, highlighting the race’s role in showcasing endurance and versatility.


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