NEXT weekend sees one of the leading international racing festivals taking place at two of Ireland’s premier racecourses, Leopardstown and the Curragh.
Now in its tenth year, the Longines Irish Champions Weekend features prize money of €3.9 million, with six Group 1 races and the final classic of the Irish flat season among the highlights. There is no doubt that the weekend will be hugely popular with racegoers, and here are a few happenings that the upcoming weekend has in store.
Day one at Leopardstown features an eight-race card, including five group races and one listed race. The two Group 1 races on the card are the prestigious Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes, both of which are consistently among the leading races in the world.
There will be a host of other activities on the day, including the Goffs Champions Sale in the parade ring before racing, Paddy Power’s From the Horse Mouth preview of the day’s racing, and live music throughout the day and after racing.
Rising star Lyra has been announced as the headline act for the opening day of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend, and she will be performing on the Bulmers Secret Orchard Stage. Lyra is a singer and songwriter from Cork whose voice and on-stage presence is attracting a global audience.
Paul Dermody, CEO of HRI Racecourses, said: “It’s a real treat to have such a talented artist as Lyra to perform at Leopardstown on day one of this great weekend, Saturday, September 10th. Lyra will play immediately after racing and her unique performance will be a fantastic addition to our racing and entertainment schedule at Leopardstown, on what promises to be a premier sporting and social weekend.”
Day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend moves to the historic headquarters of racing at the Curragh. Entertainment on the day will feature YouTube sensation Allie Sherlock, the Newbridge Gospel Choir and the Artane Band.
What is billed as a family fun day will include entertainment in the Moyglare Stud Kids Zone, with a variety of exciting free entertainment for younger racegoers throughout the afternoon. Activities include face painters, a junior jockey club, Wooly’s mobile petting farm, a magician, puppet show, funfair carousel and lots more.
The redeveloped Curragh rivals the best sporting destinations in the world. A parade of champions, in association with Treo Eile, will take place on the day alongside an eight-race card featuring the Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes and the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes.
To celebrate the best of Irish fashion talent, Longines Irish Champions weekend will host the young designer award for a second time. Young designers are busy getting ready to showcase their work, and they were encouraged to submit work that portrays contemporary race day elegance for someone, male or female, attending the weekend.
Three finalists have already been shortlisted by a panel of expert judges, headed by stylist Courtney Smith, and by representatives from Longines and evoke.ie. They will showcase their designs at the Curragh and the winner will receive a prize valued at €10,000.
All members of the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) wish Leopardstown and the Curragh racecourses the very best of luck next weekend.
For more on all the happenings and to purchase tickets visit www.irishchampionsweekend.ie.