THE turf flat season is only a week away and the Curragh has gone all out to ensure next Saturday’s opening meeting of the year is well-attended.

Representatives from 33 GAA clubs from all over Kildare will be there, hoping to win a share of €10,000 in prize money being put up by the racecourse. All 33 clubs have been given the opportunity to sell their own raceday tickets to their members and supporters, with the funds going towards their club’s infrastructure, equipment, or jerseys.

In addition, each team will be allocated a horse running in the feature race of the day, the Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire. The €10,000 will be divided between the clubs whose runners finish in the first three places. This ‘family fun day’ will also see lots of free activities for kids and all are encouraged to wear their club colours.

Kildare GAA will have a special Skills Zone next to the grandstand which will provide fun for all racegoers but especially for youngsters who can try out their skills.

There are plans to include opportunities for various groups from the Newbridge and Kildare areas later in the season.

The Curragh supported a wide range of charitable and community events in 2022 with the objective of benefitting as many people as possible who live and work within the local and racing communities. These included several non-race day events, most notably the hosting of Relay for Life in July, which benefited the Irish Cancer Society. Last year’s relay attracted approximately 8,000 participants from the locality and raised close to €100,000 for the charity.

Also last year the Newbridge Parishes Race Day in May, the inaugural Pat Smullen Race Day in aid of Cancer Trials Ireland, and the IRFU Charitable Trust Race Day together raised almost €250,000 for their respective charities. The Curragh also hosted the Taste of Kildare Food Fair during the autumn which gave local producers and restaurants the opportunity to showcase their offerings and generated considerable local community engagement and a very positive response.

Curragh CEO Brian Kavanagh said: “There is nothing healthier and better for wellbeing than being involved in sports and we intend to further embrace that here at the Curragh Racecourse. The county is well known for its strong Gaelic games grassroots structures and for being the home of horse racing. We felt that this fundraiser was a great marriage of two brilliant sporting traditions. We are delighted to be able to help so many community groups and we look forward to giving everyone a warm welcome on Saturday week and throughout the 2023 season.”