The ninth Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby which was staged at The Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare, Ireland was a triumphant success. The world’s leading airport retailer sponsored six of the eight races on the card including the flagship race, The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby which was won by the Dermot Weld trained, Harzand. The horse, which is owned by His Highness the Aga Khan and ridden by Pat Smullen, battled hard against a determined Idaho. Harzand outgunned the fast finishing Ryan Moore ridden Aidan O’Brien challenger in front of a packed house of nearly 18,500..
The drama at the finish line was even more special given that Dermot Weld’s stables are only a stone’s throw from the Curragh Racecourse. Harzand has now joined an elite band of horses to have completed the English/Irish double. A delighted Dermot Weld said “it was a much better race then it was at Epsom. He had to improve and he did. I knew my horse had improved physically but it was great to see two fine jockeys Pat Smullen and Ryan Moore fighting all the way to the finish line. He had been on antibiotics last week but I knew he was in good form as his coat had begun to shine”. Commenting on Pat Smullen’s performance Dermot Weld added “he is an outstanding rider, at the peak of his career and has won great races all over the world”.
Smullen was completing an Irish Derby double for the Curragh trainer having won Ireland’s premier classic race on Gray Swallow in 2004.
Congratulating His Highness Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free said “This is a unique occasion and we are happy to see the brand of Dubai Duty Free being associated with this iconic race, we are really looking forward to seeing the completely redeveloped Curragh Racecourse in a couple of years”.
His Highness acknowledged the great work and effort put in by all of his team and congratulated them for their dedication saying, “you can never back away from this activity, you have to work 24 hours a day 365 days a year. There is a wonderful circle of involvement within our operation. This is a whole team and we are immensely grateful for the great work put in particularly by Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen”
Colm McLoughlin, the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free presented the winning connections with a brand new, specially commissioned trophy created by Kilkenny artist Ani Mollineau in front of a packed grandstand while a spectacular air display took place in the skies above.
Earlier on in the day Colm McLoughlin and his team at Dubai Duty Free hosted almost 400 guests in their VIP private pavilion, situated just beside the winning post. The day commenced with a drinks reception followed by a sumptuous lunch and full hospitality and entertainment, including a magician, two caricature artist, a pamper zone for ladies, two jazz bands and a string quartet.
Famous faces in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby VIP Pavilion included, Oscar nominated, film maker, Jim Sheridan, media personalities, Anne Doyle and fashionista and model agency boss, Celia Holman Lee and retired champion jockey, Lester Piggott, Leinster rugby players Luke McGrath and James Tracy, equestrian Olympic hopeful Greg Broderick.
Eva Hayes Morrissey won the title of the Dubai Duty Free Most Stylish Lady. Eva, who is from Castletroy in Limerick was wearing a beautiful dress by Phoenix V. Her hat was a Carol Kennelly beauty and she paired it with a Carvel clutch bag. Eva was chosen as the overall winner by a judging panel led by Breeda McLoughlin, wife of Colm McLoughlin, singer and media personality Rachel Stevens, IMAGE Magazine’s Editor in Chief Melanie Morris, James Amos from Boodles and fashion editor of the Irish Independent, Bairbre Power, Bairbre was also the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Lifestyle Ambassador for the full weekend of the festival,
Eva won the top prize of a holiday of a lifetime to Dubai for two courtesy of Dubai Duty Free comprising five glorious nights in Dubai Duty Free’s own, 5 star hotel, The Jumeirah Creekside, return flights and a whopping €1,000 to spend at the multi award-winning Dubai Duty Free. The prize also included a spectacular statement piece of jewellery from Boodles and a luxurious overnight stay at The Marker Hotel in Dublin.
The full festival included several ancillary events which ran on and off the track including the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Golf Classic which was held on Thursday the 23rd of June at the Palmer Ryder Cup course at The K Club and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Ball, also held at The K Club on the eve of the derby which was in aid of The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.
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