Trainer Aidan O’Brien landed his 12th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby success on Saturday, July 1st at the Curragh as 6/1 shot Capri stormed to victory in a sensational finish to the 153rd running of Ireland’s most lucrative race.
A hotly contested race saw the Seamie Heffernan-ridden three-year-old finish just a neck ahead of John Gosden-trained Cracksman in second place, while Capri’s stablemate, Wings of Eagles finished in third after going out as 2/1 favourite.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby was once again worth a mouth-watering €1.5 million, and it was O’Brien who was once again the man to beat as he secured his first win in the race since 2014, although most punters were backing Wings of Eagles instead of Capri before the off.
It capped a brilliant day of racing at the Kildare racetrack as Dubai Duty Free celebrated their tenth year as the title sponsors of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, and the world’s largest airport retailer sponsored six of the eight races on Saturday’s card.
The winning connections of Mr. John Magnier, jockey, Seamie Heffernan and trainer Aidan O’Brien were presented with specially commissioned trophies by Colm Mcloughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, Ramesh Cidambi Chief Operating Officer and Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President of Marketing. They were joined on the podium by H.E Mohammed Saeed Al Shamsi UAE ambassador to Ireland and H.E Paul Kavanagh the Irish Ambassador to the UAE and Derek McGrath the CEO of the Curragh.
Colm Mcloughlin and his wife Breeda, hosted almost 400 people in their exclusive VIP pavilion inside the track at the Curragh. Chanelle McCoy, wife of champion jockey AP McCoy led the Best Dressed Lady Competition which was sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and she was ably assisted by Breeda McLoughlin, Bairbre Power of the Irish Independent, Melanie Morris of IMAGE Magazine and Susie Hopkins Burke of The K Club. Suzanne McGarry from Sligo was declared the winner and won a five star holiday to Dubai with flights and accommodation at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel and €1,000 worth of spending money from the airport retailer. She also won a luxurious break away at the Five AA Red Star, K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare.
Famous faces spotted in the pavilion included Anne Doyle, Gay Byrne, Kathleen Watkins, Oscar nominee Jim Sheridan, Alan Hughes, Annette Rocca, Jane Given and 2FM DJ, Keith Walsh.
Speaking at the press conference following the big race, Colm McLoughlin said, “I’m very happy that Dubai Duty Free is still involved at the Curragh. I think the temporary facilities are fantastic, the people are fantastic, the racing was fantastic and the weather… was almost fantastic! It was a great race that was tight right up until they went through the winning post and it just beat the rain.
“We are happy to continue our association with this magnificent racecourse and today once again proved why it is certainly up there with the very best tracks in the world. The standard of horses that were brought to this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby festival is a testament to how highly regarded the weekend is.
It was Aidan O’Brien’s third winner on the day as Capri followed up earlier wins for Asking in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Handicap, while US Navy Flag opened began the day’s proceedings on a promising note by landing victory in the opening race, the Dubai Duty Free Find a Surprise EBF Maiden, in impressive fashion.
Speaking after Capri’s win in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, Aidan O’Brien said, “I think we’re just so lucky to have this track in Ireland and at this time of the year the three-year-olds get sorted in Epsom to a point and when you want to get the real proper mile and a half horse there’s no track in the world that can do that like the Curragh.”
“There’s real pace on it, there’s nowhere to hide. Seamus rode Capri in Epsom and he was very happy with him and he was looking forward to coming here with him. It’s the ultimate test over a mile and a half for a three-year-old colt. Seamus gave him a lovely ride. He had a lovely position throughout and he timed his run perfect and he got the mile and a half really well.”
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby was the culmination of wonderful festival for the airport retailer who ran various ancillary activities throughout the weekend including a golf classic and black tie charity ball at The K Club and a best dressed window competition for businesses in the neighbouring towns of Newbridge and Kildare.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby festival continues on Sunday 2nd of July as an eight-race card gets underway at 1.45pm.
For further information press information, photography or to interview Colm McLoughlin Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free please contact: Aileen O’Brien, O’Brien PR. Tel + 353 (0) 45 407017 mobile 00353 (0) 86 8403624 email@example.com
About Dubai Duty Free
Founded on 20th December 1983, Dubai Duty Free recorded first-year sales of US$20 million and has grown into one of the biggest travel retail operator in the world with sales turnover of US$1.85 billion in 2016. Now employing over 5,900 people, the operation has consistently raised the benchmark for airport retailing and it continues to grow. Dubai Duty Free currently operates over 35,000 sqm of retail space at Dubai International Airport and 2,500 sqm at Al Maktoum International that will grow in line with the massive development plans of Dubai South, which ultimately cover some 80,000 sqm of retail.
To date, Dubai Duty Free has received more than 550 industry awards and in 2016 alone, the operation was presented with 28 awards including the DFNI Global Awards for Travel Retail Excellence for ‘Global Travel Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Airport Travel Retailer of the Year’ among others. A long-time supporter of major sporting events that help to promote Dubai as a leading destination.