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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Curragh chief McGrath - not showing Alpha Centauri's Marois win was intended

Alpha Centauri streaks away from her rivals at Deauville but punters at the Curragh were left in the dark as the race was not shown on the big screen
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Curragh boss Derek McGrath has revealed the decision not to show Ireland’s top-rated Flat performer Alpha Centauri recording her fourth Group 1 success on the trot in last Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois was intentional.

The Curragh came in for heavy criticism from disgruntled patrons who missed Jessica Harrington's star storm home at Deauville, as McGrath took a decision not to show the race on the big screen for fear of upsetting the horses who were in the parade ring at the time.

The big screen at the Curragh currently overlooks the parade ring and pre parade ring but live pictures can upset horses in the enclosure, given the quality of the pictures on show, according to McGrath.

Alpha Centauri: now rated 124 after her commanding win in the Prix Jacques le Marois
Explaining the situation, and responding to the criticism, McGrath said: "We accept we'd like to be be showing as much racing as possible but there was a conscious decision not to show the Prix Jacques le Marois from France.

"The quality of the big screen in the parade ring is so good, we’ve found that when there are moving images on screen, it upsets the horses within the parade ring.

“The horses don’t like the moving images so we’ve found it to be much better to go with a blank screen when they’re in there. That’s why we shut it down when the horses are in the parade ring and we show the racing on all the other screens.

“It just happens that we don’t have many screens around the place outside but when we have the new development we will be in a much better position to show as much racing as people would like to see.”

Derek McGrath: Curragh chief executive
McGrath accepted that the situation could have been communicated better to avoid confusion on the day.

He said: “We had to make a call on this and that’s the decision we made on the day. Could we have communicated this better? Yes, I think we could have. Some people didn’t get the message and there was some comment on the day.”

A similar situation could arise this Saturday with Irish trainers Jarlath Fahey, Joseph O'Brien and Willie Mullins set to be represented in the Ebor at York just ten minutes after the St Leger Trial at the Curragh.

McGrath added: "If we’re concerned about horses being in the parade ring, we won’t be showing the race, but if we have that gap, we will. If the horses are on the way to the start there would be no problem but we’ll have to take each race on its merits.”

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The quality of the big screen in the parade ring is so good, we’ve found that when there are moving images on screen, it upsets the horses
E.W. Terms
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