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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Curragh ready to roll with seasonal curtain-raiser

Harzand: completed the English and Irish Derby double at the track last year
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Derek McGrath, chief executive of the Curragh, says it is a case of all systems go for the track's first meeting of the season on Saturday, when the feature contest is the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes.

With an extensive redevelopment of facilities under way, the Curragh season has been shortened this year to cater for the ongoing building work being carried out.

Consequently, an attendance limit of 6,000 has been set for all meetings, including Irish Guineas weekend later this month, Irish Derby weekend next month and the Curragh's leg of Irish Champions Weekend in September.

Wicklow Brave: dual-purpose gelding won the Irish St Leger last season

McGrath said on Wednesday: "How many people we'll have on Saturday and Sunday is difficult to predict. We'd usually get between 3,000 and 4,000 for this kind of fixture, and I'd expect that sort of attendance at the weekend.

"It's our first meeting since the redevelopment work started and there's bound to be an element of curiosity and people coming to have a look. We're all set to go. The weather has been very kind to us and we're putting the finishing touches to preparations."

While O'Brien's Champagne and Wine Bar will be the only remaining facility for racegoers during the redevelopment, marquees are due to cater for customers on a temporary basis.

Moyglare Stud has extended its association with the Curragh by agreeing to sponsor canteen facilities for stable staff on racedays.

All stable staff involved on a raceday will be able to enjoy a complimentary meal in the canteen on any day they have runners.

Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner of Moyglare Stud said: "I'm very pleased to support stable staff, without whose often long hours and dedication racing simply wouldn't happen."

It's our first meeting since the redevelopment work started and there's bound to be an element of curiousity and people coming to have a look
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