Curragh set for start of season at weekend as refurbishment passes halfway mark
Considerable progress has been made at the Curragh since last year, when facilities at the racecourse resembled a building site, officials reported on Tuesday as they showed the media around the track in advance of the start of its season this week.
The decision to continue racing there during a curtailed summer season in 2017 and 2018 has attracted criticism, particularly in relation to crowd capacity, which was down to 6,000 last year. The same cap is not in place this season.
The track is more than halfway through a €72 million refurbishment and set to begin its 2018 season with a two-day meeting this Friday and Saturday.
A new parade ring has been positioned behind the main stands, which will be completed in advance of the 2019 season, and will be in use from this weekend, along with 24 new saddling stalls adjacent to the parade ring.
A new block of 35 stables has been built, which will bring the total number of stables available at the track to 135.
“I’m sure racegoers will see and appreciate the strides we have made since last year.
“There's a lot of work still to be done, and the second stage of the reconstruction work will be completed in December.”
The Queen's Room, which dates back to Queen Victoria’s visit to the Curragh in 1861, has been fully restored and relocated as a stand-alone feature, close to the parade ring. The room will be used to entertain winning connections this year.
The weighing room and stewards' room will remain where they were situated last year, before being moved to their new permanent homes for the 2019 season.
The Curragh will stage 18 fixtures this year, including all five Irish Classics, and will finish its season on September 16, the second day of Irish Champions Weekend.