Naas manager champions track's cause to stage big cards
Naas manager Tom Ryan believes the racecourse would be more than capable of staging a "Curragh-type programme" of racing should the occasion arise.
On Monday leading trainers Jim Bolger and Ger Lyons criticised the decision not to transfer the Irish Derby from the Curragh this year because the attendance at the meeting, and at the track's Irish Champions weekend fixture in September, is being limited to 6,000 because of redevelopment work at the racecourse.
Both trainers named Naas as one of the possible alternative venues, but Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, defended the decision to keep the race at the Curragh.
Ryan said: "We were very pleased to read that some top trainers put Naas in the top bracket and I believe we would be more than capable of running a Curragh-type programme.
"Our sprint track for five and six furlong races has received much favourable comment over the past couple of years because of the improvements we've made. We have the capacity for plenty of runners and we've also made improvements to other parts of the track. I'd say our one-mile track is the second best in the country after the Curragh."
He continued: "We have the facility to stage races from five furlongs all the way up to a mile and a half and, in terms of attendances, we had just short of 6,000 at our Grade 1 jumps meeting last month, and had room for more.
"We have the appetite for staging a really big Flat meeting should the occasion arise, if not this year then next."
Because of the redevelopment work at the Curragh, the Irish Flat season will start and finish at Naas this year.