HORSE Racing Ireland has announced that it will stage for the first time next year an Irish Champions weekend, an end-of-season festival of racing created in the mold of Britain’s Champions Day.
The event will take place over two days — Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 — at Ireland’s two flagship racecourses: Leopardstown, near Dublin, and the Curragh in County Kildare. It will host a minimum of 10 Group races, including five Group 1s, as well as a number of valuable handicaps.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive Officer of HRI, noted that the Irish Champions Weekend will be built on the same standards as its counterparts in Britain and France (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe [Fr-G1] weekend), and he said he sees the potential for the three events to combine marketing strategies to create a championship series.
“I suppose we’re taking a leaf out of the British book and the success of their Champions Day, but just as importantly, we’re creating a scope for a wonderful end of European season series between Ireland, France and Britain, where you can have 18 Group 1 races between those three meetings over all the major categories and distances,” Kavanagh said.
“It creates plenty of potential to develop this into a series of championships, Triple Crowns and things like that.”