Curragh back in business for seasonal opener

Track stages eight-race card for curtain-raising fixture

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Racing takes place at the Curragh for the first time this season with an eight-race card on Friday.

While the full redevelopment of the home of Irish Flat racing’s development continues, those attending will notice significant changes since 2017.

The main enclosure is nearing completion and the new parade ring, saddling boxes and entrance building are all ready for use at this two-day fixture which kicks off the Curragh’s season.

Marquee structures will be in place for race days this season, with the construction of the new grandstand on schedule to be fully completed by the end of the year.

The opening day features five maidens, two handicaps and 25,000 euro conditions event, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race.

This one-mile contest has attracted nine runners and Aidan O’Brien saddles recent Dundalk winners Bond Street and Full Moon.

Taking them on are three once-raced maiden winners, with Ger Lyons saddling Naas winner Bobby Boy, Dermot Weld running Leopardstown scorer Khalaab and Fozzy Stack sending impressive Limerick victor Hand On Heart.

O’Brien also has two runners in the opening fillies’ maiden, with Fantasy of particular interest as a half-sister to the triple Group One winner Halfway To Heaven.

Only two of the eight participants in the juvenile colts’ maiden have run before, with Ballydoyle representative Empire State setting a decent standard after finishing third on his Dundalk debut.

There is good prize-money up for grabs in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden.

Again there is not a lot of form to go on, with 10 of the 13 runners making their competitive debuts.

Kevin Prendergast’s Hawaam has had a few chances, but might be good enough to win the six-furlong maiden for older horses, after placing on three of his five starts to date.

Curragh back in business for seasonal opener
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