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Irish Triple Crown Races

There are few more events in sports that are more exhilarating than that of the Triple Crown in horse racing. The Irish Triple Crown was heavily inspired by the English Triple Crown.

While the races that make up the Irish Triple crown started at various times, it wasn’t until 1921 that all three races were a part of the season, and the Irish Triple Crown was born.

The Irish Triple Crown is comprised of the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Irish Derby and the Irish St. Leger.

Unlike Triple Crown races in most countries, the Irish Triple Crown races all take place at the same track – Curragh Racecourse. Located in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, Curragh is home to all five Irish Classics, and the course dates all the way back to 1727.

Only two horses have won the Irish Triple Crown – Museum in 1935 and Windsor Slipper in 1942.

The Irish 2,000 Guineas

Overview of the Irish 2,000 Guineas
First Run
1921
Race Type
Group 1, Flat/Thoroughbred
Venue
Curragh Racecourse – Newbridge, Country Kildare, Ireland
Surface
Turf
Distance
1 mile
Entry Requirements
Three-year-olds
Sponsor
Tattersalls
Purse
300,000 Euros

History of the Irish 2,000 Guineas

The 2,000 Irish Guineas was first run in 1921 and is the Irish equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas run in England. Taking place after it’s English counterpart, the Irish Guineas usually includes horses that raced in the English version, with 9 such horses capturing victory in both.

The leading horses in the 2,000 Irish Guineas often go on to race in the following month’s St. James Palace Stakes. The Irish 1,000 Guineas is also run during the same week of the 2,000 Guineas and is restricted to fillies only. The race takes place every year in May.

Irish 2,000 Guineas Records

  • Leading Jockey: Tommy Burns, Sr. – 5 wins (1921, 1923, 1939, 1947, 1948)
  • Leading Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – 11 wins (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Leading Owner: Sue Magnier – 10 wins (1999, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017)

The Irish Derby

Overview of the Irish Derby
First Run
1866 (modern rendition)
Race Type
Group 1, Flat/Thoroughbred
Venue
Curragh Racecourse – Newbridge, Country Kildare, Ireland
Surface
Turf
Distance
1.5 miles
Entry Requirements
Three-year-olds
Sponsor
Dubai Duty Free
Purse
1,500,000 Euros

History of the Irish Derby

The earliest version of the Irish Derby was called the O’Darby Stakes, and was run in 1817 until it was discontinued after the 1824 race. Another rendition known as the Curragh Derby was started in 1848, but again, was short-lived.

The Irish Derby as it is known today was created by the 3rd Earl of Howth, the 3rd Marquess of Drogheda and the 3rd Earl of Charlemont in 1866. The Derby became a major international race in 1962 when the prize money saw a substantial increase.

Joe McGrath, a founder of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes, combined the race with the sweepstakes, creating what was known as the Irish Sweeps Derby.

The Irish Derby was sponsored by Budweiser from 1986-2007, and it’s current sponsor, Dubai Duty Free, took over sponsorship duties in 2008. The Irish Derby currently takes place on the second day of the three-day Irish Derby Festival in either late June or early July.

Irish Derby Records

  • Leading Jockey: Morny Wing – 6 wins (1921, 1923, 1930, 1938, 1942, 1946)
  • Leading Trainer: Aidan O’Brien – 12 wins (1997, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2017)
  • Leading Owner: Michael Tabor – 13 wins (1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2017)

The Irish St. Leger

Overview of the Irish St. Leger
First Run
1915
Race Type
Group 1, Flat/Thoroughbred
Venue
Curragh Racecourse – Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland
Surface
Turf
Distance
1.75 miles
Entry Requirements
Three-years-old and up
Sponsor
Comer Group
Purse
500,000 Euros

History of the Irish St. Leger

The Irish St. Leger began in 1915 and was originally restricted to only three-year-old horses. The first horse to ever complete the St. Leger Double, winning both the English and the Irish St. Leger, was Royal Lancer in 1922.

The St. Leger doesn’t restrict a horse’s age beyond three-years-old, so there have been repeat winners of the Irish St. Leger unlike in the other two races.

The race has been sponsored by the Comer Group since 2014 and takes place on the second day of the Irish Champions Weekend in September.

Irish St. Leger Records

  • Most Successful Horse: Vinne Roe – 4 wins (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
  • Leading Jockey: Morny Wing – 7 wins (1920, 1923, 1930, 1938, 1942, 1945, 1947)
  • Leading Trainer: Vincent O’Brien – 9 wins (1959, 1966, 1969, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1988)
  • Leading Owner: Seamus Sheridan – 4 wins (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) Susan Magnier – 4 wins (2007, 2008, 2015, 2017)

Curragh Racecourse

The Curragh Racecourse, or The Curragh as it is commonly referred to, is Ireland’s most important and prestigious racecourse. The name “Curragh” comes from the Gaelic word “Cuirreach,” which translates to “the place of the running horse.”

The first race on record at Curragh was in 1727. The Irish Derby was first held here in 1866, and in 1868, the course was officially declared a horse racing and training facility by an act of Parliament.

The Curragh is home to all five of the Irish Classics and offers the highest purses and quality level of horse racing in Ireland.

Place in History

In horse racing, there are three major Triple Crown renditions; the U.S. version, the U.K. version, and the Irish version. History has shown that the Irish Triple Crown has been the toughest feat of the three to conquer.

The Triple Crown in the U.S. has been achieved 12 times. Horses in the U.K. have accomplished the trifecta 15 times. The Irish Triple Crown, however, has only been reached by two horses, making it by far the hardest of the three to be reached.

So when it comes to betting, if the stats teach us anything, it’s that betting against any horse in contention of achieving the trifecta is one of the safest bets out there.

For more on the best places to place those Irish Triple Crown wagers check out our Best UK Horse Racing Betting Sites page.

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