Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beautiful Curragh

Driving from Kildangan Stud into County Kildare, there comes a point where the tall brush bordering the side roads recedes, offering a spectacular view of the Irish countryside. Nestled within the beautiful scenery is the Curragh Racecourse, the premier Thoroughbred track of Ireland.

Well accustomed to neat oval tracks in bustling cities, I was not prepared for my first glimpse of the Curragh. Spreading farther than the eye can see, the Curragh consists of numerous racing paths and training surfaces, from turf to synthetic and woodchip. In the distance, herds of sheep can be seen grazing lush Emerald pastures.

The Darley Flying Start students have now been fortunate enough to visit the Curragh on three occasions: once to watch training and twice for racing. Most recently, we were treated to a great card of racing on August 29, featuring the Group I Moyglare Stud Stakes. Misty For Me, a Coolmore-owned daughter of Galileo, won the feature race with favourites Memory and Laughing Lashes in her wake. Misty For Me put herself amongst the leaders for next year’s classics with the win.

On the undercard, another daughter of Galileo caught our attention. Lush Lashes, a Jim Bolger-trained three time group I winner, was making her first start in more than a year in the Dance Design Stakes. Unfortunately she could only manage fourth behind the Danehill Dancer filly Obama Rule. With that winner in mind I suggested that my American friends back Barack in the sixth race. The American president angle proved empty, with Barack finishing up the field. We were also pleased to see Astrophysical Jet, a daughter of Darley stallion Dubawi, win the Group 3 Goffs Flying Five Stakes.

Here are some photos from my visits to the Curragh:

The Flying Starters take in morning training at the Curragh

Beautiful paddock area

View from the stands

A large set heads to the gallops

Another training shot

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