Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is the Irish response to the popular Derby Stakes run in England. It is open to three-year-old colts and fillies, who compete for a purse of €1.5 million over a distance of one mile and four furlongs. The race is held at Curragh Racecourse, more commonly known as 'the Curragh', in late June or early July, three weeks after the running of the Derby Stakes.

The Irish Derby we know today was introduced in 1866, although the current distance of one mile and four furlongs was established in 1872; the original distance was set at one mile and six furlongs. However, the Irish Derby was the third attempt at establishing a national derby event at the Curragh. The first version, the O'Darby Stakes, was run from 1817 to 1824 and was followed by the brief introduction of the Curragh Derby in 1848.

For almost 100 years the Irish Derby was very much a local event, although it occasionally featured English contestants. It was only in 1962 that the Irish Derby turned into an internationally followed and contested event. The man to thank for the evolution of the Irish Derby to an international meeting is one Joe McGrath. This racing personality, who founded the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake, decided it would be a good idea to combine the Irish Derby with the sweepstake; turning it into the Irish Sweeps Derby. The new version of the race was a lot more valuable than the previous events and quickly attained immense popularity, raising the profile of Irish racing greatly.

One absolute legend of the Irish Derby is trainer Aidan O'Brien. This prolific trainer, who has dominated the race over the last decade, has to date trained eight winners in the event; including five consecutive winners from 2006 to 2010.

The Irish Derby is currently sponsored by Dubai Duty Free.

Recent Winners of the Irish Derby:

Year Winner Jockey Trainer Time


Cape Blanco

Johnny Murtagh

Aidan O'Brien



Fame And Glory

Johnny Murtagh

Aidan O'Brien



Frozen Fire

Seamus Heffernan

Aidan O'Brien



Soldier Of Fortune

Seamus Heffernan

Aidan O'Brien



Dylan Thomas

Kieren Fallon

Aidan O'Brien



Hurricane Run

Kieren Fallon

Andre Fabre

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