The Curragh Defers Gallops Fees For Owners

Pat Keogh | Racing Post

The Curragh has announced that it will defer its gallop fees by a month in a bid to help racehorse owners during the challenging scenario of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Curragh Racecourse reopened last year following an €80 million redevelopment and over the last few years there has also been substantial upgrading to the facilities on the 2,000-acre training grounds which surround the track.

“We don't know what's going to happen and we're waiting for the next announcement from the government. It's a difficult time for everyone so we wanted to give owners time to decide what they are going to do with their horses,” said Pat Keogh, CEO of Curragh Racecourse.

Around 800 racehorses are trained on the Curragh. Their owners pay quarterly fees in order to take advantage of a wide range of turf and all-weather gallops and schooling facilities which are maintained on a daily basis by a team of 20 people.

“All our gallops are open and that's essential for horse welfare. They are all being well looked after and we are lucky that they are in great shape,” Keogh added.

Fees which under normal circumstances would have been due to be paid on April 8 have now been deferred to May 8.

“Obviously this is an important time of year for trainers and horses building up to what should now be the turf season. If owners decide to take them out of training at the end of the month it won't cost anything from a gallops point of view,” said Keogh. “The most important thing at the moment is the health of our nation and so many people are working in so many different ways to help each other through this. The trainers and owners are all doing their best and this is just something very small on our part to try to help.”

Willie McCreery, one of more than 50 licensed trainers on the Curragh, said, “This is a great gesture from the Curragh while we all wait to hear when racing will be able to start again.”

On Tuesday it was announced that the Guineas Festival in Britain would be postponed from the first weekend of May to a later date. Currently the Irish Guineas Festival is set to be staged at the Curragh on May 23 and 24.

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