It’s an event that stirs up drama and thrills for racegoers on the west side of the Irish Sea and it’s one that is starting to get more attention right across the world. The Irish Derby is held after its Epsom counterpart and at times, it can fall under the radar. The race originally started way back in 1866 and we’ve seen some historic names take the tape over the years.
Irish Derby betting is active throughout the year but naturally it starts to build momentum in the weeks leading up to the off. Many bettors love to get behind each renewal and if you’d like to join them researching the best bets, here is our guide to the event.
Date: June of each year
The event is held some three weeks after the Epsom version and one of the key trends is to look at the winner of the first race. A number of horses have completed the English / Irish double and many experienced punters will take this into account when considering the betting markets to find the best bets.
The first runner to achieve this feat was Orby back in 1907 while the most recent, at the time of writing, was Harzand in 2016. Harzand became the eighteenth runner in total to complete the ‘double’ so this can be your starting point in terms of research.
In terms of the track, The Curragh is generally regarded as a less-taxing course than its British counterpart. The track host has a total circuit of two miles, there are no sharp bends and it isn’t as undulating as the English equivalent. We tend to be looking for the best gallopers in the markets and, of course, a record of previous success would also be a strong indicator at this time.
Those betting markets will open some way in advance so there is the potential to earn some long-term ante post value. However, as with all races, punters should be careful as the field and the odds can change dramatically in the weeks and months leading up to the off.
The very first winner was Selim as the event first came to life in 1866. Because this is specifically for three year olds no horse will ever win the event twice but the list of previous champions reads like a Hall of Fame for modern day racing.
If we fast forward to the post-Second World War years, we find some great names including Shergar, The Minstrel and Nijinksky. Many of those winning horses were favourites and duly went on to include this historic event on their illustrious CVs.
In terms of winning trainers, jockeys and owners, we do have some multiple Champions and there are some notable records.
The record amongst jockeys is six Irish Derby wins and this mark is held by the curiously-named Mornington Wing. His first success came in 1921 on Ballyheron and he completed the run 25 years later with 1946’s champion Bright News.
In terms of leading trainers, we move into more modern times with the great Aidan O’Brien landing 13 winners to date between 1997 and 2019. Aidan O’Brien’s success has also helped Michael Tabor to become the leading owner with 14 wins so be sure to look out for those two in the markets.
As we mentioned at the very top of this article, the first event was held back in 1866 and at that stage, the distance was set at One Mile, Six Furlongs and Three Yards. It was created by three Irish Earls and was incepted to replace an earlier event known as the O’Darby Stakes.
As we saw in the previous section, the very first winner was Selim and the colt’s success was the first in a long line of notable champions. The event has always been intended for three year old colts but in 1869, three years after its inception, the Derby made a significant alteration as it extended the race by nine yards. This may not seem like a lot but clearly it wasn’t a welcome change as the event was cut in 1872 to its present distance of One Mile and Four Furlongs.
Unlike some other classic races, this has always been held at one venue. When the organisers increased prize money in 1962, it became a major international happening. Suddenly, some top runners from all around the world began to get involved as the Derby’s notoriety increased.
That change led to the crowning of some great horses, jockeys and trainers among the brief list of names that we have already mentioned. The future is assured and the Irish Derby will remain an important event on the racing calendar.
In order to enjoy sports betting, be sure to do plenty of research into finding the right odds. Racegoers don’t always appreciate the comparison with the Epsom Derby but you can certainly look at the winner of the English event and ask about its chances of success in Ireland.
Beyond that, you should choose your bookmaker wisely. Be sure that they have a Best Odds Guarantee system in place for all UK and Irish horse racing and check to see whether they have any betting offers such as an extension to their Each Way places.
Finally, keep checking back as we will look to bring you news, updates and previews on this classic.