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Dubai Duty Free to continue as Irish Derby title sponsor

(Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Ireland’s Curragh Racecourse has extended airport retailer Dubai Duty Free’s title sponsorship of its flagship horse racing event, The Irish Derby.

The renewal means the company will continue to hold the naming rights to the entire Irish Derby race meeting and the Irish Derby classic for the next two years, extending an association which dates back to 2008.

The assets included in the deal will now extend to the creation of the Dubai Duty Free Village, an entertainment and food and beverage zone within the new Curragh Gardens area of the racecourse.

The brand will continue to sponsor the ‘Most Stylish Racegoer’ competition, with the winner rewarded with a holiday to Dubai.

The Irish Derby free entry initiative, which encourages owners to run their horses in the Curragh Classic race, will also be extended. Its support of stable staff through trophies and prizes awarded to those involved in grooming the horses has also been renewed.

Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman and chief executive of Dubai Duty Free, explained how the association with The Irish Derby aligns with the company’s strategy.

He said: “The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is a major race on the world stage attracting widespread media coverage and is therefore in line with our global strategy of promoting Dubai and Dubai Duty Free.”

The 2020 Irish Derby weekend will take place between June 26 and June 28, with the Irish Derby Race taking place on the second day of the event.

The total prize money for the day of the race will increase from €2m ($2.2m) in 2019 to €2.25m in 2020.

The Curragh was widely-criticised over the staging of last year’s event, with its €81m redevelopment of the venue a particular target of this negativity. Its attendance figures were also lower than expected, with 12,000 attending on the day of the Irish Derby race.