Irish Derby History

Following several Irish successes in the Epsom Derby in the later 1800s influential Irish horse racing owners deemed it prudent to create their own version of the race and it was not long before that idea was realised.

The first Irish Derby was run in 1866 at The Curragh racecourse, which by that time had become central to the proliferation of horse racing in the country. The race was won by a horse called Selim.

The 144th running of the race will take place this year (2009) and in that time the race has become one of the main Group One attractions for thoroughbred three year olds. It attracts top quality horses from Ireland, England and France and has a host of seriously important names attached to its Roll of Honour; see Irish Derby Past Winners.

Since 1993 the Irish have dominated the race, with Ballydoyle trainer, Aiden O’Brien winning six times since 1997. Amongst the great names who have won the race have been Nijinsky, Grundy, The Minstrel, Troy, Shergar, Generous, Galileo, High Chaparral and Hurricane Run. All these can rightly be called Irish Derby Legends