It should be one of the biggest weekends in the Irish Racing Calendar and a chance to show off our talent on the global stage.
The latter will happen but it will be in front of empty grandstands at Leopardstown and The Curragh Racecourses this Saturday and Sunday.
Horse racing Ireland have been imaginative throughout the period of restrictions encouraging people to get involved from home and RTÉ also upped their level of coverage with special programmes. The viewership has been strong and this weekend is another chance to get people engaged with live coverage on both days.
Putting it on and promoting it are two sides of the coin though and throughout prime time programming this week the broadcaster has been playing out this promo featuring the Riptide Movement, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and 70-year-old Ted Walsh adding another string to his bow.
It all works out…
The quality of the action on the track will not be diminished with Ghaiyyath, currently the highest-rated horse in the world after winning the Juddmonte International, the Coral-Eclipse and the Coronation Cup, taking his place in the Irish Champion Stakes.
“Declarations for Day 1 of Longines Irish Champions Weekend confirm that the quality of runner associated with this prestigious weekend will be of the same exceptional standard as previous years,” said Leopardstown CEO Tim Husbands.
“We are delighted to welcome our International entries but also our native runners where the depth of talent is unrivalled. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all owners, trainers, jockeys and sponsors for their valued participation and contribution to Longines Irish Champions Weekend.”
Aside from Longines the racing over the weekend is backed by Paddy Power, KPMG, Comer Group, Coolmore, Ballylinch Derrinstown and Moyglare Stud and Goffs.
Horse Racing Ireland will also broadcast a full programme of interviews and support material on Facebook and other social channels with hosts Jarlath Regan from The Irishman Abroad and Daragh O’Cronchuir taking the reins.