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Lexington, Kentucky
IRELAND
8 Days, 7 Nights (including one en route)
JUNE 27 to JULY 4, 2006

6 nights at The Curragh
3 to 4 days racing at The Curragh and Naas
Training and Farm visits in Kildare and Tipperary

Day 1
Tue  June 27
Depart U.S., if not joining the trip from Ireland.
 
Day 2
Wed  June 28
Arrive in Dublin. You will be met at the airport and delivered to The Stand House, our hotel in County Kildare, just across from The Curragh Racecourse and about forty miles west of the city. We will also provide transport to the Stand House from locations in Central Dublin. These transfers will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes. The remainder of the day is free for adjustment and your own activities.

At 5PM we will meet for cocktails in the hotel to get collegial and oriented for our week. Following this, we'll head off to nearby Naas Racecourse for a casual evening of racing that will include a barbecue dinner. Naas is not a major racecourse but it's a pretty one, and it's not unusual for well-bred youngsters from the big stables to show up on the card here.

THE STAND HOUSE: There has been lodging on this site since the 1780s, to accommodate racing fans gathering for the big events across the road at Ireland's most important racecourse. Before the course's grandstand was built, the racing could actually be watched from the hotel itself. The present buildings house a modern and very comfortable hotel with bars, restaurants, and a leisure center with a pool. Visit www.standhousehotel.com for more information on the property. A full Irish breakfast is included each morning of our stay.

 
Day 3
Thu  June 29
This morning we'll begin with a visit to the nearby yard of one of Ireland's leading trainers. We'll then accompany a "lot" over to the gallops and see them work. Following this, we'll rendezvous with the superintendent of the training grounds, who will give us some insight into what it takes to keep 6,000 acres of turf, 80 trainers, and 1,500 horses happy and productive. We'll then take a break for lunch.

In the afternoon we'll start to get an understanding of just how much the Thoroughbred is a part of the fabric of Irish life. The five major racing countries (Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, and Germany), together generate more than 90% of Europe's breeding activity. And Ireland, with less than 2% of the major five's population and less than 5% of the land area, is home to over 40% of the Thoroughbred mares and produces more than 40% of the registered foals. Irish-breds win top-class races all over the world. We'll spend some time at two of Ireland's most prestigious private stud farms.

The late afternoon is free for your relaxation, and in the early evening those who wish to can join up for a no-host group dinner at an area restaurant.

 
Day 4
Fri  June 30
This is a free day to use as you please. We will arrange for a day's excursion into Dublin city for those who are interested. There is excellent golf nearby, but as this is Irish Derby week, it should be booked well in advance. You might just want to walk the neighborhood a bit or relax by the pool.

There is racing at The Curragh this evening, starting at about 6PM. This is the easygoing Friday night start-up to the Derby meeting. There are no major races, but it's a fun atmosphere and a good chance to get yourself acquainted with the layout without the press of too many people.

 
Day 5
Sat  July 1
Our first big day of racing at The Curragh, headquarters of the sport in Ireland. Two-thirds of the Group races in Ireland are contested here, including ten of the twelve Group 1s and all five Classics. The word "curragh" means "course" in Gaelic, and horses have been running here since the 1100s. The first recorded races date back more than 300 years.

The vista from the stands is open and expansive, and the track itself is right-turning and horseshoe-shaped, and with some, but not major, elevation changes. It's considered a very fair, galloping course, and has always had the reputation of putting a high premium on stamina. We highly recommend, at some point during your stay, that you do some walking on the course.

Today's racecard features the Group 1 Pretty Polly, an all-age event for fillies and mares at ten furlongs, and the Group 3 Curragh Cup at a mile and three-quarters. The Pretty Polly, named for the great female racer of the early 20th Century, could give us a candidate or two for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf. There are usually a couple of good maiden races and handicaps on the program as well.

We'll walk over for lunch at the course, then repair to our premier-level reserved seats for great viewing of the racing.

This evening you can go your own way; but there will certainly be some of us gathering for drinks in one of the hotel bars and we will organize another no-host group dinner somewhere. It's Derby eve, so spirits will be high wherever we go.

 
Day 6
Sun  July 2
Irish Derby Day. A rollicking good time and the highlight of the Irish racing season. The race itself was first run in 1866, but since 1962, when the purse was dramatically increased, it has taken its place among the very top prizes of the European year. The timing on the calendar makes it the logical next stop for horses coming out of the English and French Derbys, and over the last eight years it's always been contested by the winners of at least one of these Derbys, and been won by three winners of the English and two of the French race. The 2003 running saw the memorable clash of two colts owned by the same man — English Derby 3rd Alamshar prevailing over French Derby winner Dalakhani after a stretch-long duel in the only race the latter ever lost. Last year's was taken by overall European champion Hurricane Run, who came off a second in the French Derby - the only race he has so far lost.

The traditional companion race this day is the Group 2 Railway Stakes for 2-year-olds, an event that has an even longer history than the Derby, dating back to 1851. It's the biggest juvenile race of the year to this point, and famous winners in the past include Nijinsky and Rock of Gibralter. 2005 victor George Washington is one of the favorites for this year's classics. The excellent undercard also has two rich listed races.

We'll lunch again at the course and have our same seats as yesterday. We don't have anything specific planned for the evening, but a good time will be readily available in the Stand House's public rooms for those who want it.

 
Day 7
Mon  July 3
County Tipperary, about two hours west, is our destination today. First stop is the renowned Coolmore Stud, and its arguably world's-best lineup of stallions including Sadler's Wells, Montjeu, Peintre Celebre, High Chaparral, and many others. We'll have a relaxed visit here, then head into the nearby town of Cashel for lunch.

The Rock of Cashel, a medieval fortified castle that rises dramatically up out of the Tipperary Plain, is right next to our lunch location. The Rock was the seat first of Kings and then the Church for over a thousand years before being finally abandoned in the 18th century. Quite a bit of the castle complex still stands, and we'll take the time for a look.

Following this, we'll have a visit to a nearby private training center.

We'll then head back to The Stand House, with another no-host group dinner awaiting. Or, if the mood of the group is to power on, we'll do our eating out in Tipperary before coming back for bed. Either way, for those still standing, we'll make our last evening together an enjoyable one.

 
Day 8
Tue  July 4
The organized itinerary ends this morning, following breakfast and checkout from the hotel. We will provide transportation to Dublin Airport and your flight home or into Dublin city for those who may wish to extend there.

Slan abhaile.

 

CLOSING DATE:

This trip will close on April 28, 2006. Payment in full and all necessary completed paperwork must be received by us no later than this date to insure that you will be able to join the trip.

COME EARLY, STAY LATE:

This itinerary is designed to be full and busy. For those preferring a more leisurely experience, we invite you to consider coming earlier, staying later, or combining our arrangements with other European travel.

We will provide transportation for you to the Stand House and back on whichever days you choose to arrive and leave. Additional nights at The Stand House can be booked, either before or after our scheduled stay. There is racing most days within a reasonable drive, and golf at some of the more famous courses might be a bit easier to book before the Derby crowd has shown up or after it's moved on. And of course the rest of Ireland, besides the small parts of it we'll be seeing this week, is renowned for its beauty and character.

The Stand House has promised to accommodate extensions as best they can, but the space is not blocked or guaranteed. You should let us know as soon as possible if you wish to do this. Dublin itself is not a city we would claim to know well, but we'll do our best with hotel recommendations for you there.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish to extend your trip.

ITINERARY & PRICES:

The itinerary includes:

  • Six(6) nights lodging as indicated at The Stand House Hotel, across from The Curragh.
  • Breakfast each morning as indicated.
  • Three(3) escorted days' racing at The Curragh and Naas, including transportation to and from the racecourse at Naas, members' enclosure admission or equivalent, and race card. Premier level reserved seating both days at The Curragh.
  • Morning training excursion at The Curragh.
  • Afternoon excursion to stud farm in Kildare.
  • Full-day excursion to Tipperary.
  • Lunch on three(3) days: twice at The Curragh, and in Cashel.
  • Informal barbecue dinner at Naas Racecourse.
  • Transfer from Dublin airport or other Dublin location to the Stand House Hotel.
  • Transfer from the Stand House Hotel to either Dublin Airport or Central Dublin.
  • Complimentary racing newspaper each day.
  • Welcome cocktails at the Stand House Hotel.
  • Accompaniment throughout by a knowledgeable and remarkably personable American escort.
The itinerary does not include:
  • Airfare to and from the U.S.A.
  • The cost of dinner or lunch except on days indicated.
The Cost of the Trip does not include:
  • Any charges incurred at hotels other than the basic cost of the room, including but not limited to room service, mini-bar, television or video, restaurant or bar service, laundry or dry-cleaning, business services, golf or other activities, and activities arranged through hotel concierge. (All group members will be required to provide a credit card imprint upon check-in at each hotel to guarantee payment for any individual charges.)
  • Excess baggage charges. Please check intra-European air flight baggage limitations.
  • Costs related to obtaining passports or visas.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Charges incurred for anything other than what is specified in the "Itinerary Includes" summary above.
  • Any gratuities. Please note your principal tour escort does not expect and will not accept a gratuity.
The Cost of the Trip Is:
    $2,525 per person, based on double occupancy (ten or more travelers)
    $2,595 per person, based on double occupancy (six to nine travelers)
    $895 single supplement.

    Single travelers will be accommodated in the same class of double room as the double-occupancy members of the group.

    We will attempt to match single travelers wishing to double up and thereby avoid the Single Supplement, however it will always be the single traveler's decision whether or not to accept a roommate. Because of the limited number of rooms that we have been able to reserve at these very busy times, we regret we must reserve the right to limit the number of single travelers on each trip.

    Trip prices are subject to change up to forty-five(45) days prior to trip departure to reflect fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the United States and the European Union. Dollar prices quoted here are based on the following exchange rates:

      1 US $ = 0.833 Euro // 1 Euro = 1.20 US $

OPTIONS:

  • Additional Nights at the Stand House Hotel, if available: $88 per night, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement $88 per night.
  • Day's Excursion to Dublin City. Cost will vary depending on type of program desired.

*The trips are designed for six to sixteen people. We reserve the right to cancel a trip if it has less than six subscribers. Should we need to do this, all payments made toward the cost of the trip will be fully and promptly refunded.

*You must have a valid passport to enter Ireland.

View the itineraries for our other 2006 trips:

For May-June, click here       For August, click here
For September-October, click here

Training photo © www.actionplus.co.uk

 

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