THE Curragh is gearing up for a massive weekend featuring the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday and, for the first time in a few years, the prospect of proper good ground looks on the agenda for racing manager Paul Hensey and his staff.
"It's terrific to start the week with a day like we had on Monday. We had a few showers over the weekend and the track is in super condition and I'm delighted with where it is," Hensey told the Herald.
"I have started many a Derby week having everything crossed that rain would stop falling and the ground would dry up and other years prior to that I remember starting the week with a watering campaign and hoping the rain doesn't come on top of it, so from that point of view it's great and weather like this is a great help in the preparations."
This will be the second year that the Curragh have put the Irish Derby on a Saturday evening card, a move that proved successful last year. It is likely to have a major effect this year also, as it means the race won't clash with Sunday's massive Leinster Senior Football Championship clash between Kildare and Dublin in Croke Park.
"Last year was a success and I think you have got to remember last year that the weather wasn't kind to us and there was the 'will he won't he run' surrounding Camelot.
Hensey, like most, is looking forward to the competitive nature of this year's race as a number of trainers appear to have live chances in ending Aidan O'Brien's seven-year harvesting of the race.
"I think the fact that we showed an increase in attendance last year is a positive and having so many horses already committed this year – and the weather forecast is to be kind – should mean we can build on the success of last year.
"You can make a very big case for at least five horses in the race, including the first three home from the Epsom Derby in which Ruler Of The World looked very impressive and he only won his maiden here in April."