Citing an “inordinate” length of time for the €100 million project to get final approval, the Irish Turf Club on July 3 approved a delay in construction until July 2009. Consequently, the Irish St. Leger will be run two consecutive years – 2009 and 2010 – at Leopardstown, which will be the site for the 2010 Derby, Irish Oaks, One Thousand Guineas and Two Thousand Guineas, all group I fixtures. All of the classics will return to The Curragh once it resumes racing in 2011.
The delay in getting final approvals for the project, approved by the Kildare County Council in October 2006, and “changing economic conditions,” also means the Turf Club will re-evaluate “all aspects of the project,” according to Turf Club Chief Executive Denis Egan.
“This is a project that is going to help shape the future of Irish racing over the next 50 years,” commented Nick Wachman, senior steward of the Turf Club. “We believe it is essential that we get it 100% right and that we also get the best possible deal for Irish racing. While it would not have been our wish to have such delays we do believe that there will be long-term benefits to the project.”
The first phase of the project, consisting of demolition of the existing grandstand, will begin until completion of racing on July 26, 2009.