Champions of the racing world gather to launch Longines Irish Champions Weekend 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017
longines irish champions weekend launch

Champions of the Irish Flat racing industry gathered to officially launch the annual Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Dublin’s best address, The Merrion this evening, Wednesday August 9. The weekend, which takes place on Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, is Ireland’s most prestigious Flat racing weekend and marks the first leg of the European Triple crown of championship race meetings with the QATAR Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp following in early October and QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot two weeks later.


The unique racing event – billed as the race meeting where the best in world come to meet - sees two of Ireland’s premier racecourses, Leopardstown and The Curragh, join forces to stage the highest concentration of quality Flat racing in Ireland. Now in its fourth year, Longines Irish Champions Weekend attracts the world’s finest racehorses and jockeys with two iconic feature races: QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes and The Comer Group International Irish St. Leger. The prize-money over the weekend totals €4.63 million, to be won across 16 races, made up of ten Group races, five of which are Group 1 events.


Distinguished guests at the launch reception, hosted by Horse Racing Ireland, included London-based Irish actress Pandora McCormick, who was announced as this year’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend Style Ambassador. Pandora was joined by champions of the racing world including world-class jockey, Ryan Moore, who flew into Dublin especially for the event. Current Champion Flat jockey Pat Smullen and his wife Frances, Champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien and his wife Annemarie, Jim and Jackie Bolger, Johnny and Orla Murtagh, Michael Halford and daughter Leah and leading lady rider, Kate Harrington were also in attendance.


Fashion partner to the weekend, Louise Kennedy, was also in attendance and was joined by London-based royal milliner, Jane Taylor and the weekend’s Champion Stylist, Ingrid Hoey.


Pandora McCormick, Style Ambassador for Longines Irish Champions Weekend, commented: “I love a day out at the races, I have loved horses and racing since I was a child. What makes Irish racing so special for me is the chance to get dressed up for a special day out with friends and family.  I am delighted to be the Style Ambassador for this year’s Longines Irish Champions Weekend and I look forward to seeing all the style and elegance on show on September 9 and 10.”


RTE broadcaster Des Cahill acted as MC for the evening and hosted a lively and insightful discussion with top jockey Ryan Moore, and trainers Aidan O’Brien and Jim Bolger on the significance of Longines Irish Champions Weekend to Irish and international racing. The panel also discussed some of the key contenders set to compete this year for the €4.63 million prize-money.


The coveted Longines Prize for Elegance competition will once again run across the weekend of September 9 and 10, and will be open to all racegoers. Fashion enthusiasts will have the chance to showcase their style credentials in the hope of winning some of the €25,000 prizes on offer, including the overall Longines Prize for Elegance.


The prizes, including shopping experiences from Louise Kennedy, Louis Copeland and Kildare Village as well as a luxury stay The Merrion, will be awarded to the most elegant female and male racegoer at Leopardstown and the Curragh. Title sponsor, Longines, will also gift the winners each day with an elegant timepiece from their latest collection. To pre-register simply log on to


For more information visit the Longines Irish Champions Weekend’s website:


Follow Irish Champions Weekend on Twitter @IrishChampsWknd


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