H.H. the Aga Khan was present at the racecourse for the official ceremony, alongside the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar who stated, “The Curragh has always played an important part in the story of our country and, thanks to this new development, we can be confident that it will play an important role in our future as well. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this two-year project. Irish racing fans have long been able to see some of the very best racehorses in the world compete here. Now, thanks to this development, the facilities on this side of the running rail will match the action on the track.”
The redevelopment project had been initiated by His Highness who declared in his speech at the Moyglare dinner in 2000: "The Curragh Racecourse [...] deserves to be resuscitated not by the implementation of unavoidable improvements only, but a dramatic new grand plan.
"Irish racing should mark the beginning of this new century by honouring the Curragh with the best in environmental respect, the most forward-looking response to the needs of modern racing, and the creation of a new economic resource for the benefit of all within its catchment area."
The €81 million development has been widely praised as an excellent facility, and it was fitting that Sonaiyla, who hails from the family of dual Derby and Arc hero Sinndar, carried the Aga Khan silks to victory during the weekend at The Curragh.
Gilltown Stud resident Sea The Stars was represented at the highest level by Star Catcher, who completed a remarkable triptych of wins in the Irish Oaks, Prix Vermeille and British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes. Champion stayer Stradivarius continued to fly the flag for his sire Sea The Stars, completing a series of ten unbeaten outings including victories in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Goodwood Gold Cup, while the tough and talented Crystal Ocean lifted the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes to be rewarded at the end of the year with the title of joint Longines World’s Best Racehorse. Other noteworthy progeny of Sea The Stars in 2019 were Group winners Terebellum, Soudania, Call Me Love and Lavender’s Blue, while the Arc hero’s influence stretched as far as Australia where his son Shraaoh captured the Group 1 Sydney Cup.
Top French sire Siyouni enjoyed his share of the limelight thanks to the Prix du Jockey Club scorer Sottsass who ended his season with third place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the title of Longines World’s Best Three-Year-Old. 2018 Prix de Diane victrix Laurens brought her career total of Group 1 victories to six in the summer of 2019 when lifting the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. Siyouni once again made a mark with his juveniles during 2019, with Group wins for Devil, Dream And Do, Al Raya and a second place in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac for Marieta. The Haras de Bonneval sire was crowned French Leading Sire for the fourth time.