John Oxx© Photo Healy Racing
John Oxx was impressed with the redeveloped Curragh grandstand after being given a tour last week.
Remedial work has also been carried out on the gallops on the Curragh, and the multiple Group One-winning trainer liked what he saw.
“The Curragh training grounds has great potential and thanks to Moyglare Stud we’ve had some tremendous work carried out over the winter. Three gallops have been refurbished and another one to come,” said Oxx.
“It’s great for local trainers and for visiting trainers. Trainers are not really in a position to build their own establishments and they need the Curragh to be developed for the health of Irish racing into the future.
“What trainers need are options, a variety of surfaces. Some horses are happy working on grass and others on a peat moss gallop. When the weather is fine they might get too fast so you need to go to the Old Vic which is a wood-chip gallop or now we have the sand and fibre which is slower again.
“We have every option for what suits a horse best. If the gallops are there and the facilities are there, then the trainers will come. During the recession the number of horses on the Curragh dropped from a peak of 1,500 to about 900.
“You would think the finances of the Curragh would have gone through the floor, but they actually managed to break even because there were so many outside trainers using the facilities.”
The man responsible for such great names as Sea The Stars and Sinndar went on: “Derek McGrath (CEO of the Curragh) kindly gave us a tour around the new stand last week and I was really impressed.
“It’s a very nice building. It’s big enough, but not too big, and appropriate for the job it has to do. There are a lot of ordinary days as opposed to Derby day and those are the days that you want to create a bit of atmosphere.
“It was a bitterly cold day when we were there, but the heating was on and it was as warm as toast inside. People will be comfortable there when the weather is inclement.
“It is compact as the parade ring is very close to the stand and the saddling boxes are close by. There is a nice circular flow to it, and I think people will be very pleased. There is a fine roof as well so there is plenty of shelter from any wind and rain, and plenty of seats for the ordinary paying customer.”