Offaly's Smullen joins other legends on stage as Irish Derby Festival gets underway

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly's Smullen joins other legends on stage as Irish Derby Festival gets underway

Offaly's Smullen joins other legends on stage as Irish Derby Festival gets underway

Offaly racing legend and recently retired jockey Pat Smullen joined a host of big racing names as the Irish Derby Festival got underway in Kildare this week.

On Tuesday night June 25, a panel of racing legends took to the stage in Studio One at the Silken Thomas. 

The experienced panel was made up of jockey Seamus Heffernan, trainer John Oxx, former jockey and trainer Christy Roche, recently retired jockey Pat Smullen, trainer Dermot Weld and former jockey and trainer Johnny Murtagh.

Pat Smullen won the race twice aboard Grey Swallow in 2004 and Harzand in 2016. Harwand also carried Pat to Epsom Derby glory that same year.

Veteran racing commentator Dessie Scahill was the MC for the evening. The panel discussed their connections with Derby horses they either trained or rode.

A packed audience were entertained with racing stories and Derby footage of the panels' wins. Festival committee member, event organiser and former trainer Jim Kavanagh said: "We were so thrilled with how tonight went. The audience were entertained by the stories from this legendary panel who have made such a great contribution to the Irish Derby. It's important to celebrate these living legends."

The Kildare Derby Festival takes place in Kildare Town from Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 30. With over 18 different free and ticketed events and three race days, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

For more information on all the events visit www.kildarederbyfestival.ie.

The festival is kindly supported by Kildare County Council, the Curragh Racecourse and Into Kildare (Kildare's Tourism Body).