IRELAND/UAE. The 15th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival will take place at The Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare, from 24-26 June, offering the leading travel retailer valuable global exposure through its horse racing sponsorship. The Moodie Davitt Report will attend the festival on Saturday, with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby the centrepiece of the action, carrying prize money of €1 million.

With restrictions in place during the pandemic, this weekend sees the return of racing fans to the track. This year will also be the first time Dubai Duty Free will host guests in the magnificent new Curragh grandstand, the Aga Khan Stand.

Hurricane Lane swoops to capture the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in 2021; this year sees the return of spectators to watch Ireland’s most prestigious horse race

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin said: “This year marks our 15th as title sponsor of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby although we have been working with the Curragh Racecourse, supporting them, and sponsoring other races for 21 years now. We are glad to be back here in person once more with a full capacity crowd.

“Despite the challenges over the past couple of years, Dubai Duty Free has continued to operate its retail business at Dubai International Airport and has recently reopened a retail operation in Al Maktoum International. Passengers are travelling again, people are shopping, and we expect our sales this year to reach US$1.4 billion, which is +43% over last year.”

The retailer is targeting US$1.4 billion in sales in 2021, as its recovery from the impact of the pandemic continues

He added: “Over the term of our sponsorship, we have worked closely with The Curragh team and endeavoured to grow this event into a festival with activities taking place both on and off the track. An example of this is the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Golf Classic which will take place at The K Club on Thursday, 23 June. We also sponsor the Ladies Fashion element of the race day with a great prize of a trip to Dubai.”

During its tenure as title sponsor Dubai Duty Free has been part of many activities beyond race day. The company has helped raise over €640,000 for local children’s charities and for people in need in Ireland. Over €200,000 of this was pledged directly by Dubai Duty Free through its own Foundation.

This year Dubai Duty Free is working with Barretstown Children’s Charity located in Ballymore Eustace in Co. Kildare. McLoughlin said: “Barretstown do marvellous work to support sick children and their families, and we are very happy to support them in their endeavours.”

He praised the Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board, Horse Racing Ireland and The Curragh Racecourse and its team for keeping racing going during a difficult couple of years and for safely overseeing the return of spectators to the track.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival has grown in size and reputation since the travel retailer took on the role of title sponsor in 2008. Alongside centrepiece the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby the company is sponsoring five other races on Derby Day. Ireland’s flagship race will be viewed all around the world with viewers tuning in from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, South Africa, USA, across Europe, Mongolia and the United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai Duty Free.

Sports sponsorship is a key element in Dubai Duty Free’s marketing strategy, enabling the business to reach a global audience via strong media exposure.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are among the other major sporting events hosted or supported by the state-owned travel retailer

Other high-profile international sporting events for the retailer including The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The two-week tournament generates in excess of US$1 billion in TV exposure.

Other major sporting events that receive Dubai Duty Free’s support include the Horizon Irish Open, the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup, the Dubai Duty Free Sailing League Regatta and the Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby 7’s.

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