June 26 2024  |  Retailers

Dubai Duty Free counts down to 17th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby

By GTR Magazine Editor


Dubai Duty Free officials, and H.E. Alison Milton, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, joined in celebrations at the 2023 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby 

Dubai Duty Free is counting down to the 17th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival which will take place at The Curragh Racecourse in Co. Kildare (Ireland) from June 28 to June 30.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby will run on Sunday June 30 and will see some of Europe’s top trainers, jockeys and horses battling it out on the famous Curragh track for derby glory. Last year’s winner was the Aidan O’Brien trained, Auguste Rodin. This year’s race is shaping up to be a fine contest with three of the first four horses home in the Epsom Derby in line to clash once again in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Ramesh Cidambi, Managing Director of Dubai Duty Free will host guests in the St. Leger suite in the Curragh grandstand, the Aga Khan Stand on Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day. The former COO of Dubai Duty Free took over the reins from Galway native, Colm McLoughlin who retired from the operation on May 30 after 41 years at the helm.

“A great deal has happened in the past year,” Cidambi said. “Dubai Duty Free celebrated its 40th Anniversary on December 20 2023 and ended the year with record sales of US$2.16 billion. This remarkable achievement was due in no small part to the hard work of our 5,800 employees and I join our Chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in thanking them for their continued commitment.”

Over the term of the sponsorship, Dubai Duty Free has worked closely with the Curragh team and have endeavored 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 at The K Club (Friday June 28) and the company also sponsor the Best Dressed Competition on Derby Day with a prize of a trip to Dubai for the winner.

Dubliner Lisa Hogan, one of the stars of Prime Video’s popular series ‘Clarkson’s Farm,’ is the lead fashion judge for the Best Dressed Competition which will take place on June 30. She will be joined in her search for the Best Dressed on the Day by fashion writer Bairbre Power, with Alpana Cidambi and Breeda McLoughlin representing title sponsor, Dubai Duty Free.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival has grown beyond recognition since the airport retailer took on the role of title sponsor in 2008, with centerpiece, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, becoming one of the premier races in the global calendar.

Worldwide viewership of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby has been significantly enhanced in recent years as the full day of racing is now part of the Tote World Pool. This is an exciting initiative whereby global tote operators operate a single pool on several major international race meetings. In agreement with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day is a permanent fixture as a Tote World Pool event. Terrestrial TV coverage of the race will include live broadcasts by RTE, Fan Duel and Green Channel broadcasting in Japan while digital and specialist racing platforms including Racing TV will extensively feature the full weekend.

Other high-profile international sporting events include The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and organized 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. Former winners include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams. This year’s tournament, which generated US$468 million in TV coverage, was won by Jasmine Paolini and Ugo Humbert, both of whom claimed their maiden Dubai titles. The company also sponsors and is involved with various golf tournaments, including the Amgen Irish Open, as well as horse racing at Ascot and Newbury under the company’s name.

At home, Dubai Duty Free is continuing to invest in retail upgrades at Dubai International Airport resulting in a better shopping experience for customers. Plans include the refurbishing the Arrivals shops across all terminals as well as opening new boutiques for Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Cartier next year.

The recent announcement of the US$35 billion new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, which will ultimately enable the airport to handle a passenger capacity of 250 million, is, according to Dubai Duty Free, a clear indication of the continued importance of the Aviation sector to Dubai.

In addition to its retail division, Dubai Duty Free operates a Leisure Division which includes The Irish Village both in Garhoud and Studio One Hotel, the Century Village, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, home to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and The Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

As part of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby activations the company has supported several local charities over the years and have helped raise over €680,000 (US$725,934) for local Irish children’s charities and for people in need in Ireland. Over €240,000 (US$256,212) of this was pledged directly by Dubai Duty Free through its own Foundation. This year, Dubai Duty Free will once again support The Barretstown Children’s Foundation which runs camps in Co. Kildare.

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