Based in Osborne Lodge, The Curragh in Co. Kildare, Ken Condon and his staff have access to all that The Curragh Training Grounds has to offer, providing trainers with the opportunity to prepare their horses on approximately 1,500 acres of world-class training facilities with the closest to Osborne Lodge being the 7 furlong circular woodchip Fox Cover and the accompanying newly installed straight 6 furlong sand and fibre gallop.
Trainers can choose from over 70 miles of immaculately-maintained grass gallops, if they want to work their horses on turf. The ground staff rotate the use of the gallops, meaning that ground is kept fresh and the quality of the surface is continually excellent.
In addition to the numerous turf gallop options, there are approximately 12 miles of peat gallops and eight all-weather tracks available to work on. There is even variation in the surfaces on the all-weather tracks. There are three made up of a sand and fibre mix and five that are woodchip-based. With so many options on offer, horses are able to have plenty of variety in their schedules and could be worked on a different gallop every day of the week if the trainer so desired.
The range of gallops at the Curragh Training Grounds provides trainers with great scope to tailor each horse’s work to suit their individual needs, with gallops varying in length, gradient and surface. One of the most famous is the testing Old Vic, a wide woodchip gallop which was funded by Sheikh Mohammed following the horse of the same name’s victory in the Irish Derby in 1989. Starting off down at the Ballymany end of the Curragh, the Old Vic climbs all the way up to the summit of Walsh’s Hill, providing a stern stamina test over nine furlongs. Running alongside it is the newly installed Free Eagle Gallop (March 2019) measuring 9f long with a sand and fibre mix surface. http://www.curraghtraininggrounds.ie
At Osborne Lodge, there is modern stabling for 50 horses including isolation boxes, a 10 horse walker, starting stalls, two outdoor menages, an indoor riding school, lunge ring and ample turn out paddocks in a secluded setting on the northern edge of The Curragh.