Ballymany (Ireland) / Saint-Imier (Switzerland), March 31, 2015 – Longines, Swiss watchmaker since 1832, has been announced as Title Partner of Irish Champions Weekend and Official Timekeeper for the Curragh and Leopardstown racecourses. The first Longines Irish Champions Weekend will take place onSeptember 12th and 13th this year.
The long-term agreement was signed by Mr Juan Carlos Capelli, Vice-President and Head of International Marketing for Longines and Mr Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).
Juan-Carlos Capelli: “It is a great honour for Longines to become the Title Partner of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend, showcasing Ireland’s two premier racecourses, namely the Curragh and Leopardstown racecourses. Providing our long-lasting timekeeping expertise for this two-day meeting illustrates our continued commitment to equestrian sports, which are part of our rich history since 1878.”
Brian Kavanagh: “It is an honour to announce Longines as the Title Partner for Irish Champions Weekend and to welcome this Swiss watch brand as Official Timekeeper for Leopardstown and the Curragh, which together host 42 race meetings, including all the Irish Classics. The inaugural Irish Champions Weekend in 2014 immediately established itself as one of the leading flat racing events in the world. It is effectively the first leg of a triple crown of late-season flat championships in Europe, followed by the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting and QIPCO British Champions Day in October.”
The Longines Irish Champions Weekend hosts ten Group races , including five Group 1s, and features the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh in back-to-back meetings on the 12th and 13th of September respectively.
Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown: “Longines is one of the most recognised and valued partners in top-level international racing and we are delighted to welcome them to Leopardstown. There is already a connection, as the first and second in last year’s QIPCO Irish Champions Stakes , The Grey Gatsby and Australia, were rated joint-third best horses in the world in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.”
Paul Hensey, Curragh Racecourse General Manager: “The partnership by Longines of Irish Champions Weekend is hugely positive and it will greatly enhance the prestige and international profile of the event. We look forward to working with Longines to develop a long and successful partnership and to work with them on building on the success of the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend.”
As Official Timekeeper Longines will install clocks and chronometers at both racecourses during the season, which will provide racegoers and TV audiences with an accurate record of the times of all flat races.
At the racecourses over the Longines Irish Champions Weekend, Longines will also be presenting the Longines Prize of Elegance and reward the most elegant ladies of the day with elegant watches.