The 113th running of the Irish Derby was held on Saturday 1st July 1978 over 1 mile 4 furlongs of The Curragh. Subscriptions were £1585 with a pot of £30,000 added. The winner was owned by 2nd Earl Halifax, bred in England by Lord Halifax and Lord Irwin, trained by John Dunlop at Arundel and ridden by Greville Starkey. The winner won by a head in 2 minutes 32.3 seconds, with a neck between second and third.


SHIRLEY HEIGHTS (Bay colt by Mill Reef out of Hardiemma) SR 2016

The winning owner won £72,172.50 (The equivalent of £393,600 in today's terms based on Bank of England inflation calculator).

The Youtube link below is a 2 minutes 53 second clip of the 1978 Irish Derby

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Pos. Horse Weight Jockey Owner Trainer
1 SHIRLEY HEIGHTS 9.0 Greville Starkey 2nd Earl Halifax John Dunlop
2 EXDIRECTORY 9.0 Christy Roche Mrs Meg Mullion Paddy Prendergast
3 HAWAIIAN SOUND 9.0 Willie Shoemaker Mr Robert Sangster Barry Hills
4 INKERMAN 9.0 Lester Piggott Mr Simon Fraser M Vincent O'Brien
5 STRONG GALE 9.0 Ray Carroll Mrs Maria Mehl-Muelhens John Oxx
6 ENCYCLOPAEDIA 9.0 Thomas Murphy Mr Robert Sangster M Vincent O'Brien
7 REMAINDER MAN 9.0 Tony Ives Mrs D J Jardine Reg Hollinshead
8 RATHDOWNEY 9.0 John Roe Mr Paddy Prendergast Paddy Prendergast
9 VALLEY FORGE 9.0 Wally Swinburn Mr Bertram Firestone Dermot Weld
10 EL BADR 9.0 Yves Saint Martin Mahmoud Fustok Maurice Zilber
11 MAJESTIC MAHARAJ 9.0 Jimmy Bleasdale Mr John Hanson John Hanson

John Leeper Dunlop OBE was born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire on 10th July 1939 and after finishing his education he served a training apprenticeship with Neville Dent and then Gordon Smyth. In 1966 he decided to branch out on his own at the Castle Stables in Arundel, principally training for the Duke of Norfolk. He won 10 English Classics, including the Epsom Derby and Oaks twice, the Derby in 1978 with Shirley Heights (SR 2016), in 1994 with Erhaab (SR 1971), and the Oaks in 1984 with Circus Plume (SR 1921) and in 1990 with Salsabil (SR 2017). He also enjoyed Classic success across the Irish Sea, winning the 1978 Irish Derby with Shirley Heights (SR 2016) and in 1990 with Salsabil (SR 2017). He retired from the training ranks in 2012 and died on 7th July 2018 just 3 days short of his 79th birthday.

5/4 fav Shirley Heights
3/1 Inkerman
6/1 Hawaiian Sound
8/1 Exdirectory
9/1 Strong Gale
16/1 El Badr
18/1 Remainder Man
40/1 Majestic Maharaj
50/1 Valley Forge
100/1 Encyclopaedia
100/1 Rathdowney
  Over round 121%
FORMLINE:- Shirley Heights won by a head in 2 minutes 32.3 seconds to complete an English/Irish Derby double. Shirley Heights (SR 2016) won the Epsom Derby in a career consisting of 11 races in which he won 6.

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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