Galway Festival

James Murray By James Murray, 6th May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Gambling>Sports Betting>Sporting Events

A guide and overview of the Galway Races, an annual horse racing meeting run in the City of Galway on Ireland's West Coast.


If the Irish write folk songs about it and the Dubliners, Chieftains and all other leading Irish folk bands sing about it live to sell out audiences, then the Galway Races has to be an absolutely extraordinary horse racing event.

The meeting of course takes place over seven days annually at the Ballybrit racecourse in July. Its popularity has grown so much that over 250,000 people turn up each year creating one of the great party atmospheres known in Ireland.

There are over 40 races in total, some National Hunt and some flat and most leading trainers and jockeys from both Ireland and the UK will be represented in one race or another. Bookmakers report that turnover at the Galway Festival often exceeds 100 million Euros.

One of the most amazing aspects of the festival is that the quality of racing is nowhere near as high as other big festival events, like Cheltenham, Punchestown and Goodwood. Instead, Galway plays a numbers game, with plenty of competitive racing providing the central focus of a celebration lasting for one week, and why not celebrate; after all the Galway races have been in existence since 1869!

The feature race of the week, which takes place on the third day (Wednesday) is the famous ‘Galway Plate’ a handicap race, run over 2 miles and 6 furlongs with 14 fences to be jumped. It has been in existence since the very first meeting and has become a much sought after prize for owners, trainers and jockeys alike. Winning jockey last year was none other than Tony McCoy, who, like he did in the 2010 Aintree Grand National, won the race for the first time, this time riding Finger On The Pulse.

Like most big festivals, the Galway Races also hosts its own ‘Ladies Day’ which takes place on the fourth day (Thursday). Thursday also witnesses the second most coveted race of the week, the Galway Hurdle.

The trainer to follow at the Festival is of course Dermot Weld, who has effectively over the years made the festival almost his own. His horses have a terrific strike rate every year and in 2010 he saddled an incredible 11 winners!

Below are a few selected verses from the original poem ‘the Galway Races’ written by WB Yeats the famous Irish playwright and poet, the words en capture the spirit and atmosphere of the event perfectly.

The Galway Races by WB Yeats

More about Galway

Galway Races
Galway Guide
Galway Tourism


Betting, Galway, Horse Racing, Runners

Meet the author

author avatar James Murray
James Murray here, free-lance journalist who writes for both online and print publications. My specialist area is sports related subject so that's where my wiki contributions will focus...

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author avatar Tranquilpen
6th May 2011 (#)

Thank you James a great and informative read. My daughter lives in Dublin, never been there myself.

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