Adrenalin-pumping action, heart-stopping finishes and breath-taking fashion– it’s the Galway Races Summer Festival! Over 150,000 punters are expected to take to the track at Ballybrit as only days remain to Europe’s longest race meeting, taking place from Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August 2012. Kick-starting with Galway’s Best Hotels Race Day, all seven races on the card are sponsored by Galway’s leading hotels; Carlton Hotel, Radisson Blu, Galway Bay Hotel, Hotel Meyrick, the g Hotel, Claregalway Hotel, Clayton Hotel, Galway Oyster Hotel and the Pillo Hotel. The feature race of the day is the ‘Carlton Hotel Galway City (Q.R) Handicap’ valued at €70,000.
A bridal party with a difference will launch the racing festival this year! The novel fundraiser in aid of Special Olympics Connaught will see ladies donning their wedding dresses once more to parade one furlong (200 metres) before the first race on the opening day of the festival!
Ladies are also invited to dress to impress on the opening day of racing as Galway milliner Suzie Mahoney and guest judge TV3’s Noel Cunningham will go in search of the ‘Most Appropriately Dressed Lady’ at the track with a host of fantastic prizes to be won!
Monday is also Sports Hero’s evening at the track, where a selection of the country’s leading sports star will descend upon the track at Ballybrit. Today FM Sports Presenter Paul Collins will interview a selection of leading Rugby players, Ireland’s top national hunt and flat jockey’s, along with a few surprise guests in-between! The event will take place on the stage between the Millennium Stand and the Killanin stand so keep an eye out for your sporting legends.
Please note change of start times to the first two days of racing at Ballybrit with the first race off at 4pm on both Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st July 2012. All other race day start times remain the same for the Summer Festival. On Wednesday 1st August the first race is off at 3pm, on Thursday 2nd August (Ladies Day) racing begins at 1.50pm and on Friday 3rd August racing starts at 5.10pm. On Saturday 4th August the first race is off at 2.30pm and the final day of racing begins at 2.15pm on Sunday, 5th August.
Topaz is once again the principal sponsor of racing on Tuesday 31st July when their three races are headlined by the €115,000 Topaz Mile EBF Handicap. Well-known western business Caulfield Industrial sponsor three of Tuesday’s races and the Latin Quarter Steeplechase is backed by Galway city’s prime entertainment sector.
On Wednesday 1st August, the entire card of racing is fully sponsored by Tote with the feature race, the tote.com Galway Plate boasting a prize fund of €200,000. Tote has also sponsored the newly designed Galway Plate, which will be presented by All-Star Galway Hurler Joe Canning along with the designer of the Plate Matthew Lynch to the winning owner of the Galway Plate. For the 2012 festival, Galway Plate entries are headed by three times group winner ‘Follow The Plan’ trained by Oliver McKiernan. Also entered is last year’s winner Blazing Tempo, and there are six other overseas entries highlighting the quality of racing in store at Ballybrit.
The Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap is the racing highlight on Thursday 2nd August, as Guinness continues their sponsorship of the €260,000 hurdle race – the richest national hunt race to run in Ireland this year. Last year’s feature race winner ‘Moon Dice’ is set to take part again this year and there are also 9 UK entries for the race, promising pulsating racing action.
For the first time on Guinness Galway Hurdle Day, Galway Races will be staging its first listed race to be run during the Summer Festival. This race will attract some of the high class Fillies which are in training this year.
An absolute must for fashionista’s is the Best Dressed Lady Competition as Anthony Ryan’s celebrates 10 Years of sponsoring the premier fashion event on the Irish racing calendar. Former Miss World Rosanna Davison joins the judging panel, alongside Fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power and Editor of Social & Personal Magazine PJ Gibbons. With a prize fund of €20,000 it’s a must experience day at the races!
Racing on Friday 3rd August is again proudly sponsored by Guinness and the feature race in ‘The Guinness Handicap’ valued at €60,000. Friday is also the popular sports and social evening at the track, making it the perfect evening for a work night out. Kick-back, relax and enjoy great racing with colleagues and friends. Why not avail of the special packages available on this evening, contact the racecourse office on 091-753870 for more information.
‘Ladbrokes Red Day’ on Saturday 4th August invites race goers to dress to impress in red! From red dresses to red accessories, as long as red is included as an element in your outfit you will be in with a chance to win. Judged by renowned fashion designer Heidi Higgins, the prize for the lucky winner will include a €350 voucher for top fashion house LK Bennett and €250 in Ladbrokes Betting Vouchers. The feature race of the day is the Ladbroke’s Handicap valued at €40,000.
Sunday, 5th August is Family Day & Mad Hatters Day at the track, where children and adults are invited to don their most outrageous headpiece as award winning milliner Mark T. Burke goes in search of the most imaginative styles on the final day of the festival! A host of prizes are up for grabs, kindly sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock. A full programme of entertainment will take place at the track for the young race-goers including; bouncy castles, slides, face painting and crazy characters throughout the enclosure.
The Galway Race Committee has confirmed that children and teenagers under 16 years of age, when accompanied by their parent(s)/guardian(s) will be admitted free of charge to the Summer Festival, taking place from Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August 2012. Any child or teenager who is unaccompanied by their parent(s) / guardian(s) will have to pay the Student Admission Fee for that day.
Local and national media have again re-affirmed their commitment to showcase the Galway Races on a national stage. RTE will televise the first four days of this year’s festival. At the Races (Sky Channel 418) will screen all 52 races live. Galway Bay FM will provide live coverage of every race throughout the meeting. Parade Ring interviews with Trainers, Jockey’s and Bookmakers will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of racing, prior to racing each day.
Tote guaranteed jackpots for each day of racing will be Monday €30,000, Tuesday €30,000, Wednesday €40,000, Thursday €40,000, Friday is €30,000, while Saturday and Sunday each have a jackpot of €20,000.
Bus Eireann will operate a regular shuttle bus each day to and from the races departing from Eyre Square. As always the comfort and enjoyment of the punter is to the forefront of the Galway Race organisers concerns, and urge all those traveling to Ballybrit to come early to the races, with gates opening two and half hours before the first race each day. Irish Rail has added additional trains to their schedule on Wednesday and Thursday of race week, if you are travelling from Dublin to Galway or from Ennis to Galway, see www.irishrail.ie for details. A Designated Taxi Route has also been assigned and full details of all traffic plans are available on the Galway Races website: http://www.galwayraces.com/location-and-travel.asp
For further details call 091-753870, email email@example.com or visit www.galwayraces.com. Join us on facebook, facebook.com/galwayraces for all the latest information on this year’s Summer Festival Meeting!