Mad Hatters take to the track for the final day of racing, the Connacht Tribune Handicap Steeplechase at the Galway Races Summer Festival.
As the final day at Ballybrit got underway at the 2012 Galway Races Summer Festival, the track was awash with colour for the Connacht Tribune Handicap Steeplechase and the very popular Mad Hatters & Family Day! Attendance reached 12,537 in 2012, (11,929, 2011) for the day. Tote turnover was €373,337 for 2012, (€404, 300, 2011) and the Bookmakers turnover was €733,194 for 2012,(€1,007,151, 2011).
Award winning Galway milliner Mark T. Burke went in search of the most creative styles as patrons young and old donned an array of outrageous hats for the special occasion with a host of prizes sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock. The decision was tough but the overall winner in the children’s category was the lovely Lilly Walsh of Kilconieron, Loughrea Co Galway who’s “we’re awful lucky with the hay” hat creation took in the theme of our recent mix of summer weather and the tradition of saving hay ahead of the Galway Races! Lilly won a family holiday for her parents and sibling, to Euro Disney Paris for 3 nights including flights sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.
In the adults category the theme, “Sailing to Galway” was the creation from Pamela Mc Nulty. Pamela and her family hail from Belfast and planned their summer holiday around the Galway Races. Her prize was a fabulous trip for two to Milan including flights and accommodation for three nights also sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.
The Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase was the feature race on final day of racing with number 12 Paddy O Dea ridden by Mark A Enright first past the post.
On Saturday, the penultimate day of racing got underway with the Ladbrokes Red Day. The sun shone for the majority of the afternoon’s racing, which was enjoyed by loyal Galway racegoers, families and August Bank holiday visitors to Galway and the West of Ireland. Attendance for Ladbrokes Red day was 12,364 in 2012, (13,357, 2011). Tote turnover was €327,221 for 2012 (€443,138, 2011) and Bookmakers turnover was €872,729 for 2012, ( €1,309,926, 2011).
The colour of the day was red as ‘Ladbrokes Red Day’ ensured punters turned out in shades of striking red, from red dresses, accessories, hats and coats to shoes! All were out to impress renowned Irish fashion designer and judge, Heidi Higgins.
Triona Cross, Kilfeacle, Co Tipperary was chosen as the best dressed on Ladbrokes Red Day, receiving a €350 voucher for top fashion house LK Bennett and €250 in Ladbrokes Betting Vouchers.
JP Mc Manus’s Carlingford Lough ridden by John E Kiely, won the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle valued at €40,000.
Friday evening at Ballybrit has traditionally been a Galwegian’s evening, with many hitting the race track after the working week and more returning home to start the holiday weekend at Galway Races. This year there was plenty for Galway people to cheer about. Winner of the first race, the 5.10pm on the card was Muzak owned by Galway man, Joe Monroe. Friday’s racing saw the first Galway trained horse win at Ballybrit in 3 years.
Guinness were once again the sponsor on Friday and the attendance figure was 20,368 in 2012 (25,240, 2011). Tote turnover was €590,770 for 2012, (€ 745,518, 2011) and Bookmakers turnover was € 1,112,221 for 2012 (€1,874,815, 2011).
The feature race of the day was ‘The Guinness Handicap’, valued at €60,000 had another good Galway connection in it’s name Inis Meáin which was ridden by Chris Hayes.
While the 2012 Galway Races Summer Festival wraps up for another year, the next race meet is just around the corner, running from Monday 10th – Wednesday 12th September 2012. For further details call 091-753870, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.galwayraces.com. Join us on facebook, facebook.com/galwayracesto keep up to date on all that’s happening on and off the track!