150,000 punters flock to Ballybrit as city gets €60m boost

John Kernan manager of the new Champagne Bar at Ballybrit getting ready for The Galway Races. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

John Kernan manager of the new Champagne Bar at Ballybrit getting ready for The Galway Races. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

150,000 punters are expected to flock to Ballybrit from Monday when the country’s most popular racing festival gets underway. With more than €2 million in prize money, the meeting will attract the cream of Irish horses and trainers, and will generate in excess of €60m for the local economy over the seven day period.

Advance ticket sales for the event are well ahead of last year and many punters are excited at the prospect of seeing the first of many changes to the racecourse at Ballybrit. Key among these is the new ‘Wilson Lynch Building’, named after the man who donated the land to the Galway Race Commitee in 1869.

This €6 million development will offer racegoers modern, comfortable, and stylish new facilities that include on the ground floor, a betting hall, coffee dock and the first floor, a champagne bar equipped with a mini grand piano — an ideal venue for celebrating victories.

The Tote and Galway Races recently announced the signing of a new three-year sponsorship agreement confirming the Tote as the title sponsor of one of Ireland’s most historic races, thetote.com Galway Plate. The news follows the decision confirmed in February to move the fixture on Wednesday August 1 to an evening slot, with the the big race due to go to post at 7.20pm.

This move is designed to boost local attendance from the greater Galway region and beyond.

With a first prize of almost €150,000, thetote.com Galway Plate has always attracted high quality horses and President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins is once again expected to present the Plate to winning connections. Worth €250,000 in total prize money, the race has produced some high class recent winners including Carlingford Lough, Road To Riches and the 2017 winner Balko Des Flos.

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