The countdown has begun to the Galway Races and this year’s Summer Festival kicks off with the Galway’s Best Hotels Day, with all seven races sponsored by Galway’s leading hotels and the feature race of the day the carlton.ie/galwaycity (Q.R ) Handicap.
On Monday evening Daithí OSé will interview some of Irelands top sports stars which includes Ronan O’Gara and Tommy Bowe, Galway hurlers Donal Barry and Ger Farragher, jockeys Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Pat Smullen. The event will take place on the stage between the Millennium Stand and the Killanin Stand and Jimmy Norman of Galway Bay FM will be the DJ on the evening.
The Best Dressed Lady competition takes place this year on what is now branded Ladies Day on Thursday July 29. This year’s competition is again generously sponsored by Anthony Ryan Ltd of Shop Street. The Best Dressed Lady will walk away with a diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8,500, a shopping spree worth €1,500 in Anthony Ryans, Galway and €1,000 cash. She will also receive a corporate hospitality package for Galway Races October Bank Holiday Racing Festival to include dinner and champagne reception and a Lancôme Presentation Gift Hamper worth over €500. The total prize is valued at over €12,000 for the Best Dressed Lady.
The prize for the winner of the “Best Hat” is a €1500 shopping spree at Anthony Ryan’s Galway. All finalists at the Anthony Ryan’s Best Dressed marquee will be presented with a special collection of Lancôme cosmetics compliments of University Pharmacy, Galway.
Judging this year’s competition are three of the best known names in the Irish fashion industry – Bairbre Power, Fashion Editor of the Irish Independent and Executive Editor of the Irish Independent Weekend magazine, model and Xposé presenter Glenda Gilson and PJ Gibbons, Editor, Social and Personal Magazine.
They will be joined by well known faces from the Galway fashion scene Patricia McCrossan, managing director, Galway NOW, Mandy Maher, Catwalk Model Agency and Fiona Durkin, Fashion Consultant with Anthony Ryan Ltd.
Galway has recently been voted the “Singles Capital of Ireland”, so if you fancy your chances and want to meet other singles at the races, come along to the Anotherfriend.com Singles Party on Friday July 30. Once you pay admission to the racecourse, access to the party is free and is being held on the second floor of the Killanin Stand. Simply, fill in the registration at the door where you will receive a €5 Tote bet and a drinks voucher. The party starts at 5pm till 10pm with DJ Padraic Flaherty of Galway Bay FM, full bar facilities, panoramic views of the track and Tote betting facilities.
Sunday, August 1 is family day with admission to the racecourse Free for under 14s. On the day there will be face painting and children’s entertainers and there will also be bouncy castles within the racecourse enclosure to add a little more fun to the children’s day at the races. The Guinness Jazz band will provide musical entertainment for the adults on the day.
The Mad Hatter competition with both adult and children’s categories is once again sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock and Sunway Holidays and is one for all hat milliners in the making with some great prizes to be won including sun holidays and games consoles.
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 the year’s festival. At the Races (Sky Channel 418 ) will screen all 51 races live. Galway Bay FM will provide live coverage of every race throughout the meeting.
Lucky punters can relish the prospect of €25,000 and €50,000 guaranteed Tote Jackpots on all seven days of the Festival In addition, anyone who plays the jackpot can be in with a chance to win a Diamond Tennis Bracelet worth €16,000, kindly sponsored by Cara Diamonds of Galway and Dubai.
There are racecard competitions with some fantastic relaxing hotel breaks. There is even a chance to be a winner at the Summer festival, even if your horse loses. The Tote Losing Ticket Draws will take place each day for luxurious breaks away in some of Ireland’s top hotels.
Bus Eireann will operate a regular shuttle bus each day to and from the races departing outside the Skeffington Arms Hotel in Eyre Square. There will also a free bus service from Kinvara to the races which will depart from the Pier Head Restaurant each day. As always the comfort and enjoyment of the punter is to the forefront of the Galway Race organisers concerns, and they urge all those travelling to Ballybrit to come early to the races, with gates opening two and half hours before the first race each day.
Parade Ring interviews with leading bookmakers, trainers and jockeys will take place in the parade ring prior to racing on Wednesday and Thursday.
Patrons please note there is a new traffic plan in operation for this year’s festival. Patrons wishing to enter the racecourse via the Avenue should follow the Blue Route Signage, those wishing to enter via the tunnel should follow the Red Route Signage and those wishing to enter the racecourse via the Tuam road entrance should follow the Green Route Signage.