With only weeks left to go to the highly anticipated 148th running of the iconic Galway Races Summer Festival, prize money has been boosted to a new record level at the Ballybrit venue to over €2,000,000.
With 52 races over the seven days, each day now offers a minimum prize fund of €100,000 for the feature race. The overall prize fund has been increased by €123,000 on last year’s festival.
The Galway Races takes place from Monday, July 31, to Sunday, August 6. With each day now offering a feature race worth a minimum of €100,000, the continued support from the Galway Races sponsors is helping to build on the success of Ireland’s largest horse racing festival.
The feature race each day sees Monday’s feature, the Connacht Hotel Handicap of €100,000, with Tuesday’s feature race the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap valued at €120,000.
The hotly contested thetote.com Galway Plate on Wednesday, a race synonymous with Galway and key to the history of the festival, has received a significant increase of €30,000 with the prize fund for 2017 now standing at €250,000. Tim Higgins, chief executive of Tote Ireland, said: “We’re delighted that the historical thetote.com Galway Plate will this year be worth €250,000, an increase of €30,000 on last year’s race value.”
With a strong association at the festival for many years, Guinness is once again title sponsor on Thursday and Friday with the famous Guinness Galway Hurdle, worth an impressive €300,000, a race that draws huge attention on the day traditionally referred to as Ladies’ Day. Friday features the Guinness Handicap valued at €100,000.
Looking towards the weekend, Saturday’s Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle and Sunday’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ahonoora” Handicap are each worth €100,000.
With the above seen as a welcomed boost for trainers and owners, Michael Moloney, general manager of Galway Racecourse, said, “It’s a huge credit to our sponsors and Horse Racing Ireland who with their support have enabled us to offer for the very first time a feature race every day valued at a minimum of €100,000.
“It is also particularly pleasing to see the minimum race value of every race during the festival set at €15,000. We have an exciting programme on the cards for 2017 and we look forward to offering some great racing and entertainment here in Galway during the festival.”
Director of Racing of Horse Racing Ireland, Jason Morris, said that: “HRI is pleased to be supporting the Galway Festival with an increased prize money contribution to match the additional race sponsorship that the racecourse has been able to attract. It is very satisfying that the minimum value for all feature races at the festival has been increased to €100,000 for 2017.
“Prize money has risen significantly at the Galway Festival in recent years and it is only appropriate that winners at Ballybrit are adequately rewarded at all levels given the extremely competitive nature of the racing.”
Widely regarded as the highlight of the summer season in Ireland, Galway Races offers super horse racing, live music and entertainment, fashion, family fun, and an electric atmosphere that continues to draw people from all over Ireland and abroad.
For more information and to book tickets to this summer’s Galway Races visit www.galwayraces.com