The recession has hit hard, wallets are lighter, and the marquee is gone, yet this summer’s race meeting is set to battle against the odds, and provide as good a race festival as ever before.
Speaking at the launch of the festival Mr Tim Naughton, chairman of the Galway Race committee said that the 2009 festival promises to attract and please all race-goers as before, but with some exciting new changes.
An array of new sponsors for the festival was unveiled at the launch. Mondays ‘Galway’s best hotels race day’, is sponsored by six of Galway’s well known hoteliers; Meyrick hotel, g hotel, Radisson hotel, Days hotel, Claregalway hotel, Galway Bay hotel, and The Irish Hotel Federation.
Dubai Jewels are set to sparkle in the Tuesday evening sun when Cara diamonds of Galway and Dubai sponsor the handicap steeplechase.
Sunday will see a number of well known Galway businesses supporting the festival with the feature race sponsored by the Connacht Tribune, and Galway Bay fm, Easy fix hurdles, Electronic retail security and Caulfield Industrial also sponsoring prominent races on the day. Sunday will be a family day, with admission free for under 14s, entertainment from the Mulkerrin brothers and the Mad Hatter competition with great prizes to be sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock and Sunway holidays.
The quality of racing at the festival never fails to quell the crowd’s passion for pulsating racing and this year promises to be no different. The festival will host Irelands richest hurdle race, the Guinness Galway hurdle, which will be run at a value of €250,000 coinciding with Guinness’s 250th anniversary. Wednesday is Plate Day and the William Hill Galway Plate has increased in prize value and now stands at an admirable €250,000. Also a first at Galway this year, all hurdle races will be run over Easyfix plastic hurdles, furthering the safety of both horse and jockey.
Details of the increasingly popular Ladies day on Thursday of the festival were also released. Sponsored by Anthony Ryans and with a prize bonanza valued at over €13,500, Ladies Day looks set to maintain its reputation as the most stylish and glamorous fashion event on the Irish racing calendar.
The best dressed lady will receive a one carat diamond solitaire pendant valued at €8,000, €2,000 cash and €2,000 in vouchers for a shopping spree at Anthony Ryans. The prize for the winner of the best hat is a luxury trip for two to a top European destination including flights and accommodation valued at €1,500. All finalists at the best dressed marquee will be presented with a special collection of Lancôme cosmetics compliments of University Pharmacy, Galway.
This years theme is ‘style is eternal’ to encourage entrants to choose ensembles reflecting their individual sense of style without the need for a big budget.
The judging panel for this year’s event includes well-known Irish and international media personalities and fashion journalists.
The Galway Race committee re-affirmed their commitment to keeping costs down for race-goers with admission prices being held at 2007 prices; Monday, Saturday and Sunday €20, Tuesday and Friday €25, and Wednesday and Thursday €30.
The Galway Races Summer Festival will run from Monday July 27 to Sunday August 2.
For more information on the Galway Races Summer Festival call 091 753870 or email [email protected]