Long-running sponsors of Galway’s most prestigious horse race, the Galway Plate, will discontinue its support next year.
Bookmakers William Hill, who had been sponsors of the €250,000 event since 2006, has decided not to take up its option for a fifth year.
William Hill’s director of racing David Hood said it was an “unfortunate casualty of the times based purely on the current economic environment in Ireland”.
“It certainly wasn’t an easy decision to make because the opportunity to sponsor such an historic and popular race as the Galway Plate is rare indeed.
“Sponsoring Plate Day has been a source of tremendous pride to all at William Hill and this decision wasn’t taken lightly. We have enjoyed four fabulous festivals with Galway Racecourse. John Moloney and his team have been supportive, professional, and a pleasure to work with throughout.”
William Hill is one of the largest bookmakers in Great Britain, but David Hood said the various trading restrictions on bookmakers within Ireland, coupled with the financial climate, meant maintaining a sponsorship the size of the Galway Plate had become “vastly disproportionate” to the size of its business in this country.
Galway Racecourse manager John Moloney said he was conscious of the tough economic times.
“We can only offer every thanks possible to William Hill for their support of the Galway Races to date and wish them every success in the future.”
“Never before in the history of the Galway Plate have we seen the national and international interest in the race from trainers, owners, and the media, due in thanks to the efforts and work of William Hill in offering such an attractive prize fund of €250,000.”