Prize money is set to hit a record high for this year's Galway Races, which start on July 27.
The fund of €1.8 million represents an increase of €160,000 over last year, boosting the prize money for the two main feature races, thetote.com Galway Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle.
The hurdle will now become the richest hunt race to be run in Ireland, increased by €50,000 to €300,000 this year to mark the 50th year of Guinness involvement with the Galway Races. The feature race on Wednesday, thetote.com Galway Plate has also been boosted by €20,000 to €220,000, with Tote Ireland renewing its sponsorship for another three years.
Each of the seven days will now feature a race with a minimum value of €80,000, while the minimum prize money for all festival races has been increased from a minimum of €10,000 in 2014 to €12,000 in 2015.
Rory Sheridan, head of Sponsorship at Diageo, says Guinness has achieved a new milestone with its continued sponsorship of the races for 50 years.
"The festival is always a phenomenal success with huge attendances and a fantastic atmosphere.”
And Tim Higgins, chief executive officer of Tote Ireland, says the Galway Races and Tote both have a long, proud tradition at the heart of Irish racing so the sponsorship is a great fit.
"The quality of the race really stands up especially when you look at the most recent winners – Road to Riches and Carlingford Lough.”
John Moloney, general manager of the Galway Racecourse, added: “We are delighted with the increases in prize money for our two feature races in 2015, sponsored by Guinness and Tote Ireland, as well as the record prize money on offer at the festival. It is a tribute to all our sponsors at Galway and to Horse Racing Ireland to be in a position to offer this level of prize money and we look forward to offering some great racing during the festival.”