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Galway Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Galway Racecourse also known as Ballybrit Racecourse is located in County Galway, Ireland. Every August, Galway Racecourse hosts the 7-day Galway Races Festival which is the longest race meeting event within Ireland, as well as the whole of the United Kingdom.

Covering a distance of one mile and two furlongs, the course is right-handed and has a sharp incline to the finishing post. The facility hosts both National Hunt and Flat racing with a dozen fixtures scheduled into its racing calendar, which runs from July through until October. Historical events such as the Galway Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap are extremely popular and the latter race offers Ireland’s most valuable cash prize worth €260,000.

Racing at Galway began in 1764, when a five-day race meeting was arranged near Loughrea in Knockbarron. A century later, the first Western Plate Race was inaugurated, strictly for men who were members of the County Galway Hunt or had qualified for the Punchestown National Hunt races. For many centuries, the Galway Races have influenced songwriters and poets alike.

In 1869, the first racing festival was organised in Ballybrit. The August two-day meeting featured the introduction of the Galway Plate. A horse called Absentee claimed victory over the new steeplechase event. Documents indicate that an incredible 40,000 spectators turned up to enjoy the event. A nearby park was used as a temporary campsite to accommodate the race-goers. It was not long before the local racing scene embraced the Galway Plate as an important event. A spirited horse known as Tipperary Boy helped to elevate the Galway Plate’s profile with his three successes at the turn of the 20th century.

The Galway Hurdle was created in 1913, and also became part of the summer fixture. A horse named Red Damsel was the first to claim victory in the hurdle race. Together, these two fixtures made up the Galway Races Festival. Over the years, extra days were added and by 1999, the festival comprised of seven days in total. Today’s prize money is worth with €2 million.

The Galway Races Festival became so popular that the venue could barely cope with the visitor numbers. Eventually, improvements to the infrastructure were required. A new pub facility was created in 1955 and for a while, it boasted the world’s longest bar. The Millennium Stand was completed in 1999 as a replacement for the old Corrib Stand, while the Killanin Stand opened in 2007. It hasn’t always been horse racing that has grabbed the headlines at Galway racecourse. In 1979, over a quarter of a million people gathered at the track for the visit of Pope John Paul II.

Galway offers a range of ticket prices to suit all budgets. Entry is free for under-16s as long as they are accompanied by an adult. On Ladies Day, there is a prize for the best-dressed attendee.

Galway Racecourse has a multitude of bars and restaurants. In addition, there are on-site marquees offering champagne, Guinness and beer. The Killanin Stand includes Hospitality Suites and the Millennium Stand facilitates the Panoramic Restaurant. Other options include the Carvery Restaurant as well as numerous fast food shops. Top Festival Packages include entrance tickets for the stands, free car parking, complimentary champagne upon entry, race card, fine dining and Tote facilities.

Galway Racecourse organises many other popular race meeting throughout its racing calendar including the three-day September Meeting, with its Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes, the Deacy Gilligan Novice Steeplechase and the Guinness Handicap Steeplechase. October features the two-day Bank Holiday Meeting with its Faber Audiovisuals Ballybrit Steeplechase event and the Ennis Lifts Handicap Steeplechase.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind
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