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Galway Races

The Galway races is an Irish horse-racing festival that starts on the last Monday in July of every year.

The Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway, Ireland, plays host to the 7-day racing festival, one of the longest of all race meets that take place in Ireland.

The two busiest days of the festival are Wednesday when the Galway Plate is run, and Thursday when the Galway Hurdle takes place, as well as it being Ladies’ Day.

History

The first racing festival held at Ballybrit dates all the way back to 1869. What started as a 2-day affair gradually grew to a 7-day festival by 1999.

The Galway races summer festival is the highlight of the business season for most local business as people come from all over the world to take in the races.

Ballybrit Racecourse

Ballybrit Racecourse is located in the village of Ballybrit in Galway, Ireland. The course is a little over a mile long with a steep decline into the dip where the last two fences are situated. These fences are the closest two fences on any racecourse in the world.

Major Races

The two big races of the festival are the Galway Plate and the Galway Hurdle.

Galway Plate

The Galway Plate is a National Hunt Chase in Ireland open to horses aged four years and older. It is run at just a touch under 3 miles with 14 fences to be jumped. It is a handicap race and dates back to 1869, the year the festival began.

Currently sponsored by Tote Ireland, the Galway Plate has a purse of 250,000 Euros.

Leading Horse: Tipperary Boy – 3 wins (1899, 1901, 1902)

Overview of the Galway Plate

First Run
1869
Race Type
Steeplechase
Venue
Galway Racecourse – Galway, Ireland
Surface
Turf
Entry Requirements
Four-years-old and up, Handicap
Sponsor
Tote Ireland
Purse
250,000 Euros

Galway Hurdle

The Galway Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race open to horses aged four-year-old and up. Run over a distance of 2 miles with nine hurdles to be jumped, the race originated in 1913.

On two different occasions, the end of the race was declared a dead heat and two winners announced – 1961 was Cynge Noir and Newgrove, while 1975 saw Double Default and Spanner share the honor.

Leading Horse: Pinch Hitter – 2 wins (1982, 1983)

Overview of the Galway Hurdle

First Run
1913
Race Type
National Hunt Hurdle
Venue
Galway Racecourse – Galway, Ireland
Surface
Turf
Distance
2 miles
Entry Requirements
Four-years-old and up
Sponsor
Guinness
Purse
300,000 Euros

Additional race meetings take place during the fall but these are not nearly as popular as the Summer Festival which typically draws over 150,000 spectators throughout the week.

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