The Galway Races Summer Festival was officially launched yesterday at the Marker Hotel in Dublin. A glamorous gathering of fashion, sport and business laid down a marker of their own for the estimated 150,000 racegoers that will be heading West at the end of the month.

With fifty-two races over the seven days, each day now offers a minimum prize fund of €100,000 for the feature race. The overall prize fund has been increased by €123,000 on last year’s Festival and now exceeds €2 million.

On the opening day of the Festival, Monday 31st July Galway Racecourse will host a special opening ceremony on a day themed ‘Gather Your Tribe’ in the City of the Tribes, Galway. Racegoers will be warmly greeted by vibrant tribal drummers at the two main entrances. Guests can then make their way to the parade ring before the horses arrive for the first race to witness a performance by the Galway Tenors.

First race on Monday is at 5.20pm with a host of local businesses continuing their association with the Galway Races Summer Festival. Sponsors on the day include The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway Bay Hotel, Claregalway Hotel, Clayton Hotel Galway, Easyfix, McGettigan’s and Eventus, while The Connacht Hotel once again sponsor the feature race of the evening, the €100,000 Connacht Hotel Qualified Riders Handicap.

Festival Village

A new Festival Village will offer craft beer, a shopping village, big screen to watch the racing, betting facilities and live music all week with resident DJ’s and local bands.

Colm Quinn BMW Athlone and Galway are on board again for the second year running as title sponsor on Tuesday evening with first race off at 5.20pm. This sponsorship covers three valuable races across a top-class card, culminating in the day’s feature race, The Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap of €120,000.

Tote Ireland continue their sponsorship of the Wednesday card, with the feature race the Tote.com Galway Plate now worth €250,000. Racegoers will also get to soak up the sounds of the best of traditional Irish music.

With a strong association at the Festival for many years, Guinness are once again title sponsors on Thursday and Friday with the famous Guinness Galway Hurdle, worth an impressive €300,000, a race that draws huge attention on the day traditionally referred to as Ladies Day.

The g Hotel & Spa Best Dressed Lady and Best Hat competitions take place on that day with prizes worth €12,000. Judges on the day will be General Manager of the hotel Triona Barrett together with television star Aoibhín Garrihy, Irish radio and television personality Baz Ashmawy, and fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power.

Friday features the Guinness Handicap valued at €100,000.

New Sponsor

Saturday’s feature race has a new sponsor with Galway Shopping Centre now sponsoring the handicap hurdle worth €100,000. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature family entertainment with Sunday also hosting a Mad Hatters Competition for children, sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.

The leading trainer award at Galway Races Summer Festival is once again sponsored by Chanelle Veterinary, Ireland’s leading veterinary supplier and manufacturer of veterinary pharmaceuticals. Rooney’s sponsor the leading jockey award, with an individual prize being handed out to the week’s leading flat and national hunt riders, while the fund for the best turned out prize awarded at the beginning of every race, is backed by Paddy Power bookmakers.

“Our committee are delighted with the record breaking level of prize money at the Summer Festival this year,” said Galway Race Committee Chairman Peter Allen.

“It is with credit to all our sponsors and to Horse Racing Ireland that we have been in a position to provide fantastic prizemoney and an exciting programme is on the cards for 2017. We look forward to offering some great racing and entertainment during the Festival. The success of the Galway Races would certainly not be possible without the hard work and support of so many, and for that we are immensely grateful.”

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