Galway Race Committee honoured for its contribution to horse racing

Date Published: {J}

STEPHEN GLENNON

Galway Race Committee has been honoured for its contribution to horse-racing by the Irish Turf Club, receiving a prestigious award in recognition of a contribution to the sport that dates back almost 150 years.

The award was accepted by Chairman of Galway Race Committee, Tim Naughton at the Moyglare Stud dinner at the K Club on Saturday night, with Mr Naughton highlighting that the Committee had no idea the Galway Races was to be honoured.

“We were not expecting it,” said Mr Naughton, who was part of a small Galway contingent – that also included Racecourse Manager John Moloney – to attend the glitzy event.

“The award was for Contribution to Horse-Racing and Breeding. A racecourse had never won this award before; it was always presented to a top breeder or trainer. So, it is a prestigious award.”

The presentation was made by the former Turf Club Senior Steward, John McStay, along with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, who was the guest of honour at the Moyglare Dinner.

In making the presentation, Mr McStay said that Galway held a very special place in the heart and minds of all those interested in racing. He particularly noted the Festival meeting at the end of July which “year in, year out attracts record crowds to Ballybrit”.

Indeed, Mr Naughton believed this was the secret of Galway’s success. “I think the strength of the racecourse has been its loyal customers,” he says. “We have great customers and as long as they are happy leaving the racecourse, then they will keep coming back again.”

While the history of the Galway Races dates back to August 1869, Mr Naughton said Lord Killanin’s appointment as Chairman of the Race Committee in the early 1970s was instrumental in setting in motion a train of development that has resulted in the venue not only becoming a top horse-racing destination but also an attractive tourist destination.

Mr Naughton said that many who attend the Summer meeting of the Galway Races might “never have been near a racecourse before” but says that if this event can convert a small percentage into “occasional race-goers”, then that, in turn, would have a positive impact on the sport.

Mr Naughton – who recognised the work of past committees – also praised the contribution of the staff of Galway Racecourse. He noted that in the last four decades, Galway has had just two full-time secretaries, namely Luke Mullins and John Moloney.

While he noted Mr Mullins’ tenure focused primarily on developing the track, Mr Naughton said Mr Moloney had been to the fore in developing all elements of the track.

“John has all the gifts,” he praised.

He said Galway Racecourse was also very lucky to have people of the calibre of Tom and Gerry Broderick working at the course, while the office staff, he maintained, was second to none.

 

“Of course, we are also very lucky to have very good horses, trainers and breeders visit the track over the years,” said a delighted Mr Naughton.

No doubt, Galway Racecourse – which has a staggering 44,000 plus followers on Facebook – has been to the forefront of Irish racing, winning The Powers Gold Label/Irish Independent Racecourse of the Year for 2005 and opening the impressive €22 million Killanin Stand in 2007.