Galway racecourse chief Moloney hoping clouds will break for festival


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway racecourse chief Moloney hoping clouds will break for festival Galway racecourse chief Moloney hoping clouds will break for festival

IN the midst of a dry summer, Michael Moloney was hardly tempted to do a rain dance 12 month ago given the Galway Racecourse’s proven own irrigation system, but it’s a different weather issue on the eve of the Summer Racing Festival.

A wet June and July has doused the track with 270mms of rain, leaving Galway’s Chief Executive crossing his fingers that Ballybrit will be spared any more drenchings in the run-up to the country’s most popular race meeting.

With the National Hunt track already yielding and the flat course on the soft side, further heavy rain could see ‘top of the ground’ big-race contenders bypassing the festival, although the long-term forecast suggests the weather will improve as race-week progresses.

“We don’t want a huge amount of additional rain, but the track is quick to dry. On the one hand, it takes the pressure off the lads in having to irrigate the course – the staff would have been doing 12 or 14-hour days last year.

“Naturally, the rain brings other concerns. It’s a seven-day festival and you are trying to get through it with the amount of ground and the runners we have. It will be a testing week if we get much more rain.”

Moloney reported that advance tickets sales were up on 2022 and that corporate hospitality was already booked out for the opening six days of the festival. “The figures look really positive, and we are ahead of where we were last year.”

He referred to changing trends around the festival, notably racegoers opting for day-trips to Ballybrit rather than staying around the city for a couple of nights, but still expects big crowds next week.

“I think the indications are certainly good. Places like Ballinrobe and Killarney have been getting decent crowds recently and that’s a positive trend for us.”

Pictured: Chief Executive of Galway Racecourse Michael Moloney who is expecting big crowds to descend on Ballybrit again next week. Photo: Iain McDonald.

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