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Races off to perfect start with numbers up on last year

The Galway Races are off to a flying start, with crowds topping last year’s figures for the opening days of the week-long festival.

Despite the rain early on Monday, the sun came out late in the day and so too did the crowds as numbers were up by over 1,500 on last year.

Some 16,718 turned out for the opening evening when the home crowd roared home Craughwell jockey Danny Gilligan who was first past the post in the Easyfix Handicap Hurdle aboard the JP McManus-owned Neveradullmoment.

A better day weatherwise on Tuesday maintained the upward trajectory, as crowds hit 13,506, up almost 400 on the 2022 numbers – ahead of the traditional big Plate and Hurdle days yesterday and today.

Galway Races Chief Executive Michael Moloney said signs were on for a very positive result for organisers, with bumper crowds due out on Friday if pre-sale tickets were anything to go by.

“We’ve had great numbers so far and the weather is playing a part in that. We’d a very wet Monday morning and because of that, we were probably preparing ourselves for a smaller crowd, but the sun came out.

“And even in the rain, people seem used to Galway’s July weather and they’re still coming out,” said Mr Moloney.

Following on from yesterday’s (Wednesday) prestigious Galway Plate, all eyes are fixed on the Handicap Hurdle today (Thursday) at 17.05 when the Willie Mullins-trained Zarak the Brave is set to go off as favourite – and Tudor City chases a historic third win in the race.

The high fashion stakes also get underway today, with Ladies’ Day offering €10,000 in cash for the best dressed lady. Head gear will also have its moment in the sun, or the rain as the case may be, as contenders for ‘best hat’ battle it out for €3,000 in prize money.

Pictured are Andrea Pintea, Corrandulla, Shauna Hanly and Aoife Murphy, both from Corrandulla, Aoife Murphy, Turloughmore and Emily Noone, Knockdoe, at the Galway Races.

Get the full coverage and photos from Ballybrit in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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