The Galway Races, Ireland’s largest horse racing festival officially launched today with details of some new additions…

The iconic and popular 148th Galway Races Summer Festival was officially launched today Monday 3rd July in the Marker Hotel Dublin. The seven-day horse racing Festival takes place at the end of the month, Monday 31st July to Sunday 6th August, which last year attracted 150,000 people. 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. Irelands’ leading owners, trainers and jockeys will all travel West in great hope of taking home a share of the prize money which has been increased to a record breaking two million euro!

Not alone has prize money been given a huge boost in Galway, but today details of some new additions were announced. 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 very special performance by the Galway Tenors. You won’t want to miss this!

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.

Situated beside the Killanin Stand, the new Festival Village will offer our racegoer a new destination at the Galway Races. Race goers will enjoy 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.

A special day itself with a race steeped in history, Tote Ireland continue their sponsorship of the Wednesday card, with the feature race Galway Plate now worth a staggering €250,000. Racegoers will also get to soak up the sounds of the best of traditional Irish music. Voted on the RTE television Ray D’Arcy Show as the ‘Traddest Family in Ireland’ we will have a lively performance by the ten-piece band, the Doohans from County Clare.

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. Friday features the Guinness Handicap valued at €100,000. The Galway Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle will undoubtedly be the most hotly contested handicaps of the summer racing season, attracting the top National Hunt horses in Ireland and the UK.

Taking place on Thursday the g Hotel & Spa Best Dressed Lady and Best Hat competitions are one of the most stylish events in the Irish social calendar and the lure of prizes worth €12,000 draws the fashion elite from all over Ireland. Following the success of their inaugural sponsorship, judges on the day will be General Manager of the hotel Triona Barrett joined by television star Aoibhín Garrihy, Irish radio and television personality Baz Ashmawy, with fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power.

Ladies who adore their fashion have another excuse to get dressed up with our popular Athlone Town Centre Friday’s Fair Lady competition. The Friday evening is a popular race meeting as we head into a Bank Holiday weekend and a race day that continues to grow in popularity among racegoers. Athlone Town Centre provide a fantastic shopping prize and break away to the lucky winner with the competition being judged by radio presenter Doireann Garrihy and Jane Swarbrigg from Inglot.

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 the fun and colourful Mad Hatters Competition, very popular with our race goers and young children, generously 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, won last year by Willie Mullins. 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 generously backed by Paddy Power bookmakers.

Speaking at the launch of the Galway Summer Festival, Galway Race Committee Chairman Peter Allen said that

Our committee are delighted with the record breaking level of prize money at the Summer Festival this year. 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.

Galway Racecourse today proudly launched a short video ‘The Week’ produced by a Galway based company ‘Heavy Man Films’ to draw on the nostalgia of the Galway Races. The short piece features former Head Groundsman Tom Broderick who worked on the racecourse for over fifty years, jockey Robbie Power, Gráinne Seoige, Mary Lee, Peter Timmins and trainer Gordon Elliott’s yard.

Widely regarded as the highlight of the Summer season in Ireland, Galway Races offers fantastic horse racing, live music and entertainment, fashion, family fun and an electric atmosphere that continues to draw people from all over Ireland and abroad. For more information and to book tickets to this Summer’s Galway Races visit