120 primary school children go behind the scenes at HRI Racing Juniors education day at Galway Racecourse


 School children from Brierhill National School, Castlegar National School and Merlin Woods Primary School took part in a special Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) Racing Juniors education day at Galway Racecourse on Wednesday April 24 as the Ballybrit racecourse gears up for their Summer Festival which starts on Monday July 29 for seven days.

120 primary school children got to go behind the scenes at the County Galway racecourse and meet Athenry-based trainer Paul Gilligan and his racehorses Zeeband and Kings Hill. Paul explained what his job entails as a racehorse trainer as well as a typical day-to-day routine for his racehorses, their exercise schedule and diet, and how he prepares them to run in a race.

Jockey Amy Jo Hayes brought the children into the weighroom to show them the jockeys’ changing room and the kit jockeys wear and use on race days including boots, back-protector, helmet and saddle.

Racecourse Manager, Michael Moloney took the children on a course walk to see first-hand how the team prepare the track for a race meeting. They also met Sinéad Cassidy from Galway Races who led an interactive session with the students, demonstrating all the equipment used in caring for horses. In addition, RACE – the Racing Academy and Centre of Education, were on hand to give children an opportunity to ride the racehorse simulator.


Michael Moloney, Galway Racecourse Manager, commented: “We had a great day on Wednesday hosting our HRI Racing Juniors education day here at Galway Racecourse – it’s a day we love organising. The children’s energy and enthusiasm was fantastic and they were really interested to learn about all the different aspects of a race day and meet jockey Amy Jo Hayes in the weigh room and trainer Paul Gilligan and his horses Zeeband and Kings Hill in the stable yard. All the children received a Galway Races goodie bag including a family ticket to our Mad Hatters Day at our Summer Festival on Sunday, August 4, along with some merchandise and treats. We are looking forward to welcoming them back to the festival this summer.”

The objective of the HRI Racing Juniors education days is to encourage an affinity with racehorses among the younger generation and demonstrate the variety of careers available in the racing and breeding industry in Ireland.

HRI Racing Juniors education days are free to attend. To register your school’s interest for a HRI Racing Juniors education day at your local racecourse in 2024, please email: hriracingjuniors@hri.ie.