Galway unveils positive changes to its 150th Summer Festival
Friday 10th May 2019
THE ROAD TO GALWAY
GALWAY UNVEILS CHANGES TO ITS RACE PROGRAMME
AHEAD OF THE 150TH SUMMER FESTIVAL.
On Monday 29th July, Galway Racecourse will stage its 150th Summer Festival. For a century and a half, people from all over Ireland and abroad have been coming to ‘Galway’ in their tens of thousands to enjoy the highly anticipated annual seven-day Galway Races. This year plans are in place for what will be an extra special year. Prize money has been boosted to a record-breaking level in Galway to over €2.3 million, an increase of €250,000 on last year.
Increased Prizemoney for thetote.com Galway Plate to €300,000 and Two New Qualifying Races. The hotly contested thetote.com Galway Plate on Wednesday 31st July, a race synonymous with Galway and key to the history of the Festival, has received a significant increase of €50,000 with the prize fund for the 150th running of this race now standing at €300,000.
New conditions are also in place which will be a welcome addition for those looking to gain entry and qualify for the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle. Two qualifying races will now be in place for the tote.com Galway Plate, a 2m 4f Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan on June 17th and a 2m 6f Handicap Chase in Limerick on July 13th, both of which will be sponsored by Galway Racecourse. The winners of these two races will now obtain an automatic place in thetote.com Galway Plate, provided that these horses are within the Handicap. A new qualifying race will also be in place for the Guinness Galway Hurdle, a 2m Handicap Hurdle at Bellewstown on July 6th. See notes to Editor for further details.
Galway Plate & Galway Hurdle – Consolation Races. In what will be a major boost to the Friday card of the Summer Festival, the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Steeplechase and the Guinness Handicap Hurdle will see a significant increase in prize money with each race valued at €80,000 for 2019, an increase of €50,000 per race. These two races are aimed at horses which do not make it into the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle, and will provide two additional competitive features on the Friday evening.
Changes to Declarations for Galway features
Entries for thetote.com Galway Plate & Guinness Galway Hurdle will now be released on the actual day of entries with the weights to follow, while declarations will be made at the 48-hour stage and a cut-off point for reserves of 10am on the day prior to the race. See notes to Editor for further details.
Michael Moloney General Manager of Galway Racecourse said “it’s been a very rewarding year planning for the 150th Galway Races Summer Festival and we are delighted to bring these very positive changes to our race programme and the prize money on offer. The increases are of huge credit to our sponsors and Horse Racing Ireland whose support has enabled us to offer some very generous prizes and feature race every day valued at a minimum of €120,000. We are very much looking forward to offering some great racing and entertainment here in Galway during the Festival.”
Director of Racing of Horse Racing Ireland, Jason Morris said that “HRI has been delighted to assist Galway racecourse and its sponsors in increasing prize money significantly at the Festival in recent years. It is only appropriate that winners at Ballybrit are appropriately rewarded given the extremely competitive nature of the racing and this will now be reflected in the much higher prize money on offer for the two high quality consolation events on the Friday. The earlier release of entries and declarations will assist the media and betting industry in promoting the tote.com Galway Plate and the Guinness Galway Hurdle. ”
Widely regarded as the highlight of the summer season in Ireland, after 150 years, ‘Galway’ continues to do what it has always done. It stirs the soul, makes our hearts beat that little bit faster, brings us together as families and generations and gives us an occasion to celebrate. It has survived and thrived. It is a race meeting like no other that creates a feeling like no other. The style, the entertainment, the sense of history and all the thrills of top-quality racing; thinking about it is enough to give you goose-bumps. Or, in other words, it’s enough to make your hair stand on end! For more information and to book tickets to this Summer’s 150th Galway Races visit www.galwayraces.com
Photography to accompany from Andrew Downes (087) 639 1500
For further information, or to arrange an interview with Michael Moloney, please contact:
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Notes to the Editor
- Total Prizemoney for 2019 stands at €2,309,500 (record) and increase of €252,500
- 150th Running of the thetote.com Galway Plate valued at €300,000 an increase of €50,000.
- Minimum Value Feature Race every day of €120,000. Minimum value of any race €17,000.
- Galway Plate & Galway Hurdle Entries will be released on the day of entries and the weights will follow.
- Galway Plate & Galway Hurdle will have 48 Hour Declarations.
- Galway Plate & Galway Hurdle Reserves will have the same conditions for reserves as the Irish Grand National with a cut-off point of 10am on the previous day when the remainder of the races at the meeting close for declarations and also similarly to the Irish Grand National if the top weight were to be a non-runner at this point and it resulted in an Alternative Handicap coming into effect then rider changes would be permitted until 12 noon, when ONOR bookings close for the reminder of the card.
- Galway Plate & Galway Hurdle Qualifying Races will be introduced with two qualifying races for the Galway Plate, namely the existing races 2m 4f Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan on June 17th 2019 and 2m 6f Handicap Chase Limerick on July 13th, 2019, with the winners of these races being guaranteed a place in the Galway Plate if they were to be in the handicap proper after the forfeit stage (the weights would be raised so that the top weight was not less than 11.10 at the forfeit stage). If the qualifying horses were to be out of the handicap at the forfeit stage and miss out on running in the Galway Plate, they would be eligible for free entry to the Galway Blazers if they were to run. There will be one qualifying race for the Galway Hurdle which will be the existing 2m Handicap Hurdle at Bellewstown on July 6th, 2019 with the same conditions re qualification, raising the weights and free entry for the Guinness Hurdle.
- Consolation Races will be introduced on the Friday of the Summer Festival namely the Guinness Galway Blazers Handicap Steeplechase – Valued at €80,000 Guinness Handicap Hurdle – Valued at €80,000. These races will remain as normal closing races, however any horse that is declared as a runner in the final field in either the Galway Plate or Galway Hurdle would not be able to declare for these races.