And they're off…as details of the 2012 Galway Races Summer Festival, running from Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August are announced at the official launch in the g Hotel, Galway, Wednesday 11th July at 12noon.
The Galway Race Committee is proud to unveil the new Galway Plate, in association with Galway Plate Day sponsor, Tote Ireland, who has renewed their sponsorship for a further three years. Tote Ireland commissioned NCAD (the National College of Art & Design) to design and manufacture a new Galway Plate for the 2012 festival which will be presented to the winning owner of the Galway Plate. Designed by third year industrial design student and Dublin Native Matthew Lynch, the new plate, stays true to the origins of the original silver plated design first created in 1869 but brings a new modern look to the creation.
Over 150,000 punters are set to descend upon the track at Ballybrit over the 7 days of racing, where 52 sponsored races will go to post. Boasting an enviable total prize-fund of €1.6 million it's no surprise the Galway Races has become one of the biggest racing festivals in the world. Speaking at the launch, Tim Naughton , Chairman of Galway Race Committee said "Again this year's festival promises to be as successful as ever with all races fully sponsored in these challenging time's".
Europe's longest running racing festival, the Galway Races, kicks off on Monday 30th July with 'Galway's Best Hotel's Race Day, where a collection of Galway hotels including; the Carlton Hotel, G Hotel, Hotel Meyrick, Radisson Blu, Galway Bay Hotel, Claregalway Hotel, Clayton Hotel, Galway Oyster Hotel and the Pillo Hotel have come together to sponsor the opening day of racing. The first race is off at 4pm with the feature race sponsored by the Carlton Hotel.
Monday is traditionally 'Sports Hero' evening at the track, where many of the country's leading sports stars descent on Ballybrit from the world of GAA including winners of the Leinster Hurling Championship - Galway Hurling Team, Connacht and Irish Rugby internationals and Soccer stars will mingle with renowned flat and jump jockeys. Today FM's leading sports commentator, Paul Collins will take to the stage and check out the form and going with the stars for the week's racing.
Galway milliner Suzie Mahoney and TV3's Noel Cunningham will also go in search of the 'Most Appropriately Dressed Lady', while a bridal party with a difference will open the first day of racing. The novel fundraiser in aid of Special Olympics will see ladies donning their wedding dresses once more to run 200 metres before the first race on the opening day of the festival.
Topaz is once again the principal sponsor of racing on Tuesday 31st July when their three races are headlined by the €115,000 Topaz Mile EBF Handicap. Well-known western business Caulfield Industrial sponsor three of Tuesday's races and the Latin Quarter Steeplechase is backed by Galway city's prime entertainment sector. Racing gets underway at 4pm.
Wednesday's traditional Galway Plate Day has a prize fund of €200,000 from Tote Ireland for the Galway Plate, the feature race of the day on Wednesday, 1st August when the newly designed Galway Plate will be presented to the winning owner. The first race off at 3pm and the entire card of racing is fully sponsored by Tote Ireland.
The Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap is the racing highlight on Thursday 2nd August, as Guinness continues their sponsorship of the €260,000 hurdle race - the richest national hunt race to run in Ireland this year. For the first time on Guinness Galway Hurdle Day, Galway Races will be staging it's first listed race to be run during the Summer Festival. This race will attract some of the high class Fillies which are in training this year. Racing gets underway at 1.50pm.
The ever-popular Ladies Day is an absolute must for fashionista's as Anthony Ryan's celebrates 10 Years of sponsoring the Best Dressed Lady Competition at Galway Races Ladies Day. Former Miss World Rosanna Davison joins the judging panel, alongside Fashion editor of the Irish Independent Bairbre Power and Editor of Social & Personal Magazine PJ Gibbons. With a prize fund of €20,000 it's the premier fashion event on the Irish racing calendar.
Friday 3rd August is once again generously sponsored by Guinness and is the official designated Sports & Social evening, offering the perfect corporate or social club event for work colleagues or friends getting together for an evening of racing and craic. The first race is off at 5.10pm with a full evening of racing entertainment planned.
'Ladbrokes Red Day' on Saturday 4th August invites race goers to dress to impress in red with fantastic prizes up for grabs for the winning outfit! Racing starts from 2.30pm and the main race of the day is the Ladbroke's Handicap valued at €40,000.
'Mad Hatters Day' is Family Day at the races on Sunday 5th August. Patrons young and old are invited to don a mad hat to be in with a chance to win fabulous prizes which will be judged by renowned Galway milliner Mark T. Burke. The top prizes on the day is a trip to Milan, while the winning prize for the children's Mad Hatter is a trip to Disneyland, Paris sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock. The Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase is the main race on final day of racing with the first race off at 2.15pm with Easyfix, Galway Bay FM, Galway Shopping Centre, Martinstown Stud and the Trappers Inn sponsoring the supporting races.
Children and Teenagers under 16 years of age when accompanied by their parent(s)/guardian(s)will be admitted free of charge to the Summer Festival Meeting. Any child or teenager who is unaccompanied by their parent(s)/guardian(s) will have to pay the Student Admission Fee for that day.
Be part of the Adrenalin-pumping action, heart-stopping finishes and breath-taking fashion from Monday 30th July to Sunday 5th August 2012. For further details on the Galway Races Summer Festival 2012 and to avail of Special offers or group discounts please call 091-753870, email
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