What is the Galway Races Summer Festival?
The Galway Races Summer Festival, also known as the Galway Festival for short, is a seven-day gala of horse racing held in Western Ireland in late July. Taking place over an entire week, it is the longest race meeting held on consecutive days anywhere in the UK and Ireland.
When are the Galway Races taking place?
In 2022, the Galway Races will take place from Monday, 25 July to Sunday, 31 July inclusively.
Where is the Galway Festival held?
The Galway Festival is held at Ballybrit Racecourse in County Galway in the West of Ireland. The track is about 6km northeast of Galway itself.
What type of races are there during the Galway Festival?
There are events of both codes taking place during the Galway Races with Flat and National Hunt contests happening at the festival. Cards used to be mixed, but now each day is either dedicated to races over jumps or on the level. That means there are both steeplechases over fences and hurdle races, plus National Hunt Flat races, colloquially known as bumpers, taking place alongside Flat events.
The Galway Festival thus has the greatest variety of distances and contests from any horse racing meeting. From graded handicaps over jumps to Premier Handicaps on the Flat, there are also age-restricted races, and maiden and conditions contests, with some events enjoying Listed status.
What are the key Galway Races on each day of the Summer Festival?
There are feature races on each day of the Galway Festival starting with a Premier Handicap for Flat stayers on the Monday. Contested over an extended two miles, the Connacht Hotel (Q. R.) Handicap tests the stamina of horses aged four and up, rated 70-100 on the level.
On the second day of the Galway Races, the main event is the COLM QUINN BMW Mile Handicap; a Premier Handicap over an extended mile, which is open to horses aged three and up. Supporting this is a Listed race in the Corrib Fillies Stakes over seven furlongs for fillies and mares aged three and up.
The Galway Plate headlines the third day of the Galway Festival and is perhaps the most famous race that takes place during the entire meeting. Also open to horses aged four and up, this card on the Wednesday is the first dedicated to jumps horse racing.
On Galway Hurdle day, the Thursday, another of the Galway Races to look out for is the Grade 3 Rockshore Novice Steeplechase over about two-and-a-quarter miles.
The Friday of the Galway Races sees the Blazers Handicap Chase over the same course and distance as the Galway Plate run. On the hurdles course, meanwhile, the Guinness Handicap Hurdle, which enjoys graded status and is also open to horses aged four and up, takes place over almost two miles and seven furlongs.
During Saturday of the Galway Festival, the big race sees the focus switch back to the Flat. Headlining the penultimate day’s card is the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap over a mile-and-a-half. This is a middle-distance Premier Handicap for horses aged three and up. Finally, the Galway Races finish up on the Sunday when the Ahonoora Handicap takes place over seven furlongs.
Galway Summer Festival 2023 runs from 31 July to 6 August and you can get the best tips and betting insight on Betting.Betfair from Kevin Blake. This feast of action is one of the highlights of the season and our Irish racing expert is the perfect person to tell you whose yard is hot and which horses are likely to relish the conditions at Galway. He’ll provide expert insight on the big races, such as the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle, and recommend his best bets for the Festival.