The gods sent the sun yesterday — well, kind of — as the real racing business of the week arrived: the Galway Plate.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was the man of the hour with Lord Scoundrel coming home at 10/1 to make a good day for the bookies even better. It’s been a pretty good year for O’Leary as he has already landed the Grand National and Gold Cup this year.
Fresh-faced 20-year-old Donagh Meyler from Kilkenny was the jubilant rider, the young jockey looking like all his Christmases had come at once after landing the biggest win of his career.
“It’s still sinking in, sure. Growing up watching the lads winning and thinking, ‘I hope that’s me one day’, so it’s great,” he said.
Looking equally chuffed were the bookies who hosed the punters after favourites fell by the way side all day.
Coral’s Nicola McGeady was looking pleased but said there was plenty more left in the punters.
“With two odds-on favourites getting turned over, and the defeat of the hugely popular Road To Riches in the feature race, the bookies are well and truly smiling,” she said.
“However, we won’t be counting our chickens before they hatch as there is four more days left for punters to seek revenge.”
Hayley O’Connor of Ladbrokes said ladies could bring even better news for bookies.
“It could well go down as Wonderful Wednesday for us bookmakers. The course was awash with the confetti of torn-up dockets and we’ll be walking tall on our arrival for Ladies Day,” she said.
We’re not yet at the halfway point and the punters still have time to burst our bubble so we won’t be making our way to the champers tent just yet.”
Monday and Tuesday are always a bit of fun but Wednesday is when the real racing fans turn out. The crowds swell and the big spenders come to town.
There was even the old Celtic Tiger familiar hum of helicopters in the sky.
While Gore-Tex was the fashion du jour for the first couple of days, it was back to more high-end looks for the Galway Plate: hats, high heels, and lots of champagne flutes.
A glance at the weather forecast does not, unsurprisingly, make for good reading as the ladies get set to turn out today.
As for my own luck, after more years than I care to remember of failing to land a winner, it appears the worm has finally turned.
I took €120 after putting €10 each way on Creggs Pipes on Tuesday and collected a cool €132 after backing Our Kylie yesterday. And another €90 came my way after backing Mr Meyler on Lord Scoundrel.
After years of handing my money to the bookies, it was nice to return with a winning slip and a slightly heavier wallet.
Plus it’s a long party week in the west and my few hundred euro definitely helps on that front.
Roll on Ladies Day. Rain, hail, or shine, come what may I will have a smile on my face at the end of the week.
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