Galway Races: President advises punters to go the distance

A pretty good few weeks for the county after its hurling exploits has continued as the Waterford-trained Shanahan’s Turn was the big winner landing the Galway Plate at 16/1 in the Galway races.

Galway Races: President advises punters to go the distance

In fact, it was a good result for Munster with Cork getting in on the action, as the horse was ridden by 19-year-old Corkman Jonathan Burke, who only turned professional last year. His father Liam Burke is also a prominent point-to-point trainer in the the Rebel County.

Monday and Tuesday is the fun stuff but Wednesday in Ballybrit is when the big boys come out to race. Punters and bookies had their serious faces on as they prepared to go to battle. Either that or they were all hungover. Given the numbers on Shop St on Tuesday night, the latter is also a distinct possibility.

If you have ever been racing in Galway on the Monday or Tuesday and thought it was busy, then you need to come here on Galway Plate Day. It’s a whole other world of crazy. Attendances double from around 20,000 to over 40,000. Gambling sardines all praying for a big win.

Guest of honour for the day was President Michael D Higgins, who always enjoys a flutter in Galway, but was keeping shtum on any wild days he had in Ballybrit in the past.

“ Obviously, in my changed position I can’t tell you anything about the evenings of the Races but I’m sure you’re more than capable of finding those out for yourself...Everyone knows apart from occasional rock and roll outings I’ve lived a very conservative life,” he said.

As for luck in the betting ring, the President had some wise words for the serious folks here for the week.

“ For the people who come and stay for the full week, the early days are very challenging for them.

“There’s a full week to come and like in everything, like in the world of politics, you have to plan everything for the long distance,” he said.

It’s been a good few weeks for Galway. The Arts Festival, racing and they are still in the hunt for the Liam McCarthy and Sam Maguire. Even the weather is good. Things were looking so good, RTÉ racing presenter Tracy Piggott was mulling moving here altogether.

“It’s been a brilliant week so far. I love Galway. If I didn’t live where I live in Kildare I’d live here. I just love it, it’s a special place. And this is my 27th Galway festival. I swam across Galway bay here in 1998 so that really cemented a special relationship with the place and the people of Galway who were so generous.”

Tracy also was remembering her friend and colleague Colm Murray on the second anniversary of the broadcaster’s death.

“I can’t believe it’s been two years. It has gone very quickly. I was talking about him recently because we used to do corporate gigs together and he used to have me in stitches. He’s sorely missed.”

Racing: 24-27

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