Sun shines at Galway Races opening

Tue, Jul 31, 2012, 01:00

Twenty-five degrees and shirt-sleeved and short-skirted racegoers admiring the horses – Longchamps or Kentucky, surely? It couldn’t be Ballybrit, could it?

But last night it was, when the hordes of racegoers pushed their way through the turnstiles on the opening evening of Galway’s marathon summer racing festival.

The crowd of 17,710 was up slightly on last year. So too was the amount wagered with the bookies – last night’s €1,412,596 was more than €100,000 up on last year.

Last year trainer Dermot Weld smashed his own record by saddling 17 winners over the seven days. That remarkable figure is already under serious threat after he produced three of the first four winners last night, and not one of them started as the favourite.

“I said before racing that I didn’t think the Weld factor would be so great this year. But he’s making me eat my words,” said a rueful John Mulholland.

Mulholland, who owns a string of betting shops in Galway and also has a pitch at the heart of the serious action in the ring at Ballybrit, was feeling the pain under the evening sun. “I’ll have to give up this business if he continues like that,” he sighed.

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