Slight drop in total attendance at this year’s Galway festival

Galway-Tipperary All-Ireland hurling semi-final may have hit final-day crowd

The total attendance for this year’s Galway racing festival was 137,682, a slight drop (almost 0.9 per cent) from last year’s tally of 138,909.

Course officials pointed to the impact of the Galway-Tipperary All-Ireland hurling semi-final in Croke Park as a counter-attraction that saw Sunday’s attendance (9,874) drop by almost 30 per cent on last year (13,926).

Not surprisingly bookmaker turnover on the festival’s final day was also affected ,with layers handling €424,125 compared to €741,477 a year ago. It contributed to an overall drop of €641,034 in bookmaker business for the week.

Bookmakers bet over €7.3 million for the seven days, down from almost €8 million in 2016.


The Tote was slightly up on Sunday to €715,679 from €712,465. Overall, however, Tote turnover fell €458,141 during the week, finishing at just over €6.2 million for the seven days.

A double on the final day through Arbre de Vie and Ainsi Va La Vie confirmed Willie Mullins as the festival's top trainer for a second year running, with a total of 12 winners.

However, it was cross-channel trainer Brian Ellison who took centre-stage on the final day, saddling a 1-2-3 in the Ahoonora Handicap led by Dream Walker. It was the fourth year in a row Ellison has won Galway's final day feature.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column