Galway Course Guide

Galway Racecourse is one of the most culturally iconic sporting venues in Ireland. Racing first took place there in 1869 and in modern times, the races take place in three individual clusters in July/August, September and October for a total of 12 race days.

It is the seven-day Galway Festival in July/August that has grown into one of the most celebrated racing festivals anywhere in the world. Over 140,000 people throng through the turnstiles over the course of the week and the social aspect of the meeting is legendary. The Festival is made up of primarily below-average but ultra-competitive racing on the Flat and under National Hunt rules, with the Galway Hurdle (now the most valuable National Hunt race in Ireland) and the Galway Plate taking centre stage. The betting markets at the Galway Festival are stronger than anywhere else in Irish racing and the battles between the bookmakers and punters have produced no shortage of legendary tales.


A right-handed track with a circuit of just over a mile and a quarter. There is a steep incline to the finish, but unless the ground is particularly testing the track is essentially sharp in character. The finishing straight is short at little more than a furlong.

A very tricky track! It really is unique, as it is very tight and you are constantly turning, but it also has one of the stiffest finishes in the country. They generally go a good pace as plenty usually want to be prominent and combined with the very steep finish, you don’t want to have any stamina doubts coming to Galway. Luck in running is a big factor, as there are often big fields there and they tend to race very tight due to the turning nature of the track. Hold-up horses often run into issues for this reason, as those weakening from the front end often fall back into their laps in what is usually a tight field anyway. A low draw is a big help in those seven-furlong/mile handicaps. I would always look for a horse that has shown they like Galway, as it really is a unique track and it very much produces course speciailists.

View from the saddle: Mick Kinane

A right-handed track with a circuit of just over ten furlongs. There is a steep incline to the finish but, unless the ground is particularly testing, the track is sharp in character, favouring handily-ridden horses. The chase course has seven fences to a circuit, with the final two fences very close together followed by a run-in of well over two furlongs. The hurdle course is laid out inside the chase course, until the final hurdle situated in the short finishing straight of little more than a furlong, and is even sharper in character than the chase course.

This is a track that really produces specialists and it’s no coincidence that the same horses go back there year after year and keep running well there. It’s a very hard track to ride, you need to give your horse breathers going up the hills but I feel it is even more important that, no matter how bad you are going, you have to let your horse travel down the hill before the turn in. You often see riders asking for effort coming down that hill and they rarely finish out their races. The final climb at Galway is the toughest in the country and horses have to be given a chance to gather themselves before they tackle it. The last two fences are obviously quite unique in how close together they are, but usually if you jump the first one well, you’ll jump the second one well. You see a lot more fallers at the second-last than the last, as horses tend to have built up momentum coming down the hill and that fence runs away from them a little bit. In general, the fences aren’t that stiff, but a good jumper can fall there as it’s tricky. As well as producing horses that are track specialists, I feel that some riders are better around there than others and that is something worth considering.

View from the saddle: Charlie Swan
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Last Update: 20/01/2021 12:00

13:20 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden
1m ½f | 2YO only | 5 ran
  • Winner: French Fusion 3/1 2Fav
  • Jockey: K J Manning Trainer: J S Bolger
  • Owner: Mrs J S Bolger & Miss Clare Manning
13:55 Kone Handicap
1m ½f | 3YO plus | 14 ran
  • Winner: Teed Up 7/4 Fav
  • Jockey: W J Lee Trainer: K J Condon
  • Owner: Robert Ng
14:30 Nursery Handicap
7f | 2YO only | 9 ran
  • Winner: Cisco Disco 11/4 Fav
  • Jockey: R P Whelan Trainer: Jack W Davison
  • Owner: Sunday Racing Club/Grey Lady Racing Syndicate
15:05 Corrib Food Products Maiden
7f | 3YO plus | 8 ran
  • Winner: Starting Monday 9/4 2Fav
  • Jockey: W J Lee Trainer: Gillian Scott
  • Owner: Starting Monday Syndicate
15:40 Barna Recycling Handicap
7f | 3YO plus | 16 ran
  • Winner: Excuzio Joe 8/1
  • Jockey: Sam Ewing Trainer: Matthew J Smith
  • Owner: Gordon Cranston
16:15 We Are In This Together Galway Handicap
1m 4f | 3YO plus | 13 ran
  • Winner: Advanced Virgo 16/1
  • Jockey: Sam Ewing Trainer: C Byrnes
  • Owner: Philip McGee
16:45 Claddagh Heroes Patrick And Morgan Oliver Handicap
1m 4f | 3YO plus | 18 ran
  • Winner: Final Endeavour 4/1 JFav
  • Jockey: G M Ryan Trainer: H Rogers
  • Owner: Mrs S Bury

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Galway Race Course
Co. Galway
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