Sunday 23 November 2014

Legendary broadcaster Colm Murray remembered on Day Two of the Galway Races

Published 29/07/2014 | 15:48

Day Two of the Galway Festival kicked off at 5pm today, but punters have been spilling through the turnstiles at Ballybrit racecourse since lunchtime.

Organisers are expecting up to 20,000 people to take in the sporting action this evening and there is plenty to keep them occupied as the main event, the Topaz Mile Handicap boasting prize money of €115,000, gets underway.

As well as soaking up the atmosphere at the suburban venue and making the most of a bright, sunny afternoon, horse racing enthusiasts have been remembering RTE pundit Colm Murray, on the anniversary of his death.

A special tribute to the late broadcaster was included in today’s race card, noting the commentator’s contribution to the sport.

29 July 2014; Enjoying a day at the races are, from left, Michelle McDonagh, Sara Ní Chuirreain and Aisling McDonagh, all from Rossaveal, Co. Galway. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
29 July 2014; Enjoying a day at the races are, from left, Michelle McDonagh, Sara Ní Chuirreain and Aisling McDonagh, all from Rossaveal, Co. Galway. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Tim O'Connor, from Tralee, Co. Kerry, looks up the form ahead of the day's races. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Surreal and jockey Gary Carroll (Yellow Cap) Win The Caulfield Industrial Athlone Handicap.
Enjoying a day at the races are, from left, Lisa McGrath, Mary Foley, and Claire McGrath, all from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
A general view of a racecard seller waiting for racegoers to arrive of the day's races. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Shield, left, with Robbie Power up, jumps the last ahead of Here For The Craic, centre, with Davy Condon up, who finished fifth, and Queen Alphabet, right, with Davy Russell up, who finished second, on their way to winning the Topaz Novice Hurdle. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
A general view of a racecard seller waiting for racegoers to arrive of the day's races. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
29 July 2014; Legatissimo, right, with Wayne Lordan up, crosses the finishing post ahead of Tamadhor, left, with Chris Hayes up, who finished second, and Chinese Light, with Pat Smullen up, who finished third, on their way to winning the Topaz E.B.F. Fillies Maiden. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Jockey Gary Halpin with Vastonea after winning the Topaz Mile Handicap. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
29 July 2014; (Editors please note; This black & white image has been created from an original colour file) A general view of a racegoer looking up the form ahead of the day's races. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
29 July 2014; Jockey Gary Halpin with the winners trophy after he rode Vastonea to victory in the Topaz Mile Handicap. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Vastonea, right, with Gary Halpin up, comes to the finishing post ahead of Baraweez, centre, with Colm O'Donoghue up, who finished third, and Piri Wango, left, with Colin Keane up, who finished second, to win the Topaz Mile Handicap. Galway Racing Festival, Ballybrit, Co. Galway. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Murray passed away at 61, three years after being diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.

“The large attendance stood in silence when the announcement was made; that showed the enormous respect that the racing family had for Colm, who was such a popular figure at Ballybrit and throughout Ireland.

“The Galway Race Committee would like to remember a wonderful friend today and recognise the huge role Colm played in bringing the sport of Kings to a huge audience,” the message reads.

There will be no moment of silence, but Murray will be honoured at a mass service, to be held at the track on Sunday for patrons.

“We have had the mass every year since 2000, it will be celebrated by our local parish priest and we’ll remember Colm fondly,” Ballybrit racecourse manager John Moloney told Independent.ie.

Mr Moloney said that Murray’s presence is “still very much felt” at the grounds and that he will be looking down on the proceedings this week.

“A lot of people are mentioning Colm this week,” added Murray’s close friend Jonathan Mullin added.

“He was synonymous with Irish horse racing and he loved racing. He’s greatly missed and it’s hard to believe he’s gone a year.”

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