Friday 20 October 2017

Racing fans begin the Bank Holiday weekend in style for final furlong of festival

Race-goers enjoy the Galway Races.
Race-goers enjoy the Galway Races.
Aoibhin Garrihy judged the Best Dressed Lady contest at the Galway Races this week. Photo: Tony Gavin
Aoibheann McMonagle from Falcarragh at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
Twins Graine and Gemma Buike from Newcastle West at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
Emma Curtis, Monaghan, at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
Rebecca Rose Quigley from Monaghan at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
Sharon Barrett from Belmulet, Co. Mayo at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
GALWAY
Doireann Garrihy one of the judges of the Athlone Towncentre Fair Lady competition at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
Rebecca Rose Quigley from Monaghan, winner of the Athlone Towncentre Fair Lady competition at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin
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Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

It seemed appropriate that a horse named Whiskey Sour won the feature race of the day at Galway as the festival entered the final furlong.

There were more than a few people having a 'straightener' on day five as the hectic pace of the annual shin-dig started to take its toll on the die-hard racing fans in attendance.

But with the Galway Races reaching its final stages, it was important to put in a strong finish.

The going was easy at Ballybrit as thousands of racing fans started off their Bank Holiday weekend in style with a trip out to the course to try and pick a winner. Spirits were high as throngs of locals caught up with old pals ahead of another huge sporting occasion tomorrow, Galway's hurling semi-final against Tipperary in Croke Park.

Margaret Nolan, Co Kilkenny, and Sarah Cusack, Co Waterford Photo: Tony Gavin
Margaret Nolan, Co Kilkenny, and Sarah Cusack, Co Waterford Photo: Tony Gavin

One of the most relaxed meetings of the week, Friday is when all the 'fresh meat' arrives to take the place of the more fatigued punters heading home battered and bruised from too much festival fun.

Taking up the baton from her sister Aoibhin Garrihy, who was down judging the previous day, was Snapchat star Doireann Garrihy. She was overseeing Friday's Fair Lady best dressed competition alongside Marietta Doran as they looked for a worthy winner of the €2,000 prize package.

Dressed in an edgy shorts-and-jacket combo, she hit the high street for her entire ensemble.

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Doireann Garrihy one of the judges of the Athlone Towncentre Fair Lady competition at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin

Her first time to oversee a fashion competition, she promised to go easy on the attendees and said she was looking for something "funky, fresh and original".

Kelly Maguire, Co Westmeath. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kelly Maguire, Co Westmeath. Photo: Tony Gavin

"I don't think I'll be cut-throat," she said.

She had also taken tips from her actress sibling on how to survive the day.

Rebecca Rose Quigley, from Clones, Co Monaghan Photo: Sportsfile
Rebecca Rose Quigley, from Clones, Co Monaghan Photo: Sportsfile

"Aoibhin was flat out. She's like a dead person today. She was like, 'People are going to be pulling you and dragging you in different directions, just keep focussed, get the job done and then put the feet up and enjoy yourself'," she said.

The 'winner alright' was Rebecca Rose Quigley for her pink and grey dress which she picked up a boutique in Louth with a bowl-shaped hat by Laura Hanlon.

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Rebecca Rose Quigley from Monaghan, winner of the Athlone Towncentre Fair Lady competition at The Galway Races. Photo: Tony Gavin

The Monaghan teacher admitted she had entered Ladies Day with no luck but had trounced her competition in yesterday's fashion event.

Down on the track, the 7/4 favourite Whiskey Sour trained by Willie Mullins drew huge cheers after winning the Guinness Handicap.

Galway race-course manager Michael Moloney hailed the week as a success, despite crowds being lower on Ladies Day with a drop of about 2,000 on last year.

"We've had a great week. We've been up for the first four days and the Tote turnover was up as well for the first two days," he said.

"It looks like a big crowd here today again. I wouldn't be surprised if there was 30,000 here. Today, we have seen a big influx of a new crowd with the bank holiday weekend, coming down to enjoy Galway, coming down to the west for the weekend."

And although the whirl of helicopters was once again heard over Ballybrit all week, he said the boom definitely wasn't back, with Ladies Day resembling a scene from 'Platoon' back in 2007, with 300 landings in one day alone.

Irish Independent

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