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Gaybo - I'll have a flutter on my race

HE'S not usually a betting man, but veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne will "drop a few shillings" to toast his 50th wedding anniversary in style this weekend.

The RTE presenter (80) and his wife Kathleen will be honoured at the Curragh Racecourse on Saturday when a race named in their honour takes place as part of the seven-race programme, to mark their half-century of married life.

The 'Gay and Kathleen Byrne Celebrating 50 Years of Marriage Handicap' will kick off at 3.45pm at the Co Kildare track.

The former Late Late Show host told the Herald that while he may not be a seasoned horse-racing aficionado, he'll happily spend a couple of euros this time around.

"Our actual anniversary was June 25 and we did celebrate then, but this will be a nice occasion," he said.

"I've been to the Curragh over the years but I'm not ordinarily a horse-racing man. I wouldn't be surprised if a few quid left my pocket, it's all a bright idea and that we're happy to go along with."

Racing takes place at the Curragh on both this Saturday and Sunday.


"We thought it would be a good idea to give Gay and Kathleen a special day out with their family," Evan Arkwright, commercial 
manager of the Curragh Racecourse, said.

They will attend the meeting with their two daughters.

"We'll be in the parade ring afterwards to hand out the trophy to the winning jockey - it's all a bit of fun," Gaybo said.

It's been a summer of toasts for the broadcaster.

He turned 80 on August 5 and marked the milestone with a "small get together" in Co Donegal.

Now Gay, the chairperson of the Road Safety Authority, is hoping take life a little easier professionally.

While he is expected to return to the helm of his weekend Lyric FM radio programme in the autumn, his series One Night Only will not return as part of RTE's line-up.

Taking its place is The Imelda May Show, of similar format, which will start in October.

Gay's The Meaning of Life will return in the New Year, an RTE spokesperson told the Herald.