Sunday 21 October 2018

I'm raring to go, 'very fit' Higgins tells racegoers

President Michael D Higgins with racegoers at the Galway Festival. Photo: Mark Condren
President Michael D Higgins with racegoers at the Galway Festival. Photo: Mark Condren

Sean O'Grady

President Michael D Higgins has told how he is in fighting form ahead of the upcoming presidential race, where he is seeking a second term in Áras an Uachtaráin.

Mr Higgins (77) joined attendees at the Galway Races yesterday where he presented the Galway Plate Steeplechase Handicap of €250,000 to trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Mark Enright with Clarcam.

"I always enter races in a very fit condition," he said.

Mr Higgins arrived on the racecourse soon after the gates opened in the afternoon and was accompanied by his wife Sabina. "The weather has cleared up and I hope the numbers will hold up as well because it's a very enjoyable and very important event in the summer in Galway," he said.

The Plate win was the fourth in five years for Gigginstown Stud owner and Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who was not in attendance at the meeting.

A total of 16,925 people attended the third day of the festival, down from 17,322 on the same day last year.

Sisters Gabrielle and Barbara Dunne from Galway don’t let the rain spoil their fun. Photo: Mark Condren
Sisters Gabrielle and Barbara Dunne from Galway don’t let the rain spoil their fun. Photo: Mark Condren

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was also among the racegoers and he fancied Mr Higgins's chances. "Obviously, he is the incumbent and he is the favourite. He's in the gate and he's going again. There's going to be a race."

Punters passed through the turnstiles amid heavy rain and winds but the skies cleared later in the afternoon.

Galway Plate winner Mark Enright celebrates with his trophy. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Galway Plate winner Mark Enright celebrates with his trophy. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Racegoer Natasha Kelly from Galway. Photo: Mark Condren
Racegoer Natasha Kelly from Galway. Photo: Mark Condren

Irish Independent

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