The up-and-coming bookies hoping to have a week to remember in Galway
While major betting firms look set to flex their muscles over the intense seven-day Galway race festival, up-and-coming bookies are also hoping to make their mark this week.
Marcella McCoy, who runs her own independent betting firm, was on site early yesterday afternoon, determined to get a slice of the action.
The mother-of-two from Dundalk told the Irish Independent that she is now "full-time" with the venture, having previously worked in finance.
"I have 21 on-course bookmakers on racetracks and four in the North - two in Down Royal and Downpatrick," she said.
The business, named after Marcella, started out with bookmakers' shops but has since branched out to on-course outlets.
Asked why she decided to get into the cut-throat industry, Marcella said she is unafraid of taking risks.
"You have good times and bad times and it's always a risk, but I love it," she said.
"I love what I do, and I love dealing with customers every day and it's all about client base," she said.
"It's a full week of work. It'll be quite intense but the children are coming down on Thursday and they're coming down 'til Sunday," she added.
"Once you have a nice client base and you're nice to people, they come back to you.
Meanwhile, fellow bookie Sorcha Molloy from Moycullen, Co Galway, said there would be little time to get dolled up for Ladies' Day as she plans to hit the ground running.
"We're going to have a busy one, weather permitting," she said.
"It's always down to the weather, especially with the heels and especially for Ladies' Day," she added.
"There's always a great crowd around, especially in Galway city."
Sorcha, who has been working with bookmakers Hugo Hughes for two years, is a seasoned attendee at the Galway Races.
"I've been going to the races since I was knee-high, so that's where it came from," she said.
Sorcha also said that Wednesday and Thursday still tend to draw in the most crowds, with the biggest competitions scheduled for those days.
However, she said the early days are now becoming bigger.
"Monday evening is the popular evening, especially for the locals," she said.