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Galway Racing Festival gets go ahead but with significant changes to its programme

HRI announce full Flat programme for June and revised fixture list for July.

A view of the Galway Races.
A view of the Galway Races.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated May 21st 2020, 9:39 PM

HORSE RACING IRELAND (HRI) has released the full Flat programme for the month of June and the fixture list for July, including details of the Galway festival which will be run on its original dates. 

Irish racing returns behind closed doors with strict new HRI protocols in place at Naas on 8 June. The revised fixture list for July features 47 meetings, three more than in the original schedule. In recognition of the increased workload, there will now be three days (up from two) on which no racing takes place during the month. 

Jason Morris, HRI’s Director of Racing, said: “We recognise that there will be a large demand for opportunities to run and our aim is to provide all Flat horses with their first run as quickly as possible following the resumption of racing by offering a balanced programme across all age groups, distances and categories. There will be 53 Flat meetings up to the end of July with this objective in mind. 

There will also be 22 National Hunt fixtures programmed between June 22 and the end of July, compared to the equivalent of 17 meetings in the same period last year, to cater for the demands of the jumps horse population.

“There will be eight-race cards run at every opportunity where stable capacity allows, with the protocols requiring one stable per horse for hygiene reasons.” 

The Galway festival is being maintained as a seven-day event but there are significant changes to the traditional race programme.

The opening two days will host Flat races only while the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday fixtures will be all National Hunt. The meeting will conclude, in the first two days of August, with two all-Flat cards. The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle will be run on the Wednesday and Thursday as normal. 

The number of racedays at Killarney in July has been reduced from five to three which will be stand-alone fixtures on Tuesday July 7, Monday July 13 and Wednesday July 15. The two lost days will be rescheduled later in the year.

Racing will resume at Cork Racecourse which will host four fixtures, beginning with an all-Flat card on Sunday July 5. Bellewstown will stage three non-consecutive days in July, while two extra fixtures will be held at the Curragh on Friday July 10 and Sunday July 26, the latter featuring the Tattersalls Gold Cup. 

All race meetings will be a single code with no mixed meetings to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse on each day. Many cards have been programmed with the possibility of a divide included to respond as effectively as possible to the demands of the horse population. 

Afternoon and evening designations have been provided for fixtures but may be subject to change in a small number of cases. 

- First published today at 17.31

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Garry Doyle

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