You've Got To Experience Ballybrit

 ''And it's there you'll see the jockeys and they mounted on so stately

The pink, the blue, the orange and green, the emblem of our nation

When the bell was rung for starting all the horses seemed impatient

I thought they never stood on ground, their speed was so amazing''

So The Dubliners sang when they relayed the experience of the Galway Races to top the charts in 1967.

Some people wonder what all the fuss is about, and really it is a case of you've got to experience it yourself to believe it.

My flying visit this year was confined to a lightning visit on day 2 which was, as The Dubliners sang, a day full of stories.

The undoubted headline, Willie Mullins' 4th winner.

Ridden by Danny Mullins, Riven Light was a 10-to-1 victor of the Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle, to bring Willies' winning festival total to four.

But what a few months it has been for Riven Light - a horse that last October was on the brink of death at the other side of the world.

After a Group One race at the Caulfield track in Melbourne, where Riven Light sustained a fracture, with his life hanging by a thread and the real prospect of having to be put down looming.

What a great story less than nine months later.


I felt like I should have been put down after being persuaded by Ballybrit's marketing supremo Sinead Cassidy to partake in a zorb race to raise money for injured jockeys.

Galwegians Ollie Canning and Eanna Ryan along with Kildare jockey Katie Walsh also succumbed to Sinead's negotiating skills.

I now think I know what it feels like to be a hamster in a wheel.

But it's likely the pre event diet might need to be reviewed.

After a series of dirty tricks which I won't get into here Portumna's Ollie Canning was declared a winner.

But its not as easy as it seems!

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Speaking of dishes my top tip for Ballybrit does not have four legs.

If you have any few bob left after your day in the betting ring you have GOT to try the breaded oysters from Maree Shellfish celebrating 30 years at the venue.

Cormac and Jimmy Killilea are pucking them out next to the Guinness tent.