The Galway Summer Festival, one of Ireland’s most popular racing meetings, will be limited to a crowd of just 1,000 spectators per day.
The track had hoped to welcome up to 5,000 race-goers each day of the week-long match, which includes the Tote Galway Plate and Guinness Galway Hurdle, after submitting a detailed proposal to the Irish government in late June.
The Irish derby meeting at Curragh was held in front of 1,000 people in attendance as part of a government pilot, and that is the number Galway will have to stick to at the end of this month after responding to their request.
Ireland is negotiating its way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequent restrictions – and racetrack crowds generally remain restricted to 500 people, despite the success of the Curragh trial.
“We received news last night that we will be able to host 1,000 spectators each day of the Summer Festival,” said Michael Moloney, CEO of Galway.
“We know, given the support we’ve had over the past two weeks, that this will be very disappointing news for all of our fans who have been looking forward to the opportunity to possibly return to Balbert this year.
“In terms of sponsors and everyone who is looking forward to a larger audience this year, it’s disappointing.
“On the plus side, we are 7,000 more people than we had this time last year – and for those who were able to come to Ballybrit this year, we are delighted to have owners again and now a few audiences on top of that.
“We are definitely looking forward to making it an event worth participating in.”