Galway Racecourse is a dual-purpose racecourse located just outside the City of Galway. Galway Racecourse is most notably renowned for the marathon seven-day Festival held annually at the end of July/beginning of August, with a mixture of Flat and Jump Racing. The weekly attendance is usually around 130,000 people. The Galway Plate is the feature race of the week, which is held on Wednesday, while The Galway Hurdle is held the following afternoon, better known as Ladies’ Day.
Galway Course Characteristics
The course is a right-handed, undulating sharp track. The track has a 10f circuit and the Hurdle, Chase and Flat course have similar characteristics. The Hurdle Course is situated inside the Chase Course so is in fact sharper in nature. There is a steep incline to the finish line from the last turn which can be a real test of stamina. It is considered a “specialist track” due to the many turns and undulations.
For course information and going reports on the day, Galway Racecourse provide updates on their Twitter account
Galway Pace Bias
It is generally considered that Galway favours front/prominent runners, like many other Irish tracks. There can be large fields in some handicap races over the flat and hold up horses tend to run into trouble more often that not. In fact, since 2009, hold up horses (8+ runner handicaps) have a 4.18% win rate over all distances, making it the 4th worse course for hold up horses in Ireland. Conversely, if you had backed every front runner in the same scenario you would have seen a profit of 40.83 for every £1 staked.
There is more of a bias in the 7f and 1 Mile races than the longer distance races. On the flip-side, hold up horses are worse off over the shorter distances. This accentuates the importance to get a good early position. In 8+ runner handicaps since 2009, front/prominent runners have won 81 races combined which equates to a 67.5% in comparison to the mid-div/hold up group.
Interestingly though, in races ran over 2 miles +, the front/prominent running bias seems to disappear completely. There have only been 28 races since 2009, but seemingly there is little to no pace bias over this distance with a front runner only wining twice.
There is no consistent pace bias over jumps. The Hurdle course is quite sharp and there are lots of tricky turns. Hurdle races over 2 miles see the strongest bias with front runners doing particularly well. In handicap races over 2 miles since 2009 (8+ runners), front runners have a win P&L of 37.50. In all races over 2m (handicaps and non-handicaps), front/prominent runners have won 74.77% of races when compared to mid-div/hold up horses.
But in handicap hurdle races from 2m-4f - 3 miles (8+ runners), 1 front runner from 52 races has won. Prominent runners have been profitable to follow having produced a win P&L of 15.0 since 2009. So you are more likely see a front runner act as a pace setter for something sitting close behind.
The chase course produces similar results. The most notable results are in non-handicaps where front runners have been very profitable to follow. If you had backed every front runner in non handicaps since 2009, you would have had a win P&L of 101.55 for every £1 staked. Of the 31 front running attempts over 2m 2f, for example, 14 have won which is a 45.16% strike rate. Galway is a real specialist track for both horses and jockeys.
Galway Draw Bias
As we know from above, pace is important over 7f. Due to the positioning of the stalls on the track, you would think that a lower draw would be more advantageous and you would be right. Lower draws, over 7f, are twice as likely to produce a winner than higher stalls (8+runner handicaps).
But coupling draw and pace as a combination will accentuate the fact that pace is as important over 7f. For example, there has been 1 winner from a low draw that came from a held up position from 69 attempts since 2009. Front runners in general perform better than market expectation. It can however be difficult to predict the pace of a race. Let’s take a quick look at the highest drawn winner over 7 since 2009, Laughifyouwant, who came from stall 15. He broke quite well and managed to get an early lead before the first turn . But what helped him get an easy lead was the fact that stalls 1-5 that day were slow to break and settled either held up or mid-div and the middle to wider stalls set the early pace. So although lower draws will win more races over 7f, a wider drawn horse with pace around could offer better value.
Races over 1 mile have a similar story to 7f but the bias is not as strong. But interestingly the lower draw bias is stronger over 1m 4f. On good to firmer ground (there are not a lot of races to go from since 2009 - 8+ runner handicaps), lower draws have been profitable to follow over 7f and 1 mile. On the flip side, higher draws seem to perform quite poorly on better ground. The lower draw trend on better ground is mirrored over 1m 4f with 1 winner from 19 attempts coming from a high draw.
Galway Top Trainers
Of the trainers with 50+ runners, Willie Mullins leads the way with an impressive 27.45% win rate and proving profitable to follow with a 39.64 P&L for every £1 staked. He also has a 19.74% strike rate in handicaps. Sheila Lavery is also one to note in handicaps with a 14.29% win rate and 28.57 win P&L for every £1 staked.
Willie Mullins is also top jumps trainer 22.54% strike rate. His brother, Tom, is 2nd with a 21.69% win rate and proving the most profitable to follow at the course with a win P&L of 56.88. Willie has a 10.6% win rate in handicaps since 2009, with a win P&L of -53.37 for every £1 staked.
Galway Top Jockeys
Of the current jockeys in training, Galway man, Leigh Roche, has the best win rate with 11.19%. He has also been profitable to follow with a win P&L of 15.46. His win P&L increases to 32.83 in handicaps. Billy Lee has the best strike rate in handicaps over the last 2 years with a 20% win rate.
Of the jockeys with 50+ runners, Ruby Walsh is the top jockey at Galway over the last 10 years with a 27.16% strike rate. He is followed though by Patrick Mullins who is operating at a 25% win rate at the course. Robbie McNamara had an impressive strike rate of 35.15% (13 from 37) at the course, most of which for Dermot Weld.
In handicaps, Ruby Walsh was in fact profitable to follow with a win P&L of 9.73 for every £1 staked. But Mark Enright has been the most profitable to follow in handicaps since 2009, with an impressive win rate of 15.15% and a win P&L of 86.50.
*Figures correct as of 07/09/2020
|30 Oct 16:35||Game Nation||Seamie Heffernan||E McNamara||50/1|
|30 Oct 16:00||Grann's Boy||Adam Caffrey||H Rogers||4/1|
|30 Oct 15:25||Immutable||Gary Carroll||J G Murphy||100/30|
|30 Oct 14:50||Kinda Tiny||W Hassett||T Doyle||5/1|
|30 Oct 14:15||Rapid City||Chris Hayes||L Comer||5/1|
|30 Oct 13:40||I've Been Dreaming||Ronan Whelan||M Fahey||20/1|
|30 Oct 13:05||San Aer||Billy Lee||T Mullins||3/1|
|30 Oct 12:30||Everlasting||Seamie Heffernan||A O'Brien||9/2|
|29 Oct 16:40||Magical Annie||Mr L Turner||B Fitzgerald||8/1|
|29 Oct 16:10||El Champo||Patrick O'Hanlon||P Rothwell||8/1|
|Dylan Browne McMonagle||6||27||22.2%|
|Mr R Barron||4||8||50.0%|
|Mr P W Mullins||4||12||33.3%|
|P J Gilligan||2||14||14.3%|