All roads lead to Murvagh today where the Ballintra Races will be the highlight of the sporting calender in the north west on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Ballintra Races are now firmly established on the social calendar and each year the venue is thronged from early afternoon until late in the evening.
This racing event is the most prestigious in this area of the country and a bumper crowd is again expected today. It has become an event where friends meet annually and discuss the problems and successes of the year.
The event, in recent years, has always coincided with important Donegal GAA games, sometimes clashing with them, but this year there is no clash and punters will be able to discuss Donegal’s opponents in next Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final in Croke Park.
This year’s event, as usual, has six races with the highlight being the Donegal Derby, which takes place at 3.30 and is sponsored by the Salmon Inn and The Bay Bush Bar. The signature event has a prizefund of 1,500 euro, with 800 euro going to the winning connections.
The racing gets underway at 2.30 with Jamsies Bar Race (sponsored by Jamsies Bar); Sean McEniff sponsors the Sean McEniff Hotels race at 3 p.m.
The final three races are the Robert and Lillian Scott Memorial Race at 4 p.m. (sponsored by Raymond and Carol Scott); TG Tunnelling Race at 4.30 (sponsored by Tommy and Nora Gallagher) and the final race The Arches Race at 5.00 p.m. (sponsored by Edwin Pearson, Eamonn Doherty, Joe Doherty, Gerry McGirr and Tom McElhinney).
One of the other highlights of the day will be the Best Dressed Lady Event which is sponsored by Edge Clothing, Donegal Town. The event will be judged by well-known local celebrity Noel Cunningham.
On the racing front, there is a prize for the Best Jockey on the Day which is sponsored by Sean Travers.
The races at Ballintra can be traced back some 71 years. In all there will be 6,000 euro available in prizes and many more euros can be had if you have a winning tip.
Admission to the event is 10 euro with children free and the event is one that provides plenty of entertainment for the serious punter or anyone just wanting a good day out. There are plenty of side shows to entertain the kids. The gates will be open from 2 p.m. and there is plenty of parking.