Seven tips you need to get through a week of punting and partying
1 Pick your battles
There are 52 races. You will not back 52 winners. Seriously, you won't. If you do then you've mastered the equine equivalent of counting cards in a casino. Best to focus on two or three races each day and study them hard. Forget the rest. Be selective. Do not reach for the scatter gun. It could be the death of you.
2 Remember where you're staying
It is 3.35am. You’ve just stumbled out of Supermacs, you have ketchup on your chin and somehow managed to lose your suit jacket. All you want is bed. But where is it? You checked into the B&B earlier in the day but you can't remember the name or the location. Taxi drivers aren’t amused by the whole "that looks like the road I’m on" charade either. Write down the address and keep it in your wallet.
3 Willie will send you on your way
The very first race of the week could set the tone so it is vital that your first bet is a winning one. The 2m novice hurdle (5.20) on Monday has been won by Willie Mullins for the last three years on the trot - McKinley (2014), Bachasson (2015) and Muthaza (2016). The champion trainer has Lac Kivu entered this time around and his Punchestown success in late May was simply sensational. He could be a star.
Nobody will escape a visit to the hole in the wall but, while the ATM is pivotal, a trip to the Hole In The Wall pub on Eyre Street is also advised. The soundtrack stays the same. There’s a brace of Bon Jovi classics, followed by a Neil Diamond compilation, before Tina Turner’s Proud Mary gets the girls going. The Black Eyed Peas don’t know how lucky they are to have secured a coveted spot on the soundtrack, but I’m sure Fergie was fully aware it might happen when penning the words to 'I Gotta Feeling'.
5 I'm not quacked! Go to Kirwan's Lane
Soakage is seriously important. You cannot go out and drink a dozen pints of Guinness without something in your stomach so get yourself to Kirwan's Lane, located just off Cross Street in the centre of the city. Their roast half duckling, served with mango and ginger puree with black pudding bon bons was lush last year and the best €24.50 I spent all week. It's also Noel Meade's favourite restaurant in Galway. Say no more.
6 Back Balko Des Flos
Shanahan's Turn won the Galway Plate in 2015. He was a second-season novice. He was trained by Henry De Bromhead. He ran in the hot 2m5f novice handicap chase at the Punchestown festival the season before. Balko Des Flos ticks every one of those boxes and he has been laid out for the race. He has some cracking form as a novice and beat the 145-rated Arbre De Vie when winning his beginners chase at Fairyhouse. A mark of 146 could underestimate him.
7 Make it to Moran's
The cast of Geordie Shore would not survive seven nights of partying on Shop Street so why not sneak out to Moran’s On The Weir in Kilcolgan one night for a steaming hot bowl of seafood chowder and some calm conversation in stunning surroundings. The traditional thatched cottage dates back more than 250 years and some of the folk you’ll see in there were present on the day the last streams of straw were laid.