Pony enthusiasts in the Mid-West have been left disappointed following the cancellation of the eagerly-awaited Whitegate Pony Races.
The main headline event of the May Bank Holiday Festival in Whitegate, which was due to take place on Sunday, May 3 at 1 pm, has fallen foul of adverse weather conditions.
A decision was taken by the festival committee on Saturday morning to postpone the first meeting of the flapping season until Sunday, May 10 following a race course inspection.
The Midlands Horse and Pony Association was immediately contacted so that the race participants could be given adequate notice of the race cancellation before finalising their travel arrangement.
Equine enthusiasts from places like Cork, Dingle, Kenmare, Claremorris, Kildare and all over the country were preparing to flock to Whitegate for the nine-race card involving between 60 and 70 ponies.
These races at Dromaan overlooking Lough Derg have gone from strength to strength since they were revived four years ago and were due to be one of the main feature events this weekend.
This was the first time the pony races had to be cancelled in the last five years.
The Nightingale Bar Tug-of-war official inter club competition for Jason Brogan Perpetual Trophy, which was scheduled to start this Saturday evening at 7 pm has also been cancelled.
It will be held instead on Saturday, May 9 at 7 pm. All other festival events, which started on Thursday and will continue until next Monday, are going ahead as planned.
Speaking to the Clare Champion earlier this week, Councillor Pat Burke said the committee were “overwhelmed” with the sponsorship support it received from local businesses this year as donations were provided without asking for them.
The Fine Gael Councillor said the goodwill generated by previous family festivals in the village and the upturn in the economy were both responsible for the great response from local businesses.
Athletes throughout East Clare are looking forward with a great sense of anticipation to the Whitegate 10 kilometre run and five kilometre walk at 12 noon from Whitegate Clubhouse on Monday, May 4th, which is going ahead as planned.
The Dinny Ryan Perpetual Cup will be presented to the overall winner as well as prizes for the fastest local male and female runners.
Three-in-a-row All-Ireland hurling champions Clare take on Offaly on Wednesday, May 6 at 7.30 p.m. in Whitegate GAA field.