Legendary trainer Ted Walsh expects the Galway Races to be "a non-runner" when it commences behind closed doors next Monday without "the usual razzamatazz".
The guts of 150,000 people normally flock to Ballybrit for the seven-day summer meeting, yielding €70million to the local economy, but Walsh believes its magic will be lost during what he brands as "industry days".
"Galway will be different this year. Galway is a holiday meeting and racing without the public, particularly on big days, is a non-runner really. Galway is always about the colour and the atmosphere, the usual razzamatazz and that'll all be gone," Walsh said yesterday.
"There's nothing to go racing for, no one to talk to. I went to Bellewstown and I couldn't wait to leave. It was the most inhospitable place I was in for a long time and these are purely industry days like you see in the depths of the winter.
"You want to go and have your tenner on a horse and go up to the stand and hear an aul' roar. Galway is a different atmosphere of a place and it's unique but it'll be totally different this year."
The Grand National-winning trainer is relieved to have the bloodstock industry up and running again but he doesn't envisage spectators at race meetings for "a long time".
"Some say it could be Listowel (September 20-26) but I'd say it could easily be longer.
"I can't see people going racing for a long time," the 70-year-old added.