After completing well over a decade as both RTE and Channel 4 Racing’s betting expert, Tom Lee now works in various roles, including as a presenter and pundit across various sports TV channels. He also runs a bespoke wealth management and investment firm. A regular at Ballybrit, Tom knows something about what to wear at the Galway Races.
With the Galway Races just around the corner, what are you looking forward to most at this summer’s Racing Festival?
The people! Being back amongst that unique mix of 30,000 happy souls all dressed up and wanting to get together and have a great time. There’s that old saying that the Galway Races is ‘a state of mind’, it’s not far off, is it?! I love the way the mood switches through the week, from the undiluted excitement of Monday, to the fervour and glamour of Thursday, right up until the at ease Mad Hatter’s family day on the Sunday. Also, the multiple events off the track throughout the week with Prom To Paddock at the Salthill Hotel and the Tipster Lunch at Tom Sheridan’s being two to look out for.
What’s your favourite thing about Galway?
Imagine being told about a place that sits perched on the wild atlantic coast, has something bordering on an obsession with having fun, great beaches, rocking nightlife, a deep rooted love of sport, brilliant food, incredible music, a massive choice of places to relax, all while being inhabited by a mix of curious, friendly, welcoming locals and google-eyed tourists. That place exists, it’s called Galway!
Any favourite restaurants or pubs?
Oh yes! You can’t miss Moran’s On The Weir out in Kilcolgan, O’Grady’s in Barna, Spiced in Barna, Coco Cafe in Salthill. All brilliant. As for pubs, I’d happily lay down my sleeping bag in O’Connor’s in Salthill and stay there for the rest of my days. The Guinness, craic and music are unparallelled, so much so, you’ll even see me dive behind the bar and pull a few pints most nights during race week.
What advice would you give those who leave shopping to the last minute or have trouble putting an outfit together for The Galway Races?
Don’t panic! One of the many reasons I infinitely prefer Galway is the pure sense of relaxation and West of Ireland ease. Get yourself down to any one of the quality outlets around Galway, they’ll have you sorted in no time, without spending a fortune. Also, don’t be afraid to recycle. I collect suits and would happily wear one in 2022 that I also wore in 2016, no-one will remember!
Suit or sports jacket?
Either. Both are cool, both look great. I’m a suit lover and collector, but I also have several great jackets which can be paired up with smart jeans or a trouser. It’s a win-win situation.
Tie or no tie?
I’d almost always favour a tie. There are so many great ties available to style up a suit jacket or sports jacket together with a pocket handkerchief, it seems an opportunity missed, if you swerve it. Also, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t rule out the dickie bow!
Have you any favourite menswear stores in Galway?
It’s a hidden gem and arguably Galway’s best-kept secret: Wolf & West in Oranmore. An incredible shop. When I first saw it I couldn’t believe my eyes. They’re thriving and if you go in there you’ll see why. Suits, jackets, shirts, ties, jeans, shoes, trainers, casuals; they’ve got a great formula.