Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger have been given honorary doctorates by NUI Galway, in recognition of their contribution to horse racing.

At a ceremony in the University's Aula Maxima this morning, NUI Galway President, James Browne, conferred Doctor of Arts degrees on both men.

Dr Browne said it was a fitting tribute, given the decades of service they had given to racing. He said Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger had played a significant role in developing the sport both here and abroad.

Describing them as "global figures" in horseracing, Dr Browne said the University was proud to confer its highest honour on them.

Both trainers will make their way to Ballybrit after the ceremony concludes, for the third day of the Galway Races.

Weld, who has had three winners so far this week, said he was extremely grateful for the honorary degree and that it was all the more special given the strong links he has with the city for over 50 years. He has been the leading trainer at the Galway Festival 27 times.

Bolger said the award meant a great deal to him and that receiving a doctorate from NUI Galway was something he had never dreamed of but he was extremely honoured and privileged to have it bestowed upon him.

The Galway Plate is the feature race on the third day of the festival.

President Michael D. Higgins will present the Plate to the winning trainer and owner later today.

Attendances on the first two days of the 2014 festival have been up on last year and race organisers are hopeful that trend will be maintained for the remaining five days.

Two horse trainers get honorary doctorates