Friday 24 March 2017

Hurricane flies to the rescue of punters on Ladies' Day

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

IT CAN be hard to find a superhero when you need one. Then, just like Dublin Bus, more than one can roll up all at once.

There was plenty of eye-catching multi-coloured spandex on show yesterday as the Ladies Day finale got underway at Punchestown.

And that was just the bookies as they graciously squeezed their svelte frames into the unforgiving neon outfits to raise monies for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

"I'm the Incredible Hulk, can't you tell?" queried a hot-under-the-collar Paddy Power.

After a famine on the political front earlier in the week, it was a veritable feast as well-known politicians descended on the track for the fourth day of the heaving festival.

And they were playing coy on whether the bevy of freshly-tanned flesh on show for Ladies' Day had lured some from the confines of Leinster House.

The man who is pledging super-duper powers strong enough to rescue the floundering economy, Enda Kenny, was spotted pressing the flesh across the winners' enclosure after the €170,000 Grade 1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle.

And in the pavilion where the Fine Gael fundraiser for the Kildare region was underway, he quipped: "I'll be backing Kangaroo Court to do with the whole banking scandal.

"That would be my nap of the day."

Yet with rumours of politicians under starter's orders to attend the Dail, Enda revealed that TD James Bannon had managed to shake the hands of 1,400 Longford people at the racecourse and still attend speeches in the sacred chambers.

Saviour

Those Longford folk were everywhere. Earlier Albert Reynolds was spotted chatting with another Fianna Fail man, Conor Lenihan.

The sprightly former Taoiseach was displaying considerable financial restraint as he admitted that he would only back his son Philip's horse, Stephanie Kate, if he thought that it would be in with "a chance".

The not-so-sprightly junior minister admitted he was nearly running on empty after returning yesterday morning from Dubai where the volcano chaos had left him stranded.

"I couldn't go home in case I fell asleep," he revealed.

Among the squadron of TDs spotted were Phil Hogan, Paul Keogh, Bernard Durkan and Billy Timmins.

Also enjoying a day at the races was new mother and author Cecelia Ahern, along with her partner David Keoghan, and pop star Ronan Keating with his wife Yvonne.

Others spotted whizzing through the crowds were rugby pundit Brent Pope and boxer Kenny Egan.

But the biggest cheer of the day was once again saved for the punters' saviour, Willie Mullins.

The dominance of the Carlow trainer now borders on a tradition as he notched up yet another winner when Paul Townend pulled out all the stops aboard the heavily-backed Hurricane Fly to defeat Solwhit in the main race of the day.

After bookies had led racegoers on a merry dance earlier in the week, one was heard to bemoan the late surge for the punters as around €2m was paid out after Mullins delivered in that race.

More than 28,600 people poured through the turnstiles yesterday, as racecourse management revealed they were "delighted" with the attendance over the first four days.

Irish Independent

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