Late broadcasting legend Colm Murray honoured with memorial hurdle - making it a 'poignant' day for his family
The late racing commentator Colm Murray was honoured yesterday at Punchestown Festival - when the opening race was dedicated to him.
The family of the late RTE broadcaster were in attendance for the third day of the racing festival.
Colm's wife Ann and daughter Kate handed out the prize for the inaugural Colm Murray Memorial Handicap Hurdle and said it was a "poignant" day.
"I used to come to Punchestown races with my dad so it is strange, but it's really really nice," Kate said.
"It's a lovely way for him to be remembered. I know he would really enjoy today and all his friends being here.
"Punchestown meant so much to him and I'm so grateful that they had this race for him – it's a lovely way to remember him," she added.
Several celebrity faces mingled with punters, including retired Irish international Tony Cascarino, Newstalk host Ivan Yates and rugby pundit Brent Pope.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also made an appearance and spent 30 minutes walking the grounds, shaking hands, picking up babies and collecting betting tips.
He also put any party rivalry aside to sympathise with former Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevey's wife Noleen on the recent death of her father.
Despite the downpour, 16,158 people turned out to take in the action in Kildare yesterday.
While much of the focus was on the races themselves, a lot of attention was on the fillies and thousands of female ticket holders jumped at the chance to parade their summer wardrobes.
It was a perfect chance for local businesses to show off their spoils.
Art dealer Alan Redmond said: "We've been coming here for years and we've sold quite a bit. We sold one painting for €3,000 and another of Quevega for €1,300 – somebody close to the horse bought it, but I can't reveal who."
Rising milliner Jennifer Wrynne's family's co-owned horse Quevega had an unlucky afternoon, but it was a style success for her.
The 24-year-old beauty is a regular visitor to the track and made the most of the event yesterday to showcase her own designs.
One of many female racegoers to step out in her racing best, Jennifer dazzled onlookers in the parade ring when she entered in a knee-length pink ensemble – complete with one of her own headpiece creations.
"It's a great excuse to get dressed up but also it's a nice opportunity for me to showcase my designs," she said. "I suppose being part of a racing family inspired me to do what I do. I've never trained as a milliner, but I picked tips up along the way and now I'm selling in the UK and Dubai."
Jennifer's uncle is part-owner of Quevega with the Hammer & Trowel syndicate and they narrowly missed out on winning the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle after the steed was pipped to the post by Jetson, trained by Jessica Harrington.
It was an emotional occasion for Jessica, whose husband Johnny passed away last month.
She said that never in her wildest dreams did she imagine Jetson taking home the top prize.
"He was a total outsider and I didn't expect a win at all – horses are wonderful like that when they surprise you," she said.
"It was absolutely lovely for me."