Wednesday 28 September 2016

Stylish ladies choose green and orange as Grand National honours 1916

Jane O'Faherty

Published 29/03/2016 | 02:30

Emma Hanratty, who won Most Stylish Lady, with her son Oliver Photo: Andres Poveda
Emma Hanratty, who won Most Stylish Lady, with her son Oliver Photo: Andres Poveda
Kian McNally (5) from Armagh Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
A punter enjoying the fun with a garda Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
TV presenter Rachel Wyse Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Racegoers at this year's Grand National recalled 1916 with a celebration of vintage glamour at the Easter festival.

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Green and orange were the victorious colours at Fairyhouse Racecourse this Easter, as record numbers of fashionistas signed up for the Irish Grand National Most Stylish Lady competition.

Emma Hanratty from Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, took the coveted title home in a vintage, bottle-green velvet dress and cape, embellished with gold lace.

Emma (23) picked up the striking number in her mother-in-law's shop, Rosie's Boutique in Newry, where she has been working for the past two years.

"I made this cape from a dress, but I added some gold pieces to make it more vintage and added buttons down the back," she said.

"This dress would be €160 to buy and this cape would probably be €100, roughly," she added.

"Then I got some Penneys shoes - it just has to be Penneys!"

Emma was joined by her boyfriend Shane and her son Oliver (4), who was attending his first-ever racing festival.

Rosie Farrell, Emma's mother-in-law, was visibly ecstatic as Emma picked up her prize of an €8,000 voucher for Carlton House.

"Oliver has been up since 6.30am and there's so much preparation in getting his mummy ready for the races," she said.

"We're here on a family day out. It's not about winning - it's about having a fun day out. This is a bonus."

Impressing in the style stakes seems to be a family trait, as Emma's sister-in-law Kirsty was placed in the top 10 of well-dressed ladies at this year's Cheltenham Festival.

Competition judge and Sky Sports presenter Rachel Wyse commended Emma's style, saying she had spotted her outfit from the outset.

"She had this X factor and really embraced the theme of centenary glamour," she said

Stylist and fashion blogger Rebecca Rose travelled from Clones, Co Monaghan, and was revelling in the vintage glamour on show.

"With the centenary glamour, there's a lot more vintage than usual," she said. "Normally, it would be more contemporary, so that's very different in that aspect.

"I'm not the winner with the outfit, but I have won €25 on the horses."

The 1916 theme continued with a military parade by the Fingal Old IRA Commemorative Society and a re-enactment of the 1916 Grand National.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with Johnny Lynn (89), the son of 1916's winning jockey, John Lynn.

That year, British Army officials commandeered all vehicles and horses at the Meath racecourse as they rushed back to Dublin to deal with the Rising.

My Kenny said the recent 1916 celebrations had instilled "a sense of pride and dignity" 100 years on.

On the racecourse, there was good news for Michael O'Leary as his horse, Rogue Angel, came first in the Boylesports Irish Grand National - a fortnight after Gigginstown House Stud had secured a win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Michael's brother Eddie took home the prize of €152,000 and the trophy, as the airline chief was away on his holidays.

'Game of Thrones' actor Liam Cunningham and legendary jockey AP McCoy also attended the Easter Monday races, which attracted 15,804 people.

Irish Independent

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