Sunday 23 November 2014

Umbrellas is the ultimate accessory as Fair Ladies battle it out for top prize

Published 02/08/2014 | 02:30

Michelle Hynes from Westport
Michelle Hynes from Westport
Jayne Higgins from Belfast who won Friday's Fair Lady competition at the Galway racing festival
Braving the rain at the Galway races

Race-goers battled the elements at Ballybrit for day five of the Galway Festival.

Scores of women still donned their finery for a chance to win a Best Dressed prize.

Umbrellas were the key accessory as the Friday Fair Lady contest got under way and Dublin-based Jayne Higgins was the crowned winner.

The Belfast native – who wore a cream Coast dress with a navy Zara jacket and nude-colour Jimmy Choo shoes – is not a regular race goer and said she travelled to Galway "last minute".

"I'm genuinely shocked because I never come to these events, but I'll definitely have to more often now," she said.

Judge Marietta Doran said practical style led the way: "The women want to dress for comfort and warmth, but also look great, so it's traditionally not as high glamour as the previous days."

The winner received a shopping package from Athlone Town Centre Shopping Centre and Sheraton Athlone Hotel.

More than 100,000 people passed through the turnstiles this week.

John Moloney, manager of the racecourse, said he was pleased with the footfall.

"The betting and bookmakers figure of over €1.8m and the Tote just four thousand short of a million is great – so it's good to see racing on its way back," he said.

Events continue this weekend.

A special mass will take place tomorrow to remember stars of the equestrian world, including RTE broadcaster Colm Murray, who passed away in July 2013.

Irish Independent

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