Racegoers still in great form despite rain and return of cold snap
LAST year's cold snap may have put the brakes on the success of the Leopardstown Christmas races, but the event returned to form this year.
A total of almost 55,000 people from across the country flocked to the venue to enjoy the racing and try their luck at the four-day event which ended yesterday.
And just under €4.4m was bet on horses with the bookies on site in that period. The largest attendance was recorded on December 27, when 16,500 eager racegoers turned up to study the form, while St Stephen's Day saw the venue draw 14,200.
A spokesperson for the racecourse said there was little comparison to last year's event, when attendance was 30,000, because severe cold weather cancelled the first two days.
On December 28 this year over 15,000 attended the event, 5,000 more than in 2010 -- the only day that year that ran to an almost full schedule.
Overall attendance levels represented a slight increase on 2009, when 51,000 punters came through the turnstiles.
The driving wind and near torrential downpours could not dampen the spirits of racegoers yesterday. Although the size of the crowd was almost halved compared to previous days, those who did turn up were determined to have fun.
Geraldine Meyer, from Knocklyon, Co Dublin, along with 30 of her family were in fine spirits as they celebrated her daughter's marriage.
"Didn't feel the rain, we're all grand and we're all having a great day," she beamed.
"We are having an absolute blast, all of the family are over from Holland.
"All the wedding money is on the horses," she joked.
The weather also failed to faze friends Michelle O'Mahony from Co Cork, Jennifer Armstrong from Co Sligo, and Rebecca Mooney from Co Dublin.
"We're having a great time," Ms O'Mahony said.
The Dermot Weld-trained filly Unaccompanied was the big winner of the featured Istabraq Festival Hurdle.