Blue's the colour for Kirsty as she races to victory in fashion stakes
Punchestown: Day 1
Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30
Champagne flutes and caped crusaders were a winning formula on the first day of the Punchestown racing festival.
Fashion stylist Cathy O'Connor was enlisted to find the Best Dressed attendee, and said ladies should take sartorial inspiration from a glass of champagne.
"Elegant and sophisticated," she said.
Grey skies and frosty winds were no deterrent for Ireland's style-conscious racegoers, who strutted their stuff around the parade ring in Kildare.
The lucky winner was Kirsty Farrell from Newry, Co Armagh.
The 20-year-old opted for a stunning powder blue cape and dress suit teamed with a wide-brimmed hat from Millinery by Mairead, and shoes from Penneys. Kirsty is no stranger to Ladies Day, and regularly attends race meetings around the country.
But this was the first time she took home a coveted Best Dressed title.
"I try to go to them all, because they are an excuse to get dressed up, but I have never won before," she told the Irish Independent.
The Northern beauty did not have to travel far to find her winning dress - as it was supplied by her mother's shop, Rosie's Closet in Newry.
Kirsty is set to attend every day of the racing festival.
"My friend and I came to this so we are going to be celebrating all week in the bar," she laughed.
Judge Cathy O'Connor said picking the winner proved very tough this year.
Head judge and model Holly Carpenter was blown away by the day's style, and chatted about starring in an upcoming RTÉ series once the winner had been selected.
JP McManus's Don't Touch It, ridden by Barry Geraghty and trained by Jessica Harrington, raced to victory in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle Grade 1.
Meanwhile, Paddy Brennan was first past the post with God's Own in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase Grade 1.
The two shock wins did not go down well with punters, who were left with empty pockets and long faces.
While an impressive 19,825 punters turned out for the first day, it was a loss of over 300 for the festival - which attracted 20,214 on the same day last year.
More than 100,000 are expected to attend the five-day festival this year, with huge crowds predicted to flock to the racecourse on Friday.