Thursday 29 September 2016

Rain holds off on the final day at Leopardstown

Elaine McCahill

Published 30/12/2015 | 02:30

Sisters Éabha Devitt, age, 5, and Muireann, age 7, at the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Sisters Éabha Devitt, age, 5, and Muireann, age 7, at the Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Racegoers Sandra and John Hore from Tagoat, Co. Wexford, with their children, from centre left, Lauren, age 7, Sean Og, age 3, and Katie, age 8. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Karen Welby and sister Ann-Marie with Edel Dunne
Olivia Hughes & Nicola O'Loan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Storm Frank may have been making its way across the country, but the rain held off as the crowds enjoyed the last day of the Leopardstown Christmas festival.

  • Go To

The bad weather forecast didn't put off the 9,150 punters who enjoyed a drink and a flutter yesterday.

"I love the races - I go to Aintree a lot, but you can't beat the atmosphere in Ireland," Newry girl Olivia Hughes told the Irish Independent.

Ladies' Day might have been over but the girls kept up the style stakes with bright coats, fur hats and heels.

Keeping warm in the Pavilion area were John Lyons TD, along with Dublin footballers Bernard Brogan Senior and Junior.

"I'm here on a race day with my local team, Ballymun Kickhams," Mr Lyons said.

"We've had great craic today, and I won a few bob as well."

The big race of the day was the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle, with a prize pot of €100,000. In an exciting finish, Ruby Walsh on Nichols Canyon pipped Identity Thief, ridden by Bryan Cooper, to the post.

"That was the best race of the whole festival," an excited onlooker in the parade ring claimed.

Ryanair boss, Michael O'Leary, was on hand to congratulate Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins on their fantastic win.

Elsewhere, horse trainer Jim Bolger and top jockey Davy Russell presented the Irish Cancer Society with a cheque for €102,322, which they raised from their annual all-star hurling match.

In the four years since the inaugural match, the horse racing stars have raised more than €400,000 for the charity.

"I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this event over the last four years," Mr Bolger said.

"It takes an army of support to make an event like this possible and I am so grateful for all the backing we've received to raise funds for such a good cause."

As the rain finally started to trickle down, the remaining punters finished their hot whiskeys while enjoying a live concert.

Over the course of the festival almost 55,000 people attended the races, down 6pc from last year.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport