Road drama leaves Amy fashionably late as ladies hot foot it to the races
MORE than 26,000 punters poured through the turnstiles for Ladies' Day at Punchestown – despite a burst water main causing traffic tailbacks.
Actress Amy Huberman arrived beaming, as she joked it was "pretty snazzy" having the boys in blue – the gardai rather than her husband's Leinster colleagues – help her to the Co Kildare course on time.
Organisers of the Land Rover Style Award had to delay announcing the winner for nearly an hour, as Amy, one of the best-dressed award judges, battled to make it to the course, as the burst main near Dublin's Newlands Cross on the Naas Road caused tailbacks. However, festival organisers had a traffic management plan in place and diversions are expected to be lifted this morning. "We were cutting it fine. We ended up with a garda escort which I'm not going to lie, was pretty exciting," Amy joked.
She had to beat a speedy exit after announcing the winner of the style contest as she had the small matter of one of Brian O'Driscoll's final rugby clashes to attend, with Leinster lining out last night in Belfast's Ravenhill against Ulster in the Rabo Pro12.
RTE weathergirl Nuala Carey was cutting a chic figure in a yellow and cerise-pink outfit and spoke of her relief that the track stayed dry. She joined forces with model Rozanna Purcell and Amy to pick a winner of the Land Rover Style Award – with plenty of eclectic outfits to choose from.
In the end, a bride-to-be's engagement dress helped her romp home to victory. A delighted Eimear Flanagan (30) from Naas was first past the post in the fashion contest and scooped a Range Rover Evoque for a year. She revealed how she didn't even enter the competition herself – but was spotted by Purcell.
"I've never been picked for anything before. I think it's a fabulous competition but I'm always inside glued to the horses. Roz came up to me and said, 'If you're not out at 3pm, you'll be murdered.' I thought everyone looked fabulous," she said.
The speech and language therapist stole the show with her €140 dress from BT2 and coat from Brown Thomas teamed with a McSharry hat that she bought at the track that day.
There was plenty of action on the track, too, with a thrilling finish in the 'Racing Post' Champion Hurdle. It saw the Jessica Harrington-trained 5/6 favourite romp home and toppled the previous year's winner Hurricane Fly, much to the bookies' dismay.