The race is on for jockeys ... and clothes horses as festival looms
PUNTERS, take heed. Two-time Cheltenham winning jockey Katie Walsh now has her eyes set on her "lucky" racecourse as the Punchestown Festival looms.
The Walsh family racing dynasty, which includes her father, racing pundit Ted Walsh, and her brother, the record-breaking jockey Ruby, were still tipping along on "cloud nine" following her spectacular wins.
And, as the 25-year-old turned out in her crisp colours to launch the Best Dressed Lady competition for April's Punchestown Racing Festival, the amateur jockey revealed that her two Cheltenham successes were the result of picking up last minute rides in the races.
"I was barely going to bring my gear," the Co Kildare native confessed.
There were no lavish celebrations after she fought off a challenge coming up the famous Cheltenham hill from her close friend Nina Carberry to take the spoils aboard Poker De Sivola to enter the enclosure for the first time.
"I went out for a while but I was too exhausted to be honest. I came home and ended up watching the replay and going to bed," she said.
"I can't wait for Punchestown -- it is only up the road and it is a place that has been very lucky for me and I love going there."
Jayne O'Keeffe, marketing director of Arnotts which is sponsoring the €20,000 prize fund for the style competition at this year's festival, said judges would be hunting for racegoers displaying individual style while also taking the vagaries of the weather into account.
"The trends this year are just fabulous. There are a lot of new colours around which are very flattering for a lot of the Irish skin tones.
"We are not looking for somebody who necessarily head-to-toe has a new outfit and all of the trends but I think a nod to the season's trend is very important."
The overall best-dressed winner at the festival will receive a €10,000 fashion voucher for Arnotts and a private suite for an evening meet at Punchestown.