Monday 26 September 2016

Punchestown Racing Festival: Footballers, torrential rainfall and style in abundance for day three

Sean O'Grady

Published 28/04/2016 | 15:22

RTE presenter Blathnaid Treacy at the day's races. Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
RTE presenter Blathnaid Treacy at the day's races. Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
A racegoer protects herself from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Footballers, torrential rainfall and style in abundance, day Three of Punchestown Racing Festival has well and truly kicked off.

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Freezing temperatures and stormy weather have made this the harshest day yet for punters and fashionistas as they descent onto the Kildare Race Course.

With festival attendance already up on last year’s bash, thousands are already descending onto the race course.

Punters are placing their bets for the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle Race with Michael O’Leary’s Alpha Des Obeaux the hot favourite to take home the gold.

A racegoer protects herself from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
A racegoer protects herself from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, some of Ireland’s most stylish ladies have come from far and wide with the hopes of making tomorrow’s final in the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady.

Read more: Lottie Ryan turns heads in the same red Self Portrait dress Kathryn Thomas was slated for

Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Templeglantine, Co. Limerick native Tasha O’Connor has never won Ladies Day before, but with a showstopping hat from Marc’s Millinery in Cork, she’s hoping this is her year.

‘’I have done Ladies Day before but I normally don’t get anywhere,’’ she said.

Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Racegoers protect themselves from the rain at Punchestown racecourse on April 28, 2016 in Naas, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

‘’My son had his confirmation yesterday. I asked him what he wanted and he said he wanted us to go to Punchestown.

‘’We are going to be betting all day, we love it.’’

28 April 2016; RTE presenter Blathnaid Treacy at the day's races. Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
28 April 2016; RTE presenter Blathnaid Treacy at the day's races. Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

With the grand finale of the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady on tomorrow, the competition is heating up at Punchestown.

The nation’s top fashionistas have donned their finest to impress celebrity judge Blathnaid Treacy before tomorrow’s winner is crowned by top model Roz Purcell.

Catherine McDonald from Newbridge at Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Catherine McDonald from Newbridge at Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Read more: Audrey Kelly wins Best Dressed at day two of Punchestown in 'quirky' baby pink trouser suit

Some ladies have flown from far and wide to be in with a chance of taking home the top prize.

Tasha O'Connor from Limerick at Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Tasha O'Connor from Limerick at Punchestown, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Ennis, Co. Clare native Fiona Quinn flew halfway across the world to be in with a chance.

‘’I actually live abroad in Barbados so I came home for the festival,’’ she said.

Dressed in a classic black vintage dress and a vintage mink courtesy of her mother, Fiona wouldn’t miss Punchestown for the world.

‘’I am home for a couple of weeks and I had to get Punchestown in. It’s probably the premiere racing festival in the country.’’

With the luxurious French champagne brand sponsoring the contest, some of the ladies have been thinking strategically in order to win.

‘’Bollinger is involved and this cape is in the French colours so I just thought, let’s go for it,’’ Terese Connolly from Castleconnell, Limerick said.

Donning a black dress from LK Bennett in Kildare Village coupled with a glamorous hat from Marc Millinery in Cork, Terese revealed the ladies have a bet on between them to see who can take home the gold.

‘’We have a bet on between us who’s going to win. We’re having a bit of craic with it.’’

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