THEY say Cheltenham is best treated as a marathon, rather than a sprint. Yet, on this occasion, it was quite simply all about the 'sprinter'.
In the swirl of Premier League footballers and their managers, lucky millionaires, supermodel lookalikes, former politicians and the colourful ladies careering along on stilettos, there was a horse likened to a classy Ferrari with 15 gears.
"You'll be telling your grandchildren you were here to witness this," said one awed racegoer as the second day of the Cheltenham Festival took off at lightning speed.
It was the moment the eager crowd had been waiting for as they opened up the already hoarse vocal cords to roar the brilliant favourite, Sprinter Sacre, home in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
It took a Meath man, jockey Barry Geraghty, to up the voltage in the stands as he contemplated purchasing a dictionary in the hunt for new superlatives to describe the dream horse.
"He's like a top footballer, like Pele on the ball," he mused, after coolly glancing over his shoulder at the horses fading back behind him on the home stretch.
"This fellow is unbelievable... it is the way he does it, he just struts it," said the jockey, with a telling shake of his head.
"He is just all engine, he oozes class. It is like driving a Ferrari with 15 gears."
It wasn't known if Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson felt the likening to the talented footballer was appropriate, as unfortunately his horse failed to show the same level of classy footwork.
The stable lad millionaire turned trainer, Cork man Conor Murphy was partaking in an impromptu session of 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' as he was being probed for potentially life-changing tips at every furlong.
"It is great to be back," he laughed, as he chatted with former Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh, who introduced the famous gambler to Horse Racing Ireland's Brian Kavanagh. And naturally, the question of the day soon followed.
"It was a one-off," Mr Murphy admitted, as he shrugged off the multiple queries for tips.
"To watch horses like that, it is great. Jump racing is special," admitted the now Kentucky-based trainer, who used his coveted £50 (€62) accumulator bet on his old gaffer Nicky Henderson's Cheltenham winners to set him up in business.
Amid the peacock feathers, Christmas wreaths and even an airplane sported atop fashionable ladies' heads, British royal Zara Phillips was also proving eye-catching in a red military-style coat made by Irish designer Paul Costello.
It appears in addition to plum trips away in salubrious hotels, a bit of new style and handmade hats, there are other advantages to winning the lauded Best Dressed Lady fetes, such as an unexpected bunch of roses landing on your doorstep.
But the fact that last year's winner, Margaret Connolly (24), from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was considering bringing the aforementioned bunch of roses down to the local garda station for fear she had attracted a stalker was probably not quite the sender's intention.
There was a bit of Irish fashion in among the best-dressed as accessories winner, nurse Mary Heron (42), from west Cork, who now lives in Bristol, was sporting a coat from Irish label Fee G.
After the whitewash by the inimitable trainer Willie Mullins on day one, the savvy punters were only too willing to have a flutter on the 9/4 favourite Back In Focus with son Patrick aboard – which promptly obliged.
"My father won this race twice and it means a lot for me to put my name beside him," said Patrick after the emotional win.
"It's very scary watching your son ride, especially over four miles, but it's magic when he wins," his proud mother, Jackie, added.
Alas, the Mullins' luck could only last so long as favourite Pont Alexandre failed to show the fleet turn of foot needed in the Novices' Hurdle.
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary was clinging on to his wife's arm for fear he might lift off as he too nearly won the race but had to settle for a respectable second.
It proved a mixed bag for those erstwhile gamblers as the bookies faced a €2m payout on Sprinter Sacre, but there were plenty of long shots to test those frayed nerves, as day two came to a close.