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Grand outfit scoops Blaithin the €20,000 Best Dressed prize





The outfit cost more than a grand but the gamble paid off for Blaithin Dunleavy, who took home a prize worth €20,000 in the Best Dressed Lady stakes at Punchestown.

The competition away from the racecourse attracted huge attention as fashionistas strutted their stuff on a sunny afternoon.

Concert pianist Blaithin was dressed in a Dice Kayek kimono coat, from Naas boutique Gallery 9, and a Roland Mouret dress, accessorised with a rented Philip Treacy headpiece, Jimmy Choo heels, a Vivienne Westwood brooch and a borrowed clutch bag, also by Jimmy Choo.

A first time Best Dressed winner, Blaithin admitted she was "shocked" when she found out she had won.

"Last year I was in the parade ring but I never made it on to the stage, it's my first time making it this far. It feels really amazing and I'm really shocked because the competition it so stiff."

However, style comes at a price as Blaithin revealed the cost of her get-up: "A lot."

"The coat is €790 and the shoes were about €400 - I'll have them forever though, and that's how I look at it.

"They're investment pieces. I don't buy high end often, but when I do I keep them for a long time because they last for years."

Competition judge and model Georgia Salpa said: "I think she looks really elegant and really classy. I think she looks glamorous and she stands out, but not too much. She's beautiful."

In the racing stakes, it was another good day for trainer Willie Mullins as his horse Faugheen stormed to victory at the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

With jockey Ruby Walsh at the reins, the 1-6 favourite maintained his unbeatable record.

There were many familiar faces among the 28,398 crowd, including rugby star Sean O'Brien and Dublin footballers Bernard Brogan and Diarmuid Connolly. Pop mogul Louis Walsh was also there, and said he'll "absolutely" be voting Yes in the marriage referendum.



Irish Independent