Friday 20 April 2018

McCoy relaxes in Galway - but Toronto calls

Ballybrit gives AP a chance to watch from the stands on Ladies Day - but bright lights beckon

Chanelle and Tony McCoy
Chanelle and Tony McCoy
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

AP MCCOY may have hung up the reins but he's still festival fit - swapping big wins at Ballybrit for Toronto.

A documentary on the legendary jockey will première at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival, one of only 20 chosen out of over 6,000.

Wife Chanelle said she was looking forward to attending the event next month, unlike the star himself.

"The first thing I said was 'this is cool' - and the first thing AP said was 'do I have to go?'," she laughed.

Chanelle McCoy was enjoying the races with Gillian Walsh. But, while Gillian was a ball of anxiety for husband Ruby's races, Chanelle was delighted that those days were behind her.

"It was just nice coming yesterday and not having a lump in your throat or that sick feeling wondering are we going to get through the week without a fall.

"It's lovely to see him enjoying himself and at ease about his decision about not riding," she added.

But for Gillian Walsh the nerves were very much to the fore, as she said: "The Hurdle Race, I hate watching that. Ruby's record is pretty catastrophic in it, injury-wise. But he's pretty happy with the horse he has today."

Sean and Sharon Harvey were enjoying the races with sons Eoin (4) and Ruairi (7). The family travel home from Perth every year. This year they hoped their luck would come in - as Sean did an interview for a new job between races.

"We've been living in Perth for 16 years but we want to move home. I have to go out to the carpark to do an interview over the phone. I've had a few winners, so I hope my luck will continue," he said.

Celeb spotters were rubbernecking the parade ring after Sandymount Duke, owned by Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood, took the fifth race. But the rocker hadn't made it over for the event. "He would love it here," admitted trainer Jessica Harrington.

Despite his absence, it seems the horse might just take after its 'wild man' owner. Jessica revealed how she almost gave up on Sandymount Duke last year because "he didn't have his act together".

Maura Derrane was on hand to judge the Kilkenny Best Dressed Lady Competition, but the mum-of-one admitted her delight at having a day out.

"I think a lot of women who come here are mums like me and are at home a lot, so they come here to enjoy their one day of glamour in the year.

"For myself, I've been in trainers and wearing no make-up all summer at home, so this is the most make-up I've worn since finishing the 'Today Show' in April. It's a great excuse to dress up."

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe were the leading politicos at Ballybrit - and the only Fine Gael TDs at the race meeting.

Winner of the Best Dressed Lady, Alex Butler, topped her ensemble with a hat by Jennifer Wrynne. The Leitrim milliner designed around 150 hats for the day. "It's a bit surreal, because a lot of people are wearing them. I could tell one girl was like 'who's that weirdo looking at me?' - but I had noticed the hat," she said.

Model Roz Purcell was also keeping an eagle eye on the fashion stakes. She was judging Best Dressed Lady in Hotel Meyrick last night and said she was constantly asked where her other half was.

"People always ask me 'How's your beautiful boyfriend?'. It's always mammies or grannies who are asking about Bressie," she said.

Irish Independent

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