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Thursday 19 April 2018

Padraig swaps courses for horses

Star trades golf club for race card on big day out

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

VAST volumes of liquid were being poured. Gallons of water were being sprayed over the acres of sun-dried turf; while even more beverages went down the parched throats of thousands of racegoers enjoying the beaming sunshine over Punchestown Racecourse yesterday.

Of course, some were enjoying those 'clear' blue skies more than others.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary may have been more than a little ruffled at vacant air space above the Co Kildare venue. Others, such as golfer Padraig Harrington, who was with his wife Caroline, had come perfectly prepared for the clear blue skies as he sported a Florida tan and a pair of sunglasses.

Ahead of today's launch of Limerick businessman JP McManus' Invitational Golf Pro-Am, he was under starter's orders not to reveal the contestants for the charity event.

"It is a nice sunny day, where else would you want to be," the laid-back golfer, who was headed back to Limerick for today's launch with JP, said. "I did my work this morning, so I am out able to enjoy it and relax and watch everybody else under pressure."


The golfer, who has been working on his swing ahead of the US Open, quipped: "I'm an absolute donut when it comes to the betting but I enjoy it. Myself and my wife seem to get the same tips, she ends up winning, I end up losing."

Elsewhere, swings of a different kind were being discussed.

The Arnotts Best Dressed Lady winner Oniesa Owens (27), from Granard, Co Longford, decked out in an off-white €390 Marchesa dress, revealed her Christian Louboutin red-soled heels were a first wedding anniversary present.

She also let slip her thoughtful hubby Jonathan Owens was the music producer for Cork threesome Crystal Swing. But he was staying tight-lipped, refusing to fess-up on the major label interested in signing the mother and sibling trio. However, those eager to 'Hucklebuck' will be glad to learn the single will shortly be released. "They are working away on different material," he added.

The pair were joining precisely 1,183 others including developer Seamus Ross of Menolly Homes, Oliver Barden owner of O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Road and New York publican John Mahon in the Longford GAA pavilion.

Another person helping to push the fundraising efforts over the last eight years to over the million euro mark was former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. He was on top form as his tip, the heavily-backed Willie Mullins-trained Sivota, delivered in the first race of the day, which was sponsored by JP McManus, at 10-3.

Once again the bookies' successes at Cheltenham and Aintree were repeated as many of the favourites simply failed to deliver. Punters' losses were estimated at €5m on the second day of the festival.

Festival special

Irish Independent

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