Saturday 16 December 2017

The Diary: Day that turned Gold for AP and Chanelle

AP McCoy and wife Chanelle celebrating his Hennessy Gold Cup win. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
AP McCoy and wife Chanelle celebrating his Hennessy Gold Cup win. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Make-up artist Billy Orr
Kevin Hart and Josh Gad at the premiere of ‘The Wedding Ringer’ at The Savoy in Dublin. Photo: G. McDonnell / Cathal Burke
Marco Pierre White

Kirsty Blake Knox and Bairbre Power

She was, quite simply, the Pied Piper of Leopardstown last Sunday afternoon. And with a yelp of delight, we followed Chanelle McCoy, thrilled to bits at seeing AP, her champion jockey husband, win his first Hennessy Gold Cup.

"Come on everybody, let's go down and cheer him into the parade ring," cried out an excited Chanelle.

We charged down multiple staircases to the parade ring where our high heels sank rapidly into the grass but our hearts leapt when AP pulled up onboard Carlingford Lough, just a day after announcing his impending retirement from racing.

"You couldn't write a script like this," said Chanelle through a happy well of tears.

Her sister Kelley Burke was mopping them away and the girls' glamorous mum, Mary Burke, couldn't hide her happiness as friends converged to hear AP speak.

Later, changing out of his jockey's silks and into a natty navy suit, AP told me "getting to the end of the race, when I realised that I was going to win, it was very emotional.

"When I came back in, the silence was eerie when I was speaking.

''I nearly had shivers down the back of my neck at the thought that there were so many people in front of me and that they were relatively interested in what I was saying so I would like to thank people for the reaction I got."

Earlier, over lunch, the chat touched on fashion as both Kelley and Chanelle have started their own fashion businesses.

Ex-pilot Kelley opened Stylejump, a pre-owned designer emporium with a website and a studio filled with gorgeousness on Marine Road in Dun Laoghaire. Kelley was sharply dressed last Sunday in a pin-striped Escada suit, Balenciaga blouse, Chanel bag and trilby hat by Philip Treacy.

Her sister has been adding glamour to racecourses around the world for the last number of years. Winner of the Best Dressed prize at the Galway Races in 2006, Chanelle told me how she now has her own fashion venture in the UK called Mojo &McCoy.

The boutique in Hungerford is run by an illustrious team of five school-run mums led by Chanelle, and includes Laura Lopes who is daughter of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

"It is a medium-to-high-end boutique which I opened with school mums that I got to know and there are five of us in the shop which is in Berkshire," explained Chanelle, who last Sunday flew the Irish fashion flag, wearing a Louise Kennedy cashmere coat and a jaunty, embellished percher by Kerry milliner Carol Kennelly.

It was truly a day for family and friends and while AP's boss, JP McManus wasn't there, his wife Noreen was present for the victory.

The Chanelle Vetinary suite was full of Loughrea friends and the Burke sisters' family, including their aunt and uncle, Joss and Philip Horgan, who run the Man Friday in Kinsale.

I met AP's mum Claire, his dad Peader and his sisters Annemarie, Roisin and Jane. Also there were Abbey Comyn from Boodles and Loughrea pal Orla Winters and her husband George, a publican in Tralee. Kelley's guests included Tara van Zyl, formerly an RTÉ costume designer and winner of the NDRC's Female Founders.

- BP

Match made in heaven as Pinter returns to familiar Gate territory

The Gate Theatre and Harold Pinter plays go together like love and marriage, or champagne and oysters.

"We've put on more Pinter plays than any theatre in the world," director of the Gate Michael Colgan said proudly as patrons scuttled through the doors.

"But The Caretaker is a first for us." The modern masterpiece was originally staged in 1960, but thanks to Toby Frow's direction the show still packs a powerful punch.

"The atmosphere is electric," my favourite RTE broadcaster, Marty Whelan, exclaimed. "I can't get enough of it."

Whelan is looking forward to returning to our goggle-boxes for the 2015 Eurovision and told me about his desire to produce a Supermarket Sweep-style game show. "How's that for an idea?" he asked.

Backstage Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins discussed attending Pinter's 70th birthday bash many moons ago.

"It was here in the theatre and it was a great night and a late night," Gaybo recalled.

Lucinda Creighton and Minister for Culture Heather Humphreys swanned about the foyer while Red Rock star Cathy Belton, who plays schneaky matriarch Patricia Hennessy in TV3's drama, discussed her return to the stage.

"I can't tell you what the production is about," she said. "But all will be revealed in March."

Senator Catherine Noone seemed ensconced in conversation with her rather dashing date; Barry Flanagan.

Noone will head over to Idaho next month for Saint Patrick's Day. "I'm going to be in the parade," she said.

Director Wayne Jordan chit-chatted about his upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet which will star the wonderfully named Fra Fee, Ruth McGill and Tadhg Murphy.

The evergreen Ingrid Craigie and Lorna Quinn enjoyed a tipple at the bar.

After the show, actors Michael Feast (Sleepy Hollow) and Marty Rae soaked up the atmosphere.

To quote Gay, it was another late and great one.


Billy heads to the Dubai glamazons

Dublin's loss is Dubai's gain as celebrity crimper-to-the-stars, Billy Orr, heads off to the Middle East for four weeks of advertising shoots and fashion editorials with the Bareface Model Agency.

The quietly spoken Scotsman has an enviable list of names in his LBBB (Little Black Beauty Book) as he has painted the faces and tended the hair of a bewildering number of visiting celebs such as Lady Gaga, Oliva Palermo and the lovely titian-haired Una Foden.

I met him mid-week at the Dean Hotel which has rapidly become the hotel-du-jour amongst the fashion set.

Billy was chatting with top model, Li Ann Small at the BT2 press day. The Trinity student from Greystones, Co Wicklow, is giving the international fashion weeks a rest in order to concentrate on her studies and, besides, there are all the societies that she has joined, such as Players.

So does that mean she could turn to acting and follow in the footsteps of former Dublin model, Caitriona Balfe, who starred in The Devil Wears Prada and had leading roles in The Beauty Inside, Crush, and H+: The Digital Series.

"I don't think so," said Li-Ann with a smile. "I'm much more into the behind the scenes stage stuff," said the bashful, and beautiful, Burberry model who is signed with Anne Morgan's Distinct Agency in Dublin.

- BP

Hart rings in a warm welcome

Having taken a step back from the world of gun-toting drug lords, Love/Hate writer Stuart Carolan is close to finishing his next big project the film adaptation of 2008 novel Skippy Dies.

"Two weeks and it'll be done," he said told me this week at Liberty Hall Theatre. "After that I am taking it slow and doing nothing."

The screenwriter says life has calmed down a good bit following the end of RTE's gangland drama. "It's not quite so manic; I'm catching up on my daytime TV and taking things very easy."

The theatre was buzzing as punters crowded in to see the final performances of THEATREClub's award winning show Heroin. Mary Lou McDonald talked to councillor Gary Gannon while producer Grace Dyas discussed her next show.

"It'll be about Republicanism," she explained. "I want to expose the complexity."

A different sort of show entirely was taking place at the Savoy Cinema with Hollywood stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad touching down for the premiere of The Wedding Ringer.

The movie tells the story of a friendless leading man Doug (Gad) who rents a best man (Hart) for his big day with - the PR assured me - hilarious consequences. Hoards of tweenagers fan-girled as the two gents sauntered down the red carpet. "What a welcome," Hart said. "You couldn't buy this."


'White Heat' served with dash of Irish

The former 'enfant terrible' of the UK restaurant scene, Marco Pierre White, hits Dublin next week to launch the 25th anniversary edition of his famous book, White Heat.

Chatting with Marco before the event, he told me that the celebrated Hollywood producer, Ridley Scott, has just optioned the rights to a Marco Pierre White biopic.

Wonder who they could get to star as the tussel-haired chef who gave back his three Michelin stars? My money is on Johnny Depp!

The chef who thoroughly enjoyed his recent guest appearance on the TV3/Aldi The Restaurant show will be signing the new version of his book in the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse on Dawson Street next Thursday from 5pm and on Friday from 5pm in Marco Pierre White Courtyard Bar & Grill in Donnybrook.

Marco is also hosting a small, select lunch for foodies in the media on Friday and invited guests include Paolo Tullio and Clodagh McKenna.

The 2015 edition of White Heat has a new 64-page section including previously unpublished photographs by the late legendary Cork-born photographer, Bob Carlos Clarke and commentary from Jason Atherton and Gordon Ramsay.

Marco Pierre is a regular guest to Ireland, visiting his two Dublin restaurants which he runs in collaboration with the Fitzpatrick family.

The book contains contributions from James Steen, Lindsey Carlos Clarke and a host of high-profile chefs including Sat Bains, Mario Batali, Raymond Blanc, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Byatt and David Chang.

- BP

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