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Manchester United manager Alex
Ferguson doesn't like losing but even
he had to admit defeat to the weather
at Leopardstown yesterday. He was
among thousands who were left
disappointed when heavy fog forced
the meeting to be abandoned.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson doesn't like losing but even he had to admit defeat to the weather at Leopardstown yesterday. He was among thousands who were left disappointed when heavy fog forced the meeting to be abandoned.

Martha Lynn, from Roscommon poses after winning the
Most Stylish Lady Competition at the Leopardstown Races

Martha Lynn, from Roscommon poses after winning the Most Stylish Lady Competition at the Leopardstown Races

Emma Coleman (5) from Blackrock, Co Dublin, studies the form at Leopardstown

Emma Coleman (5) from Blackrock, Co Dublin, studies the form at Leopardstown

Fog shrouds the race track forcing postponement of the
prestigious Lexus Chase

Fog shrouds the race track forcing postponement of the prestigious Lexus Chase

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Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson doesn't like losing but even he had to admit defeat to the weather at Leopardstown yesterday. He was among thousands who were left disappointed when heavy fog forced the meeting to be abandoned.

WITH his failure to bend the weather to his will yesterday, we have further proof that Alex Ferguson is not, in fact, God.

The legendary football manager was among thousands of racegoers left disappointed when heavy fog forced the Leopardstown meeting to be abandoned before the feature race.

It meant something of a wasted journey for Mr Ferguson whose horse, 'What A Friend', was to be among the runners for the prestigious Lexus Chase.

While punters will be able to take advantage of a reduced admission fee after the Lexus was instead added to today's card, Mr Ferguson was expected to return to Manchester by helicopter last night and turn his attention to a different sport.

"Yeah, I am looking forward to it, I wouldn't come this distance if I wasn't," he said in the parade ring before the race was due to start at 2.35pm.

"It's a good release," he said of horse racing as he signed autographs. "I enjoy going to the racing, and today I hope it's a good day for me."

But it wasn't to be.

Delayed

By the time he had returned to the corporate hospitality area at the south Dublin track, a heavy fog was rolling in. The race was delayed for 10 minutes, and then for a further 30 in the hope that the fog would lift.

Instead, it got worse and the decision was made to abandon racing altogether for the day.

Perhaps there was a hot whiskey or two to help the Manchester United manager over this latest hiccup. Certainly almost everyone else was taking solace in them, purely for medicinal reasons, of course.

As with everywhere else in the country, the weather was the main talking point at the course. And while Mr Ferguson wasn't onto a winner, a lady in red did win the 'Most Stylish' competition yesterday.

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Or at least Martha Lynn's outer layers were red. "It is really cold," the 27-year-old from Roscommon said. "Serious thermals -- that's the secret. I'm wearing a long-sleeved ski top under all this."

"All this' included a red coat from Penneys, a H&M dress, tights she had "got as a Christmas present", shoes from Zerep and a black and red headpiece she made herself.

Recessionista chic is still 'in' then? "Well I'm unemployed at the moment, only working a little at making hats, so you do what you can," she said.

And taking advice from her sister Louise -- herself a former winner of the same competition -- won't have hurt either.

As part of her prize, Martha won a €2,000 voucher for Fran & Jane boutiques and will feature in a photoshoot for 'Irish Tatler' magazine, something she described as "daunting".

Mr Ferguson, however, is too long in the tooth to describe Chelsea's lead in the Premiership in similar terms.

He will have to catch his horse's run on the television today as he prepares his side for a game against Wigan tomorrow as part of a hectic Christmas schedule in what he agrees is the most competitive season in years.

Punters

"It looks that way," he said. "I think it's good for the punters of course. But nonetheless, in the second half of the season I think we should be okay."

Among the politicians present to watch a truncated day's racing was former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and former Fianna Fail TD GV Wright.

Other faces in the 14,206 crowd included television presenter Lorraine Keane and model Andrea Roche, who helped judge the Most Stylish Lady award.

Racing at Limerick was also disrupted yesterday, this time because of ground conditions.


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