Vintage hats and stylish furs rule the green carpet
IT was a case of swapping the red carpet for one of a decidedly greener and muddier hue.
Newlywed jockey Nina Carberry was appropriately decked out in white, bar a few maroon stripes, as she put all thoughts of a honeymoon behind her to get back to business at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin yesterday.
"Definitely, it is the only way to spend it," she quipped, after her midweek wedding in Co Meath to Ted Walsh Jnr -- son of TV racing pundit Ted and brother of top jockey Ruby.
Meanwhile, 'Desperate Housewives' star Dana Delany was looking fresh after a night on the red carpet at the glamorous Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs).
The actress, who played Katherine Mayfair for three seasons before leaving in 2010, said: "The IFTAs were a great night. I ended up at a pub and then a house party . . . I don't know whose house it was."
There were plenty of mothers' handbags borrowed, umbrellas from Penneys, eBay purchases and homemade creations atop the heads as the semi-pros and newbies alike took their chances in the Hennessy Best Dressed Lady competition.
Fashion guru Godfrey Deeny was over from Paris to judge the women for a prize of a €7,000 voucher for the Design Centre at Powerscourt Town Centre and a Swarovski crystal-covered bottle of Hennessy.
"I was looking for someone with a contemporary look, fur for a cold day and someone with elegant understatement," Mr Deeny said.
Delighted winner Margaret Connolly (23), from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, bought her air-hostess hat on eBay for €18 and her 1950s cream Lilli Ann dress-coat for €220.
Racegoers were beaming as the Gold Cup went to the favourite, the Willie Mullins trained Quel Esprit with Ruby Walsh aboard.
It was a 50-1 shot, the Tony Martin-trained Benefficient, that caused the biggest stir after winning a novice hurdle -- with 'Happy Birthday' sung to Aidan 'Red' Shiels, who, along with Niall Reilly, owns the horse.
Mr Shiels, originally from Co Westmeath and the owner of The Irish Rovers pub in Queens, New York, bought airline tickets for 25 members of his US softball team to come to Ireland to mark his 50th birthday.
"Roll on Cheltenham," he said, as he fought back tears of joy from their biggest ever win on a horse they bought for €52,000.
"We backed him. These bookies are fed up taking money from me," Mr Shiels added, as a payout worth tens of thousands beckoned after he had backed the horse online at 66-1.
Full report: Sport P47