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winning in style

HAUTE couture or home-made, there were plenty of options when it came to the hats at the Dublin Horse Show's Ladies Day.

It was all feathers and flirty florals filtering through the gates of the RDS yesterday and over 600 glamorously dressed women queued up as early as 11am to enter themselves into the annual Blossom Hill Best Dressed competition, which boasted the highest turn out yet.

And aside from the fashion, Bruce Springsteen's daughter proved she was Born to Run when she clinched victory on her horse Davendy S in last night's Anglesea Stakes at the RDS.

Jessica Springsteen (22) recorded her first five-star win after honing her skills over the last two years.

"I've been riding fast since I was in Junior Jumpers and I knew I could really go for it with my mare. She's so careful and so quick across the fences," thrilled Jessica said.

"It was my first big step up with her but I knew she could do it, she was flying - we took off pretty far away from that last fence."


Jessica said that the win in Dublin was particularly special, with her mum Patti Scialfa and dad Bruce in the audience.

"I came here seven years ago and always wanted to ride at this show so this is really exciting," she said.

The rider also said she was looking forward to today's Aga Khan challenge.

"I haven't done too many Nations Cups, and it's a huge honour to represent my country here with Vindicat," Jessica added.

Elsewhere ladies stepped up the style stakes for the 2014 Ladies Day competition.

And it was Kerry milliner Carol Kennelly who stood out for judges Brendan Courtney and Angela Scanlon.

The 42-year-old mum-of-two wore a cream dress made with ostrich feathers by friend Tina Griffin, with a bag and shoes by high street store Aldo.

She accessorised beautifully with pearls from tip to toe and the look was championed by her hat, a pearl headpiece she created herself. Carol, who is a regular race goer and was one of the leading millinery choices by the other entrants on this occasion, was rewarded with a shopping trip to New York worth €8,000.

"I'm overwhelmed. I love these days because I come up with a few friends and we leave the kids at home. We've had great fun," Carol told the Herald.

Galway gal Lisa Regan (28) placed 
runner-up and was congratulated for her €15 shirt dress, a vintage find. She wore a hat by Michael Mullins and snakeskin court shoes.

And simply being part of the extravagaza was more than enough for Adrienne Brandes. She emigrated to California 50 years ago and returned to her native Ballsbridge especially for the swish affair.

Families sat on their picnic-strewn rugs looking on as the action unfolded around them.

Among those soaking up the afternoon sunshine in the champagne tent were old RTE pals Anne Doyle and Eileen Dunne. Fellow broadcaster Mary Kennedy was another to turn out.

With no concerts having been held at the RDS this year, the grounds are looking particularly well groomed.

And as more than 100,000 people will be in attendance over the five days of this event, Michael Duffy, chief executive of the RDS, said there are clear signs of economic recovery.