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New 'pilgrimage' for bookmaker Mary

THIS is one lady who is very familiar with the outline of Cheltenham racecourse.

Glamorous bookmaker Mary Carty has made her "pilgrimage" to the English racing festival.

And the Meath woman said mixing with her client base in the UK is essential for the survival of her bookmaking business.

The 'lady in red', as she referred to herself yesterday, has been at her own stand at the course for more than a decade.

While she admits times are still tough, she said that patience with a smile is key to staying in business.

"I come every year and I love it, it's like my pilgrimage," Mary said. "I work for my brothers at home and when I'm in England I work for Pat O'Hare.

"It's tough at the moment, but it will come around. Bookmakers are risk-takers so you have to play the waiting game and sit out the tough times," she added.