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Best dressed sideshow is just not at the races

Hardly a week goes by without a new Best Dressed competition being promoted. After a flurry, courtesy of one race meeting after another this summer, it's now the turn of the Dublin Horse Show to entice fashionable women to Ballsbridge.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with these contests. though admittedly they are a meaningless sideshow to the main event.

But they do serve a twin purpose.

Firstly, courtesy of the stylish women in attendance they generate column inches in the press, which might not be so easily garnered by the 4.40 Handicap Hurdle.

Just as importantly, they encourage well-heeled ladies to come together in groups, and thereby boost takings - if not at the tote, then certainly in the champagne tent.

Nonetheless, why should someone pocket €10,000 for simply being able to co-ordinate an outfit?

And what is becoming increasingly tedious about these best dressed ladies events, however, is the god-like status given to the ultimate arbiters of style, the Ladies' Day Judges.


The absurd degree of gravitas that they apply to their task is matched only by the platitudes they trot out masquerading as pearls of wisdom.

One judge for the RDS event came out with the following top tip: "It's very important to dress suitably for the occasion," an earth-shattering insight to which one may make the following observations.

If someone was intending to dress inappropriately - ie turn up like a tramp - should they really be entering in the first place?

And if this tip is the best that judges can muster, what exactly qualifies them for their lofty role?