Famous course braces itself for Ladies Day
THERE were flashes of colour streaking across the turf as Cheltenham braced itself for the invasion of glitz and glamour for Ladies Day.
It might not be quite the sultry temperatures desired for baring legs but hardy racegoers weren't going to let that bitter north-easterly wind get in the way of fashion.
Canny bookmaker Mary Carty, sporting an eye catching burnt orange hat from Philip Treacy for Ladies Day, was hoping to stand out amongst the stalls down at the track.
"The first day was busy - no good. There were minuses after the first day," the Kells, Co Meath, woman admitted after the heavily backed jockey Ruby Walsh delivered three winners.
"You have to be cautious on the first or second day. You don't give back too much - we always get results one day," she quipped.
Dress in an headturning polka dot coat and teamed with a pink and white fitted dress, racegoer Michelle Molloy, from Corofin, Co Galway, revealed she'd picked up her dress in a last minute trip to the infamous boutique known as Penneys before flying over.
"It was a birthday present for his 21st last year - we are finally getting to use it," said the fashionista as she pointed at her boyfriend Paul Freeley.
His eyes were already on the racecard as he revealed he'd had a flutter on the favourite, the Willie Mullins trained Back in Focus, in the first.
Racegoers were expected to nab their best viewing points when the heavily-backed Sprinter Sacre takes to the parade ring for the much awaited Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase.
Despite the plunging temperatures, the first day of the meet attracted a new record crowd of 56,284 for the action packed four-day festival.
"To get in excess of 56,000 people and be almost 2,000 up is a tremendous testament to the appeal of the festival and the hard work of all the team here," said Ian Renton, regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses.