Friday 23 August 2019

Hat change clinches best-dressed title 'that's like winning All Ireland'

Champion look: Kate Nally McCormack, from Longford, overall winner of the Best Dressed Lady competition yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Champion look: Kate Nally McCormack, from Longford, overall winner of the Best Dressed Lady competition yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

An alternative headpiece worked a treat for Kate Nally McCormack as she was crowned the overall Bollinger Best Dressed Lady at Punchestown for 2019.

The 36-year-old, from Longford, remained a firm favourite with the judges, having nabbed a place in the final during the week.

Eimear Cassidy, Suzanne Ryan and Sarah Brady at the Punchestown festival. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Eimear Cassidy, Suzanne Ryan and Sarah Brady at the Punchestown festival. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

A finalist last year too, Kate led in the style stakes in her Self Portrait red and cream dress. She accessorised with pieces from Zara, while her headpiece was made by Dublin milliner Suzanne Ryan.

She had worn a different hat on Wednesday, but switched things up a bit for the grand finale yesterday in which eight women faced off for the prize.

Kate, an environmental health officer and mum of three, will now jet off to Paris as part of her reward and attend an invite-only screening of the new James Bond film next April.

She will also stay a night in the town of Reims - the capital of the Champagne region.

Jessie Knight (18), from Carlow, yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Jessie Knight (18), from Carlow, yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

"The style has been on another level," said Kate.

"I'm just delighted to be bringing the Bollinger back to Co Longford."

While most people who won their heats during the week opted to change their outfit, Kate decided to wear her winning dress again.

"I thought if it was good enough to win on Wednesday I might be lucky enough on Friday - and I was."

And it was two in a row for Dublin milliner Suzanne Ryan as last year, overall winner air hostess Eimear Cassidy, from Balgriffin, Dublin, wore a piece from the milliner based in Oldtown.

The milliner told the Irish Independent it was like "winning the All Ireland" for her.

"I am so proud. To win two years in a row at Punchestown, I don't know if it has ever been done before. It's like winning the All Ireland for me, this is wonderful," she said. "They are gorgeous clients and they are both friends of mine now."

When Kate secured a spot in yesterday's final, dedicated Suzanne managed to create another hat by the early hours of Thursday.

"Kate was in the final last year, then she won on Wednesday," she said. "I had a message and by 2.30am in the morning I had a new hat ready to go again. I am delighted she wore the same dress again because it is so beautiful.

"The hat completely changed it, my hat on Wednesday was beautiful and very quirky and I think that is what got her into the final. But today was all about elegance and Bollinger's Most Stylish Lady so it had to be that, and she is every inch the Most Stylish Lady."

There were plenty of daring outfits on display yesterday, with the power suit definitely on-trend on the racing circuit with bright colours also the order of the day.

On the track, the feature race of the day the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle was won by JP McManus-owned Buveur D'Air, the 2/1 joint favourite. He was ridden to victory with on-form Davy Russell in the saddle.

Irish Independent

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