Friday 14 December 2018

Jockey Katie calls time on career while air hostess Eimear wings her way to style award

Katie Walsh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Katie Walsh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Sean O'Grady

Sean O'Grady

Katie Walsh bade farewell to racing at Punchestown as the style stakes were taken up a notch on day four of the festival.

It was an emotional day for Walsh and her family as she announced her retirement after steering Antey to a narrow success.

Robbie Power won the Betdaq 2pc Commission Punchestown Champion Hurdle onboard Supasundae
yesterday. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Robbie Power won the Betdaq 2pc Commission Punchestown Champion Hurdle onboard Supasundae yesterday. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The leading amateur, who is the daughter of Grand National-winning trainer Ted Walsh and sister of National Hunt riding great Ruby, got an ovation as she entered the jockey's room for the last time. Walsh said: "It's been on my mind for the last while and there's another chapter in life. I wanted to go out on a winner, whether it be here or wherever it may be. I just said when I rode the next winner that would be it."

It was a day for the ladies at the Kildare racetrack as first-time racegoer Eimear Cassidy took the award for Best Dressed Lady. Ms Cassidy, who works as an Aer Lingus air hostess, broke down in tears when she found out she had won, describing it as "surreal".

The Louth woman (32) wore a dress she bought from a boutique in Boston and paired it with shoes from Penneys with pearls she customised herself. Her outfit was topped off with a hat by milliner Suzanne Ryan.

"I spent the morning gluing myself together. The style here is absolutely just phenomenal," she told the Irish Independent.

Eimear Cassidy won the Overall Bollinger Best Dressed Lady prize at the 2018 Punchestown festival. Photo: Michael Chester
Eimear Cassidy won the Overall Bollinger Best Dressed Lady prize at the 2018 Punchestown festival. Photo: Michael Chester

"I'm happy that I'm even just here, let alone anything else. So it's lovely to feel like a lady for today."

As part of her win, Ms Cassidy won a host of prizes including a VIP trip for two to the private Bollinger estate and its new Champagne libraries in France.

Judging the style on the day was model and former Miss Ireland Aoife Walsh.

The Tipperary woman (28) has spent the last few months modelling in New York City but was back on home turf to enjoy a day at the races.

Racegoers celebrate the results of the Best Dressed Lady competition at Punchestown Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Racegoers celebrate the results of the Best Dressed Lady competition at Punchestown Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Jockey Robbie Power and trainer Jessica Harrington emerged victorious in the Grade One Profile Systems Champion Novice Hurdle of €100,000 with Supasundae and their trophy was presented to them by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

It was a nail-biting race, with Melon and Samcro both falling at the third-last hurdle, allowing Supasundae to steal through.

Some 33,082 poured through the turnstiles yesterday, which was up 3,019 on last year.

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Irish Independent

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