Weather can't dampen punters' spirits as thousands flock to Fairyhouse
THE cold snap failed to dampen the spirits of the 5,000 race goers who turned out to the opening day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival today.
It was a frosty afternoon, but that didn’t deter the eager punters as they wrapped up in their fur coats and trilby hats to enjoy some top quality racing at the Co Meath racecourse.
The first win of the festival, the Fairyhouse Vets Promoting Equine Health Maiden Hurdle, went to jockey Andrew Lynch, on board Ann and Alan Potts' Juan De Gracia.
Following that at 2.25pm was the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle Championship final of €90,000.
Top trainer Willie Mullins had three horses among the line-up. Sporting siblings Ruby and Katie Walsh went head-to-head in opposing colours, but it was Ruby aboard Annie Power who took to the presentation stage to receive the trophy.
"She's a very exciting prospect for us now, we're looking forward to Punchestown with her," said Mullins of Annie Power, a mare described by veterans as a superstar in the making.
Fairyhouse manager Peter Roe told the Irish Independent of his delight to see such a strong turnout on day one, with crowds spilling through the turnstiles all afternoon.
"This time last week we were looking at a nightmare and wondered would we even race. It was really looking frightening.
"We had snow every morning up until Thursday, fortunately since then we've had wind and dry days so thankfully the ground dried out," he said.