Monday 23 September 2019

Fashionistas out in force for first day of Punchestown racing festival

Top hats: Best dressed lady finalists Maria Byrne, Vivienne O’Connor, winner Gretta Peters, Joanne Byrne and Sarah Cass, at the first day of the Punchestown festival, Kildare. Right, Paula McCormick from Thurles. Photo: Damien Eagers/Sportsfile
Top hats: Best dressed lady finalists Maria Byrne, Vivienne O’Connor, winner Gretta Peters, Joanne Byrne and Sarah Cass, at the first day of the Punchestown festival, Kildare. Right, Paula McCormick from Thurles. Photo: Damien Eagers/Sportsfile
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Racegoers braved the elements and turned out in style at a rainy Punchestown racecourse yesterday.

It was the first day of the four-day festival and the fashionistas were out in force in their bid to be crowned the best dressed lady.

Despite the rain there were plenty of colourful outfits coming through the turnstiles to brighten the gloomy day.

It was Gretta Peters who won over the judges with her sophisticated look in the Bollinger Best Dressed Lady competition.

The Tipperary woman (35) wore a navy Julie Caulfield off-the-shoulder two-piece with a Laura Hanlon headpiece.

She walked away with a deluxe goodie bag and a bottle of bubbly from Bollinger - and was fast-tracked to this Friday's fashion finale.

A full-time blogger on 'Get Glam with Gret', this was the stylish mum-of-three's first win at the races.

"It's my first and I can't believe it's Bollinger. It's brilliant," she said.

Sarah Cass (32), originally from Gowran, Co Kilkenny, wasn't turned off by the rain as she arrived in style at the course. "I wore cream as it would be better than wearing black on a dull day," she said.

Joanne Byrne (26), from Allenwood, Co Kildare, also looked sophisticated in a statement dress from Phoenix V. She treated herself to the dress after achieving two personal goals: completing the first year of her Master's and losing three stone.

There was plenty of action on the turf, too, with the Grade One Herald Champion Novice Hurdle being won by Willie Mullins-trained Klassical Dream, ridden to victory by Ruby Walsh.

The horse was owned by Joanne Coleman, and originally bought by her late husband John.

However, John was there in spirit yesterday, said trainer Mullins.

There was more luck for Mullins in the feature race of the day, the Boylesports Champion Steeplechase, as 11/1 second favourite Un De Sceaux finished first under the guidance of the unstoppable Paul Townend.

Irish Independent

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