Marisa reigns supreme as she beats odds with two best-dressed wins
TWO visits to the racecourse resulted in two best-dressed competition wins for a young medical student.
Even the bookies would respect those kinds of odds, as Marisa Cheah pulled off a stunning win at the Darley Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday.
Marisa (23), from Fermanagh, qualified for the 'Best of the Best Dressed' competition after initially winning at Leopardstown in December.
Sixteen ladies who won Best Dressed competitions at racecourses over the last 12 months battled it out to win the Bollinger Ultimate Ladies' Day title.
"Today is only the second time that I've been racing so I can't believe that I've won," said Marisa, whose parents, Verna and Shen, watched her presentation in the winners' enclosure.
Marisa took no risks with her outfit and after spotting a Tempest Hunter cream satin and lace corset dress, she ordered it in two sizes from London to make sure she had the right fit.
Her pencil dress worked perfectly with her navy Grainne Maher hat, a rental from Blush on Ormeau Road, while her navy clutch and matching peep-toe sandals were from Cilento in Strabane.
Marisa bagged the prize of a case of pink bubbly and a weekend at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Killarney.
Meanwhile, the ladies attending the Darley Oaks got an opportunity to enter another best-dressed event, this time sponsored by local business, Michael Murphy.
This was won by Carol Kennelly, inset, who certainly turned heads in her 1950s-inspired, off-the-shoulder top, matching long Capri pants and a tilted hat she made with a striped disc and cream orchids.
The mother-of-two, from Tralee, last won a best dressed competition in Galway in 2008 and since then has become a milliner, equipping other women with stylish headpieces for the racing circuit.
Her hats are regularly in the winners' enclosure but she was quite surprised, and emotional, after winning. She said her outfit, made by Tina Griffin in Killorglin, had been inspired by the South of France in the 1950s.
Christine McDonagh came so close to winning at the Curragh after flying back for 48 hours from her summer job in America. The Fermoy woman made it to the final three of the Bollinger Ultimate Ladies Day, chosen by the judges, Colette Fitzpatrick from TV3 and myself.
Christine, who is about to start a master's in Finance, gambled on taking time out from her job in Ocean City to compete in a $50 (€38) cream dress, which she styled with a 'Gatsby'-style hat and a cream parasol.
The student qualified for the Curragh 'face-off' after winning in Cork at Easter. She stayed overnight at Killashee hotel and met with family and friends before dashing back on to a plane.