Wednesday 21 February 2018

Fashion stakes high as thousands brave the rain for Fairyhouse festival

Easter Sunday 16 April 2017. Fairyhouse. Aoife McCrane, Ashbourne.
Easter Sunday 16 April 2017. Fairyhouse. Aoife McCrane, Ashbourne.
2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017 Niamh Flynn from Meath. Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017 Cheryl Scully and Serena Cole from Dublin Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Sean O'Grady

Grey skies and showers failed to put a dampener on the Easter Festival as thousands descended on Fairyhouse Racecourse.

All eyes were on the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Steeplechase.

Yorkhill looked like making all the running as the field straightened up for home, despite jumping violently to the left.

However, Michael O'Leary's Road To Respect edged out the hot favourite in a nail-biting finish.

2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017
Niamh Flynn from Meath. Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017 Niamh Flynn from Meath. Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Speaking in the parade ring after his win, the Ryanair boss admitted the superior horse lost. "I'm delighted. To be fair, we won a great one we didn't deserve to win," he said.

"The best horse finished second but everybody knew coming here we all had a chance because he jumps out to the left."

The businessman celebrated his win with his wife Anita and children Matt (11), Luke (10), Tianna (7) and Zack (6).

Easter Sunday also saw Ratoath's own Jake Grogan (8) crowned winner of the Easter bonnet competition.

2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017
Amy Gannon, Amy Ryan and Ciara Scully from Dublin
Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017 Amy Gannon, Amy Ryan and Ciara Scully from Dublin Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

"It took us a good week-and-a-half to do it," said proud mum Tanya. He won a €200 voucher for La Bucca restaurant and a bottle of Prosecco for his mum.

Rachel Cherry, from Meath, is an avid racing fan and she believes there's something special about Fairyhouse.

2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017
Cheryl Scully and Serena Cole from Dublin
Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
2017 Fairyhouse Racing Festival, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 16/4/2017 Cheryl Scully and Serena Cole from Dublin Pic: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

"My boyfriend Keith Clarke is a trainer. He mainly does flats but he has a few jumpers. I go every year. Fairyhouse is local so you always prefer your local track," she said.

Jessie Lee (21) was over from Manchester with a group of 24 people to celebrate her mother's 50th birthday.

"I'm into horses, we have some at home and we do the big races," she said.

"We go to the Grand National back home but this is our first time at Fairyhouse. It's been a great day out."

Laura Turley (26), from Ratoath, also enjoyed a day at her local racecourse.

Herald

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