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Chanelle sticks with Mark T in style stakes

HE WAS her go-to milliner when it came to turning heads at Zara Phillips's wedding to Mike Tindall.

And glamorous Chanelle McCoy revealed how she's staying loyal to local designer Mark T Burke to ensure she cuts a dash in the style stakes at the Galway Races.

Speaking to the Diary on the opening day of the meeting, the wife of champion jockey AP McCoy said she again enlisted the services of talented Mark to ensure she was looking the part for the festival.

"Mark is fantastic. He has kitted me out for the entire week so I've a different hat for each day," she explained.

Originally from Loughrea, Co Galway, Chanelle said the going was always good at Ballybrit as it was her local festival.

"The weather is amazing and the style is amazing for a Monday evening and it's helped by the fact that there's the most appropriately dressed competition today. The sunshine brings out the colour," she said.

Her Gold Cup-winning hubbie will be riding out tomorrow and Thursday -- but she said they didn't know yet which horses JP McManus would pick for him.

But she admitted that it was nice to have a chilled-out day with some of her friends from her home town as she enjoyed all the action.

"I can just relax today as he's not riding. I don't have to look at the screen and check if he's had any falls," she added.

And when it came to the opening day of the festival, it was a Dublin filly who was first past the post in a quirky race with a difference.

Terenure native Caoilinn de Bairead (39) was one of 25 married ladies who squeezed into their wedding dresses to run a furlong for the Special Olympics Connaught.


The speedy sprinter didn't let having multiple sclerosis hold her back as she won the race by several lengths, cheered on by her husband Brian and three children Saoirse (12), Rian (11) and Orla (9).

She explained how she rode every day to help keep her fit and was thrilled to help raise funds for charity.

"I ride out every day, so the ground was perfect for me. Hopefully next year I'll do it on a horse!" she said.

She met her husband while studying in NUI Galway and will celebrate her 14th wedding anniversary next week.