And they're off... stylish racing fans gallop to top Festival
Racing enthusiasts from around the country are flocking to Kildare as the annual Punchestown Festival kicks off today.
The worlds of sport, fashion and entertainment will be brought together during the racing extravaganza, which runs until Saturday.
One of the first races on the card is The Herald Champion Novice hurdle, with Douvan expected to start as favourite.
Over the course of the five days, home-grown racing champions Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh, Paul Carberry and Jessica Harrington take on the might of the visitors Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Richard Johnson among many others.
The event, which is one of the highlights of the Irish sporting calendar, is in full swing from today with three Grade One races taking place, and a total of 12 over the course of the festival.
Today's festivities are expected to start on a high note with appearances from racing legend Tony McCoy (inset) and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
While the racing doesn't start until 3.40pm, there is live music and performances on stage at the racecourse from 1.30pm.
For fashionistas thinking of making their way to the Kildare racecourse, the search for the most stylish lady at the annual festival will also start today with former Miss World Rosanna Davison acting as judge.
The competition will take place over the first four days of the event and a daily winner will be chosen each day from a selection of contestants scouted by the competition's judges. The finalists will then battle it out for the Most Stylish Lady crown on Friday, May 1.
Daily winners will get €1,000 worth of Gold Fever Hair Extensions, while each contestant will receive a goody bag worth €400.
The main event will be judged by model Georgia Salpa, with the fashionable ladies going head-to-head to win the top prize worth over €20,000.
The winner and a companion will be flown to South Africa for one week on an all-inclusive five-star holiday.
For the final day of the festival on Saturday, Punchestown is welcoming families to attend its Family Fun Day.
Children can take advantage of the 60,000 square feet of amusements, including bouncy castles, face painting, pony rides, fancy dress and a huge funfair.