Irish ladies out in front in style stakes at Cheltenham
NEVER mind the racing "it's all about tan leather man bags and tweed heath green flat caps," according to one punter sauntering through the Guinness tented village at Cheltenham.
The stands were awash with tweed blazers and felt fedoras as most of the men appeared to consult the same stylist arriving at day one of the festival in some form of 'rural chic' getup.
As a result, it was up to Irish ladies to bring the style in spades.
Leitrim-based milliner Jennifer Wrynne turned plenty of heads in her sky blue Catriona Hanley dress and a striking sinamay hat she made herself.
"I wanted something bright," she said. "When the sun is shining this bright, you have to wear something colourful."
Sarah Gannon from Rathmines looked chic in an LK Bennett dress and a vintage coat and scarf.
"It's my first time here and the style is definitely different from Leopardstown," she said.
Horse breeder Sue Foley cut a dash in a fur trimmed Barnardo coat.
"It keeps me warm and that's the main thing," she laughed.
One Irishman who left the tweed at home was Downton Abbey star Allen Leech, who was decked out in a sharp navy suit. Leech has just returned from a worldwide trip promoting The Imitation Game.
"My family have been coming to Cheltenham for 10 years so it's a bit of a tradition. My mum has had several national hunt horses over the years but unfortunately we never got one to Cheltenham."
Leech is in talks to star in a Broadway show and admitted it was still taking a bit of time to get over Downton.
British Royal Zara Philips was also spotted in the crowd, along former finance minister Charlie McCreevy
"I've been coming here for longer than I can remember," McCreevy said. "And I never seem to have enough money with me."
Chanelle McCoy was there cheering on hubby AP who will ride in his last ever Cheltenham festival this week.
"AP is feeling very nostalgic and he is going to try and enjoy every moment of this week," she said. "There is definitely more of a sense of sadness for him."
The rest of the Irish punters made their way into Cheltenham town centre to party the night away.
JP McManus seemed confident the "Mullins crew" would celebrate in style.
"It is a historic day and I know a few in that camp who are more than capable when it comes to celebrating," he said.
The dancing and drinking went on late into the night.
"God help us tomorrow," one punter shouted before sinking another neat whiskey.
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