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Cheltenham Festival 2010: Here come the girls

Published 19/03/2010

Camilla Bassett-Smith
Camilla Bassett-Smith
Camilla Bassett-Smith
Fashion winners from left Molly McGarvey (hat winner) from Miami, Carly Shave (best dressed) from Cheltenham and Bernadette O'Sullivan (best accessories) from Killarney during day three of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Grainne Seoige from Dublin
Zara Phillips prior to the start of racing during day three of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Marietta Doran from Carlow
Margaret Connolly from Mullingar
TV presenter Grainne Seoige and Margaret Connolly from Mullingar
Margaret Connolly from Mullingar, County Westmeath
Ladies Day reunion for these former Cheltenham University graduates (left to right) Laura Stevens of Leeds, Stephanie Dier of Wokingham, Claire Wombwell of Hertfordshire and Gabrielle Reed of Cheltenham during day three of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Racegoers pose for a photograph
Zara Phillips jokes with Cheltenham Managing Director, Edward Gillespie in the parade ring
Ladies Day at the Cheltenham: Amy Woodburn in the Grandstand
Ladies Day at the Cheltenham: Stephanie Dampney and Alice Dalton from Fermanagh
Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival
A female racegoer prior to the start of racing during day three of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Prize horses weren’t the only things catching the eye at Cheltenham yesterday.

Some of the diehard fans may have been a bit disgruntled as teetering heels, bizarre hats and eel-skin bags took centre stage on Ladies’ Day — but others didn’t seem to mind one little bit.

“If you've a good eye for a lady, you've a good eye for a horse,” joked Irish studfarm owner Vincent Black.

His impeccable taste in fashion has obviously been passed on to his daughters who accompanied him to Cheltenham, including Joanne, a former Miss Ireland.

The Ladies' Day contest at least brought the Irish, who had been having a lean time on the hallowed turf yesterday, into the winners' enclosure. Bernadette O'Sullivan, a mother-of-four, scooped the prize for best accessories with a £30 hat she personalised with ribbons and flowers.

“To be honest, I only bought the umbrella this morning because someone said it would rain later in the day,” she confided in us. There were plenty of sporting figures spotted soaking up the atmosphere including Spurs footballer Peter Crouch, rugby star Mike Tindall and his royal partner Zara Phillips, Tipperary hurling legends Nicky English and Babs Keating, and snooker star Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White.

“Tony McCoy ruined me, bless him,” admitted White after the Ulster jockey failed to come through for him in the second race of the day.

White revealed he's now planning to descend on Punchestown racetrack with ageing Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.

“Ronnie is not drinking at the moment. He's behaving himself,” Jimmy assured us.

Irish punters are expected to place around £7m on the Gold Cup as the so-called ‘race of the century’ between Kauto Star and its stablemate Denman gets under way.

That is if the punters have any coins left to jingle when this festival enters its final day.

Yesterday was a wipeout with Irish trainers taking just a few of the placings — and beaten dockets littering the course like the proverbial confetti.

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