There was a little muck and a lot of glamour at Ladies’ Day in Listowel yesterday, when a total prize fund of €6,000 was on offer before any horse began racing.
A huge turnout of contestants for the best-dressed lady competition, and new categories such as best selfie, saw the pressure on parking attendants at Listowel’s 158th Harvest Festival to get the finely-clad as close as possible to the racecourse entrance, which is several fields off-road.
It prompted one race-goer to suggest that next year there might be prize for the best-dressed security official. Clad in a yellow hi-vis jacket, security attendant Catherine Murphy from Rockchapel managed to guide three ladies from the Waterford-Cork border to a spot where heels would not sink.
“This is as far as I can get ye,” Ms Murphy said.
Trish Moloney, in mint and silver, and Martha Morrisson, in cerise and black, from Knockanore in Co Waterford, along with Irene Kenneally of Conna, in navy lace, were very grateful to have kept their shoes clean, though Ms Kenneally admitted to having “two ladders in the tights”.
Within the grounds, a huge turnout around the marquee saw 10 well-dressed ladies picked from the crowd and introduced on stage by judges Maura Derrane of the RTÉ Today show and James Patrice, Snapchat star.
New media star James was “a novice” joked Maura, adding she would have to pull back from the racing speak or they would have a comedy act.
The 10 best dressed ranged from a self-designed outfit in red with a touch of pink by Glengarriff designer Valerie O’Shea, with the addition of Valentino shoes, to a magnificent appliqued outfit with shoes from Dunnes Stores in the case of Breda Butler from Tipperary.
The biggest cheer went to local lady Catherine Keane for a fitted, self-designed houndstooth trouser suit with matching hat with a touch of red. The hat was made by Ms Keane herself the night before. She was runner-up and got a prize of €1,000, the first prize of €3,000 going to Louise Allen of Co Meath, for a designer dress bought on eBay.
Her structured red cluster rose-embellished dress with shoulder detail was worn with red headpiece by Tralee milliner Carol Kennelly.
Kinga Grunau, 20, in a pink and silver outfit, took the prize for most stylish selfie. Best-dressed couple were Sharon Heffernan and Anthony McCarthy from Listowel, who won a luxury weekend in the Brehon Hotel, Killarney.
Meanwhile, gardaí were thanked yesterday for managing to extract a woman from the river under a bridge at the pedestrian entrance to Listowel Race course, where the traditional custom of “throw me down something”, seeking money from racegoers, takes place.
A vigilant garda was able to save the panicked woman.
The seven-day festival continues until tomorrow.
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