Swamp Fox won the feature race, the €26,000 Dawn Milk Handicap on Ladies Day at Killarney Races yesterday, but there was no outfoxing, or even outdancing judges Aidan O’Mahony and Thalia Heffernan who said they were “ swamped” with style.

The judges met on Dancing with the Stars and while model Thalia was a dab hand, and an old head at judging the style, Aidan said it was his first time and it was a lot more difficult than he thought. Two local entrants walked away with the awards. A red and gold outfit sported by HSE clerical officer Siobhán McCarthy stole the show for Thalia in the ladies category; while Aidan’s choice was the purple suit, the blue shoes, and the grey hat of insurance agent Gavin O’Leary.

In a great coincidence, Siobhán ‘s red and cream hat was designed by last year’s winner Agne Kremeneskiene, while her lace dress was bought online for about €150 from Asos. The gold shoes and bag were from Debenhams.

“Agne styled the whole outfit for me,” Siobhán said. She wins a trip to Paris for her trouble, sponsored by Dawn, along with a trophy.

Gavin’s purple suit was tailor-made in Thailand, while his blue shoes were bought online, as was his grey waistcoat and hat.

“The whole outfit would have cost me €250,” said Gavin who is delighted with the prize of a trip to Milan and a trophy.

Meanwhile, outside the winners’ enclosure, a number of black and gold outfits were particularly eye-catching : they included the uniforms of local gardaí Gillian McEoin and Diane Collins who were interacting good-humouredly with the crowd. “We thought we had a chance! We are so disappointed,” joked Gillian.

Anne Cronin, originally from north Cork, whose nephew is the young rising star jockey David Noonan, wore a Dior-style classic lemon/gold skirt inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex in the City, teamed with a fitted black velvet jacket worn “because of the cold start to the afternoon”.

Local scribe Breda Joy launched her new look, also classic, the large hat and sunglasses were from Bologna and the black and gold dress was from Bijou.

It was a hint of pink for young teacher and councillor Maura Healy-Rae and for her aunt Rosemary, it was black and pink.

Not to be outdone politically — or on the fashion stakes — outgoing mayor Michael O’Shea admitted to relaxing in the sun after a busy year — his new suit with a hint of grey tweed — was bought in Tralee for the occasion.

Sales and marketing manager Peter O’Reilly said the turnout over the four days was good and pre-ticket sales were very high.

Corporate dining was also hugely in demand with guests from the US, the UK, and even Australia.

Pictures: Dan Linehan

“People regard Killarney as unique and they have been coming for generations to the racing in the stunning setting.” Organisers were particularly delighted with the young attendance — people in their 20s and 30s and were once again plentiful and enjoying the occasion. This was apart from the quality of the racing which was good with a perfect track, he said.

Peter’s remarks were borne out by St Andrews, Scotland, University lecturer Sharon Leahy. Ms Leahy, originally from Tipperary, who teaches geography at the prestigious Scottish University, attends Killarney every year with her family. “I come here because the people are so lovely and friendly and Killarney is the most beautiful track in the world,” said Sharon who was spotted by the Irish Examiner exchanging high heels for a pair of flat sandals.

Two pairs of shoes seemed the order of the day. Young gentlemen were seen helping their partners home — one pair of high shoes in one hand and a helping elbow for the lame to lean on in the flat.


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