The sun shone on Tipperary Racecourse for their flagship Summer Sunday Racedayas a big crowd descended on the popular Limerick Junction track.
The National Hunt card attracted a strong racing interest whilst the two fashion competitions on the day, the Ballykisteen Hotel and First Editions Best Dressed Lady and Brendan Courtney’s ‘Who Wants to be a Milliner Competition’ saw fashionistas and Milliners from every corner of the country arrive for a fabulous day.
It was Family Day too and children got to enjoy the racing action and lots of family fun activities including the Front Runner Racing Club for Kids, Rodeo Bull, Bouncy Castles and Garden Games.
Silk Hall caused a 25-1 upset in fending off joint-favouritesSteps To Freedom and Fosters Cross in the Grade 3 Kevin McManus Bookmakers Grimes Hurdle. After being beaten out of sight in his last two starts, the eight-year-old made all under Eddie O’Connell to win the 2m feature by three-quarters of a length. After the morning withdrawal of market leader So Young, Fosters Cross and Steps To Freedom shared 2-1 favouritism but attacking on each side of Silk Hall going to the last could not get past.
Silk Hall had won in Britain when trained on the Flat by David Arburthnot and over hurdles by Alan King but was winning for the first time in nearly two years since a Galway success in August 2011.
Trainer James Lambe said of the winner, who returned at almost 37-1 on The Tote: “People may have said it was pie-in-the-sky stuff running him in this race but if he ran to the form he showed when third in the Scottish Champion Hurdle he had his chance.
“We put blinkers on him during the week as I felt he was getting lazy and you can see he’s a bit tubby. It’s fantastic for Eddie and the plan was to make it a good test.
“He’ll hardly go to the Galway Hurdle as he really wants further. He’ll go for the Grade C handicap hurdle on the Saturday of Galway.”
Action was hot on and off the track as hundreds of fashionable ladies added colour and style to the day. Laura Kilcoyne originally from Kilfeacle Co. Tipperary was crowed the winner of the Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort and First Editions Ladies Fashion Boutique Best Dressed Lady Competition following a unanimous decision by the judges, Irish Television Presenter Brendan Courtney, Laura Moore from Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort and Maria Ryan who will be representing Ireland in the Ms. European contest in Malta in November.
Brendan Courtney said; “I love coming to Tipperary and thank you for another great welcome. The weather was beautiful and it was a great to see so much colour and style. The standard here at Tipperary was incredible and we had a really difficult choice to make but we were delighted to announce Laura as our winner in front of a great crowd, she was stunning in a classic outfit that was the perfect choice for a day at the races.”
As the winner of the Best Dressed Lady competition, Laura went home with €1,000 prize package Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort, a VIP trip to the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and a styling session and complete raceday outfit with First Editions Ladies Fashion boutique in Thurles.
Brendan Courtney also hosted a heat of the innovative hat design competition ‘Who Wants to be a Milliner’. The winner of the Tipperary heat was milliner Alva Maguire who’s winning piece will go forward to the final at the RDS Dublin Horse Show in August where the winning collection will be selected to go on sale in Arnotts.
Jane Davis, Manager at Tipperary Racecourse said: - “Ladies day was a great success and it was fantastic to be able to partner with three local businesses to provide such wonderful prizes. Brendan was once again a big hit with the crowd and spent a lot of time chatting to the entrants and making everyone feel very welcome. I would like to offer a huge thank you to our sponsors both on and off the track for their support and we hope to see everyone back for the Fillies Friday Night Out at Tipperary on the 10th August.”