WHILE trainers and owners will be doing their final pre-race inspections on their horses, local fashionistas will be putting on their stilettos and finest frocks in the hope of tottering off with the Most Stylish Ladies Day title at the Shannon Airport Christmas Racing Festival.
The four-day festival – which opens at Limerick Racecourse, Greenmount Park, Patricks-well on St Stephen’s Day and runs until Tuesday – is synonymous with great racing and, of course, a great atmosphere.
The 2015 festival will boast a staggering prize fund in excess of €450,000, with 28 races to be decided throughout the four-day spectacle.
Over 40,000 people are expected to attend the Shannon Airport-sponsored extravaganza, making it Ireland’s biggest sporting and social gathering of the festive season outside of Dublin.
With live racing action from 12:30pm each day, the card includes Festive Most Stylish Ladies Day on Sunday, December 27 and Family Fun Day on Tuesday, December 29 which takes place in the Greenmount Grotto and will include face-painting, party games and much more.
Children under 16 years will enjoy free admission to the races on all four days of the festival.
Limerick Racecourse have announced that Sunway Holidays are once again the title sponsor of the Festive Most Stylish Ladies Day, giving away a holiday for two people for seven nights to a popular 4-star accommodation in Lanzarote to the winner.
“There is a fantastic prize offered by Sunway Holidays and thank you to Shannon Duty Free and Fab Fillies online shop for their generous sponsorship of the runner-up prizes. Ladies days at Limerick always generate a lot of interest and I am looking forward to seeing lots of style on display on the day,” said Amy O’Regan, sales and marketing executive at Limerick Racecourse.
The second prize in the Sunway Holidays Most Stylish Ladies competition is a luxury hamper sponsored by Shannon Duty Free at Shannon Airport and third prize is a €200 voucher for Fab Fillies, an online accessory website. Judging the competition this year are modelling agent Hilary Thompson and business-woman Sharon Tucker, who is also a columnist in the Leader’s sister paper, the Limerick Chronicle.
“Fashion fades but style is eternal,” said Hilary Thompson this week. “I will be looking out for the complete look - coat, headpiece and accessories. I’m sure it will be a very difficult decision to pick a winner.”
Sharon said she is looking for a winner “who knows how to dress for her shape.
“I am looking for something classy and simple and a lady who has her own sense of style,” she added.
General admission is €20 per person and first race is off at 12:35pm with seven races on the card. There will be live music after racing with The Half Yards.
This year ladies can register online for the Most Stylish Lady competition. Log onto www.limerickraces.ie for more details on the competition.
Meanwhile, RTE Racing will also be providing live coverage of the feature race on each of the four days on RTE 2 television for those who can’t make it to Limerick to enjoy the atmopshere.
Record-breaking jockey Nina Carberry said the Christmas racing festival at Limerick Racecourse “is the premier national hunt meeting in Munster each year and one of the highlights on the Irish racing calendar.
“There’s a fantastic buzz in the run up to and throughout the festival. The track is in superb condition and the jockeys love to have a winner in Limerick at Christmas.
“It’s four days of top-class racing but it’s also a brilliant social event with fun for all the family. From a purely racing perspective, it’s a cracking festival. It attracts many of the country’s top horses and year-on-year unveils Cheltenham winners.
I’m very excited about this year’s event and I’m really looking forward to it,” Nina continued.
Conor O’Neill, general manager of Limerick Racecourse said: “Our Christmas festival has always been a long-standing tradition for the people of Limerick and further afield, the only exception is that 2015 is shaping up to be the biggest one yet!”
Bring it on!