Some 6,000 patrons flocked through the Fairyhouse turnstiles yesterday for day one of the Easter Festival where there was something for everyone.
On the racing front Gordon Elliott was out of luck in the feature Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse yesterday with Mengli Khan, but he also sadly lost Cubomania to a fatal injury in the same race.
There was some consolation for the Longwood-based trainer asMill Quest won the Lauro At Hayes Stud Rated Novice Chase under Aintree Grand National-winning jockey Davy Russell.
Elliott was also on the mark with Sassy Yet Classy which won the O’Flynn Motors Mallow Mares Maiden Hurdle under Keith Donoghue at Cork.
Robbie Power, who will partner locally-owned Jury Duty in today's big race, had some fortune on his side when taking a dramatic BoyleSports Novice Handicap Chase with the Jessica Harrington-trained Impact Factor.
Rachel Blackmore and Mind’s Eye held a slight advantage over Impact Factor approaching the second last when veering sharply right and running out and taking Snugsborough Hall out as well.
Impact Factor took full advantage and came home five and a half lengths clear under Robbie Power.
However, it wasn't a bad day for Blackmore, who has enjoyed a stunning season, when she added a first Grade 1 on home soil to her impressive CV when guiding Honeysuckle to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.
THE EXPERT PANEL
The Fairyhouse Marquee was a big attraction yesterday with the 'expert' panel of tipsters that included legendary Dunderry footballer David Jennings all providing valuable information for the serious and not so serious enthsiats who flocked to the venue.
HAVING A LAUGH AT FAIRYHOUSE - THE BEST DRESSED PERSON AWARD
TIGER ROLL ON PARADE
There was also a chance to glimpse the legend that is Tiger Roll - the double-winning Aintree Grand National horse made a guest appearance and completed a lap or two of the parade ring with another favourite Bless The Wings.
A highlight for younger racing fans on Sunday was the Little Hoofs Puissance Wall high jump display and the annual La Bucca Easter Bonnet competition, which showcased the artistic talents of the young designers.
The first race is at 2.05pm;
The Irish Grand National 5.00pm:
Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Most Stylish Lady marquee opens for judging from midday
10 finalists for Most Stylish Lady announced on main stage in the Festival Marquee: 3.30pm
Three finalists and winner of Most Stylish Lady announced in parade ring: 4.00pm
President Michael D Higgins will meet Irish Grand National jockeys in parade ring: 4.40pm