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Liverpool's ladies news ready to strut their stuff; Samantha Parker and Gary Stewart report on preparations for the city's social event of the year.

Byline: Samantha Parker ;Gary Stewart

LADIES'' DAY at the Grand National is the highlight of the social calendar for thousands of women across Merseyside.

And today will be no exception as an array of colours, fascinators, hats, hairbands and clutch bags go on parade at Aintree.

Many racegoers have spent months planning the perfect outfit in the hope that they impress the five strong panel of judges to win the Style 2010 title and be named Aintree''s most stylish racegoer.

The Daily Post's Deputy Features editor Emma Johnson is judging the hopefuls alongside Sheree Murphy, Justine Mills, fashion designer Jeff Banks and Strictly Come Dancing runner-up actor Ricky Whittle.

Emma said: I am really excited about today and think it is going to be a fantastic competition.

All that women have been talking about in the city for the last few days is the races and what they are wearing, and I think choosing a winner is going to be tough.

I am expecting to see a lot of nude today as it is the colour of the season and I think many girls will go for headbands rather than hats and fascinators.

I will be looking for a winner who really stands out from the crowd but who also looks comfortable.

The winner of the style contest will bag a pounds 12,000 Kia Venga car, a shopping trip to London with spending money and a holiday to Barbados.

TV interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan will be scouring the racecourse searching for fashionistas to put forward into the competition.

The five most stylish punters will be invited to the Grand National tomorrow where Coleen Rooney will announce the winner and hand over the prizes.

Yesterday, the first official Liverpool Day, saw attendance up on last year's opening day, with 26,431 racegoers enjoying the Spring sunshine.

And it certainly lived up to its name with famous city faces making appearances in the stands.

Actor Ricky Tomlinson, who turned up dressed in purple and white silks to officially open the event, said: "The town is on the up. I don''t know if renaissance is the right word but since the Capital of Culture 2008 we just seem to be getting better and better.

"This wonderful occasion is getting better and better attended with people watching all over the world. I think Liverpool at the moment is tops."

Ricky was joined by famous faces from Liverpool''s sporting past including ex-Everton manger Joe Royle and Liverpool striker John Aldridge.

Aldridge said: "I think Liverpool Day is great."

Also in the crowd was Olympic bronze medal winning boxer David Price.He said: "Liverpool Day is a brilliant idea. The Grand National is an institution in Liverpool, but I think a lot of people forget that it is a threeday event.

"Having Liverpool Day is a fantastic way of celebrating all that is good in Liverpool. The amazing weather helps too."

Other famous Liverpool sportsmen who joined the parade included footballers Alan Kennedy and Colin Harvey, as well as St Helens RLFC players Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens.

Up for grabs in the Style contest yesterday was a pounds 7,500 Raindance ring from Boodles. Erin Vaughan, 21, from Kensington scooped the prize wearing a vintage cream dress, sequinned jacket and towering heels.

She said: ""I didn''t think there was anything to win today and I was quite rushed in putting my outfit together but I''m made up."

No horses were injured yesterday but jockey Adrian Coleman, who hopes to ride last year''s Grand National winner Mon Mome in the big race tomorrow was taken to hospital with suspected abdominal injuries. He was later discharged but faces a fitness test.

Despite the huge crowds, there was no trouble inside the course but there were four arrests outside for theft, criminal damage and going equipped to steal.

* RACING: Pages 28-31 online LOG on to www.liverpooldailypost.

co.uk for all the Aintree style and action this weekend 'Nude' is odds-on favourite colour for Coleen's Ladies' Day outfit COLEEN ROONEY is expected to up the glamour stakes today with thousands of pounds of bets already placed on what colour outfit she will wear for Ladies' Day.

Wayne Rooney's glamorous wife pulls on her designer glad rags each year for the biggest date in Liverpool''s racing and fashion calendar.

Bookies have taken notice and are taking bets on what shade of designer label Coleen, 24, who will also be attending tomorrow's Grand National, will go for.

The colour galloping ahead with punters is the popular spring shade "nude".

Totesport spokesman, George Primarolo, said: "What Coleen wears to the Ladies' Day is talked about almost as much as the horses.

"We have received thousands of pounds worth of bets on what she will wear this year and are expecting more to flood in before she makes her grand entrance.

"Bets will be taken until 10am when the gates at Aintree open - though we''ll be keeping a close eye on the market in case anyone has had a sneak preview!

"At the moment, nude is the most popular choice at 5/4. However, there''s also been plenty on purple which is next in the market at 5/2.

Last year, Coleen wore a flowing maxi dress to disguise her baby bump on Ladies' Day and a knee length pink dress on the Saturday.

This year, she has worked hard to shed her baby weight following the birth of Kai Wayne in November.

Tickets for the Grand National are still available.

Hats off to Liverpool THE first Liverpool Day at the Grand National was celebrated with a specially commissioned hat.

The hat was unveiled at the end of each of Matalan''s fashion shows throughout the day yesterday.T he hat, by milliner Jean Ellis, from Gateacre, was specially commissioned for the John Smith''s Grand National.

The Liverpool skyline is depicted on the hat with a huge brim representing the River Mersey.

Three metres of specialist millinery wire and buckram is used for the foundation of the hat and sinamay has been used to create the iconic Liverpool buildings which sit atop the River Mersey across the wide brimmed.

Mrs Ellis said: "Over the years, I have created many hats specifically for the races but this is extra special because I am originally from Liverpool. "We wanted a stylish celebration of the city and the Grand National, and I hope I''ve created something fitting."

CAPTION(S):

Coleen Rooney at last year's event Coleen in a white suit at 2006's national Tracey Gunn models the Liverpool Day hat These three girls turned up in style Code: jm080410aintree-2 Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY/ at080410anational-13 Pictures: JAMES MALONEY/ jm080410aintree-26
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2010
Words:1115
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