EVEN before the roar went up for the first race, Cheltenham festival week got off to a flyer for racing enthusiast, JP McManus, who received the news that he can begin putting the finishing touches to his €100m mansion.
Mr McManus and his wife, Noreen, plan to build a grand entrance to his exclusive home at Martinstown, Co Limerick.
And yesterday the plan was given the green light by An Bord Pleanala following a series of delays.
Previous decisions on the planning permission were held up following an objection by a neighbouring landowner.
Mrs McManus lodged plans with Limerick County Council for eyecatching entrance gates complete with a natural stone archway. There will be adjoining pillars, with twin intricate turrets overlooking the entry point, and a specially constructed security building.
Ms McManus also applied to the local authority for plans to construct new gates and a sweeping access road to the main dwelling; relocation of entrance and access to the existing farm; a waste water treatment system and ancillary site works.
Conditional planning was granted by Limerick County Council last July.
However, an appeal against the local authority's decision was subsequently lodged to An Bord Pleanala last August by Barry Almer from Ballingarry, Co Limerick, and the decision has only now been made in favour of Mrs McManus.
Mr and Mrs McManus have splashed out over €100m on building the luxurious 40,000 square foot home in Martinstown.
Mrs McManus also lodged ambitious plans for a 31,000 square metre lake in the shape of county Limerick on the grounds of the estate, but Limerick County Council have expressed their reservations.
Mr McManus is be in Prestbury Park today for the racing extravaganza which begins at 2pm, where he will be keeping a close eye on his two runners, Captain Cee Bee and Binocular in the opening race.