The Colour of spring: The Cheltenham Festival Ladies Day


So as the trend for spring as unveiled by Versace this year is their striking combination of purple and green, I opted for the combo we launched back in Autumn ;) for my outfit. I though it was apt for the tagline of Ladies Day 2017 of #COLOURMEMARCH .

Purple was also the colour chosen by one of our clients Beverley Farley and she commissioned a hat with a brief of purple and grey. She is a very stylish lady not afraid to go with something bold but chic. So I had the idea of upcycling a vintage stetson. Normally stetson range hats of this quality are very expensive in the range of £400 just for the hat but a vintage one in excellent condition and stunning shape in grey I had sourced gave me an opportunity. I used a velvet and cord band in purple and cut some random V's in the brim which I then painted purple. Then added purple and grey feathers and fur pom, and small random grey satin roses to further give a feminine feel. Beverley really suits the stetson shape and this was a lovely commission to do.

The evening before we met up with her and her husband Charley, and David's client Patrick Boyd who had commissioned a Boxing Hares painting, at the Cotswold Grange Hotel. Inventor Guy Unwin with whom we were staying also joined us for a great night. Like many they are also angry at the proposed development of Kempton Park so the red campaign sash came out. It was nice that after the Festival JP McManus who had several high profile winners at the Festival also came out against the Jockey Club's decision to sell the historic course also home to great biodiversity such as swans red kite smew, garganey, Temminck's stint, spotted crake and red-necked phalarope and amphibians, and bats. So this is a campaign that not only racing fans but all those opposed to such environmental destruction should stand against. We need such areas in London and London needs its own racecourse, So that was one of the topics of conversation as well as fashion and the racing next day. Beverley and Charley have several horses in training with Ron Harris the Monmouthshire trainer who is a friend of my partner David and brother Adrian Dents.

I wore a beautiful new black lamb leather coat and white fur collar we have in stock soon to be on the website with a black hat and green curled pheasant feather and black and white leather belt and we had travelled up on the train from Newport, got to Guy's house near Cheltenham station and took him out with us as his wife Caroline was busy preparing for a show in Chicago with their Planitproducts which include the famous Toastabags. You may recall seeing Guy and Caroline on Dragon's Den!

We met up with Beverley and Charley next morning at Cheltenham and Beverley wore a stunning Abraham Moon coat and Biba top with the hat . We were soon on TV !

The sunshine was glorious luckily on the day. There were some fabulous outfits to be seen and we picture our favourites here. If you spot yourself let us know and we will credit you on your style! I loved the combination of orange and black on this lady which was 50's Vogue reminiscent , and 50's inspired outfits were a popular theme as well as thigh boots, tweed, fur, and colours such as yellow pale blue fuscia and several other ladies in purple and purple grey or purple and green. Well done you looked fabuolous!

So on to the main thing which was the racing. I don't know a great deal about horses. But somehow, I can pick them in the paddock. My betting success is nowhere near as good if I study the form and I am a relative novice anyway. But I can pick a winner in the paddock. My partner David didn't even bother betting because he says I am much better at it! He had a tip from his friend for the first race which ran badly and he lost a tenner (that is a big bet for David who is known in the ring as the halfpenny horror as he used to win big from small stakes but isn't so interested in gambling nowadays) so decided to leave it to me.

So the first race I had followed Neon Wolf all season but he was a short price at 2/1. In such a competitive racing I don't like to bet on favourites as I only bet small stakes. So I looked for something else in the paddock and one horse stood out to me a mile. I put my £3 on him and did the forecast. Willoughby Court was the name of the horse and he won at £14.70 on the Tote and I had thew forecast which paid £ 57.20. So that gave me the betting money for the whole day I couldn't lose so it was a nice start.

Second race I was really taken with Might Bite though I had originally intended to bet Belshill. But I also liked O O Seven who was 14/1 and Whisper the other Nicky Henderson horses. So again I opted for a forecast and a fiver on Might Bite, So Might Bite won and Whisper was 2nd so it came up!

Isn't Might Bite gorgeous? Something about his sheen and the way he carries his head ....fabulous horse. Colours are easy to spot too!

Third race I was feeling more confident so backed Modus Tin Soldier and Automated . They all ran well without being placed so I lost quite a bit but still well up.

Fourth race was the main feature the Champion Chase. Douvan was hot favourite. I cannot for the life of me understand however why people will risk £4 thousand to win £1. Anyway while he looked outstanding in the paddock there were others who did too. Special Tiara, Fox Norton and Sir Valentino. Then I noticed that Special Tiara was number 8/ My unlucky number so I would not back him. I did Sir Valentino each way at 33/1 so won the money back I had invested in Fox Norton. But regretted being superstitious when Special Tiara won at 11/1 . Douvan had injured himself early in the race but hopefully he will be back next season as he is a great horse. Many congratulations to Noel Fehily who rode a great race on Special Tiara.

Next race I did four horses in the cross country and got excited when the French horse Amazing Comedy was running so well at 50/1. He eventually finished fifth though and my other choices Bless the Wings and Colour Squadron were 2nd and 7th respectively. So had a great run for my money but lost it!

Well that was it I was now only £20 up on the day after all the food and drinks expenditure from the winnings. I wanted to keep £10 rather than go to the cashpoint so was only going to invest £10 on the fifth race and if I did no good that would be the end of gambling for the day.

So I spent some time looking at them in the paddock. Again the stand out for me ...he kept looking at me each time he came around so must like purple I think.... was Flying Tiger ridden by Richard Johnson. He was 33/1 so I just put £2 on him and also chose: 2 Divin Bere 9/2F 3 Nietzsche 12/1 4 Project Bluebook 14/1 !! Amazing! To pick first four in a race like that! Then David told me about a bet you can do called a Trifecta. That paid £3962.40 for the first 3 and I would have had it! Nooooo...... Still I was happy to collect £48 twice from the Tote returns, and the forecast which paid £ 354.30 and I had it to 50p so half that. So I was £275 up again. Not bad as I only started with a tenner and meant to go to the cashpoint. And it was more than that as I had paid for the food and drinks all day out of the winnings earlier too as David had paid for the tickets. I did Next Destination and Western Ryder in the last who finished 4th and 5th so was £250 up on the day after all spending at the course.

So a fabulous time and I can't wait to go racing again.

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