The Glorious Cheltenham Festival; the Olympics of jumps racing has arrived! I can’t get there this year due to the demands of Zulucow but I’m loving the ITV coverage of all the Festival races. (I’m finding all this Grade 1 racing rather distracting!)
It’s not just the racing which is captivating; the race goers’ outfits are fabulous too; especially if you’ve got a penchant for animal print, feathers and tweed with a twist, as I do!
If I was going this week, I’d probably wear my cheeky tweed mini skirt (with claret cord panels as in the pic to the left) from Timothy Foxx ‘s fun collection; accessorised with a vintage, claret leather jacket; eye-catching Zulucow brown and white, splodgy slouch bag (It’s a great bag as it’s not only stylish and on trend; but also easily holds the essentials: Racing Post, bins, Helen Moore ‘Vixen’ scarf , Cheltenham race card etc.) And I’d top it all off (in case of inclement weather, with a jaunty feathered ‘wine’ fedora (This from ‘Penny’s Hats’ – a Cheltenham ‘shopping village’ splurge from a few years ago.)
The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of jump racing’s calendar; with the best, talented chasers and hurdlers all lovingly cared for by doting lads and lasses and trained by talented trainers, competing at the highest level.
I’ve been lucky enough to film at the Irish yards of Willie Mullins, Jessica Harrington, Aiden O’Brien, as well as Paul Nicholls, Alan King et al in the UK; as my previous incarnation was as a TV producer and camerawoman for BBC Sport and latterly for the Racingpost website. I do miss those bracing, early mornings on the gallops watching Denman, Kauto Star; Bob’s Worth, Captain Chris etc working.
I have a close allegiance to Philip Hobbs’ Exmoor yard, having spent 3 years filming and producing video diaries with Assistant Trainer; Johnson White. We made behind-the-scenes pieces on all their Cheltenham top horses including Gold Cup contenders: Captain Chris and great chasers: Balthazar King,; the mercurial Menorah, Wishfull Thinking, Cheltenian, Dream Alliance…the list is endless… It was always fun when the talented, thoughtful, down to earth jockey Richard Johnson came down to work the horses (he’s in the yellow and blue silks on ‘Allee Bleu.’)
I know I’m biased, but I’m hoping for a big win for Philip Hobbs’ with: Defi du Seoul in the Triumph on Friday. (Pictured here with regular work rider: Issy Stadden.)
As for Friday’s Gold Cup; I’m backing another West Country chaser: the fabulous: Cue Card trained by dairy farmer: Colin Tizzard. (Cue Card has already won twice at the Festival and was going well until he fell at the third last fence in the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup, so I’m being loyal and hoping he’ll be victorious this year)
He’s pictured here (on the right) with stablemate and fellow-Gold Cup contender: Native River and trainer, Colin Tizzard.