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27th May 2024 4:29 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Kneesup goes a la mode.

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This week I have started the heavy-lifting for the Cheltenham Festival. Just as I got my metaphorical crayons out I became involved in a question of fashion.

Those of you with a strong disposition will know that I have trenchant views on the subject. These views primarily encompass the time-warp engulfing my wardrobe and the classic lines of chic, elegance, and sexiness found in everything worn by Claudia Schiffer, Alexandra Tolstoy, Audrey Hepburn… there, I see you have caught my drift, instantly.

I was surprised, therefore, to receive a call from someone called Elvira, who asked me to help her boss, who is one of the few excellent fashion designers I know, Sarah Badeni. She’s worn – I think that’s the correct term – by the top end of the racing set and has been seen on Francesca Cumani and Frankie Herbert (there were other names mentioned, but I was told that discretion is part of the culture). With my en passant experience of fashion, I can appreciate this.

I once went to a wedding in Ireland and made the mistake of wearing a brand new dinner waistcoat acquired from a chum’s St James tailor. Unbeknownst to me, Chummy purchased the identical material, which was made into an exact matching waistcoat two days later. When he set eyes on me across the wedding breakfast, wearing what he perceived as His waistcoat, his reaction was much the same as I imagine Ivana Trump’s was, on seeing her replacement. Luckily, because he is a good egg, we got over ourselves, but ever since, I get the impression he is tucking labels out of sight, lest I ape him in some way. I suspect this is also the way of Ladies’ bespoke couture. Discretion is all.

Anyhow, Team Badeni has been up to chat with the resurgent Harry Whittington to get the low-down on his racing plans. Elvira, who has a persuasive tongue, will doubtless be seen on course, but apart from luring me, Elvira has also enticed Toff’s bookmaker, Fitzdares into a relationship with Sarah’s clients. The bookie is safe, as I will be giving Sarah’s clients and friends an each-way bet every day of the Cheltenham Festival. The rest of you, gentle readers, will be getting all the tips for every race. Do make sure I have your email address so that I can tell you when the tips are published.

I just hope that Elvira understands enough about racing, not to appear too much of a dummy.




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