So at 9.30am my son and I set off for The Derby at Epsom Racecourse. We’ve already been before so this wasn’t something new for us and we already own several Racehorses. I can already tell you our thoughts before the end of the day. Never again! Our parking space which we are given whether we like it or not was a long walk from the actual racecourse under a tree which didn’t look as though it was going to stand up to the already dreadful weather which was cold and wet.
Now the Epsom Derby have a dress code which you WILL follow like it or not even if there is ten foot of snow. Top hats for men and formal suits with tail coats and ladies WILL wear hats and I’m not talking wool hats what will keep you warm in cold weather. I’m talking about hats that will probably cost you a fortune and you’ll never wear again unless you go to the Derby or places like that on a regular basis. So we make the long walk to the Racecourse and it’s already perishing cold, and we wait, and wait and wait some more. Then we get to security and they search our bags which is fair enough I can understand that, but what annoyed so many men, including my son was that they made every man take off the Top Hat and searched inside it. As one man pointed out – you might well think one of us has a bomb under our Top Hat but we could just as easily have something strapped to our chests!
Anyone I’m not going to comment on that one but a lot of men were offended at having to have the insides of their Top Hats seached.
So we all rush like maniacs inside hoping not to get trampled to death to find a wooden bench to sit on, which Jack and I managed to find and we were settled for the day. The worst or one of the worst was the weather. No one could help that I know but all day we were battered by this cold, biting, awful wind that came straight in out faces All the ladies, not including me because I’d taken a ‘real’ waterproof racing hat including my ‘posh’ hat with me and decided to change at the last minute had their beautiful hats that they’d paid a lot of money for totally ruined, blown across the muddy grass because the rules say you weren’t allowed to wear a coat at the Derby. Men had their top hats and Morning Suits ruined because of the rules. They were freezing by the end of the day because they weren’t allowed to have a heavy coat to keep them warm. Well, you know me. I’d taken a light raincoat it. Well like it or lump it Derby Rules. I had a light suit on as requested but if you thought I was going to sit there and freeze at my age and end up ill think again.
Anyway, there were good points. The Actor Hugh Bonniville stood behind Jack in the queue for a cup of tea and there won’t be another Downtown Abbey film. Jack said what a lovely man he was and so friendly and they chatted for quite a while.
He got in a bit of a curfuffle I gather when he went to see some of the Jockeys which you were allowed to do. Bit of a publicity I think. You know let the poor public speak to a jockey. Frankie Detorri did himself really proud with the public and was fantastic to everyone, but there was one Jockey called Johnny Merter. Bit of banter between him and the other Jockeys about No one wants to talk to you Johnny. I do Johnny – My son suddenly said. You train one of my Mum’s Horses.
Come of through – says Johnny Merter – we’ll have a picture for your Mum.
Security move in on Jack and say No Photos with the Jockeys.
Move back – Johnny shouts. I decide who I talk to so does Frankie Detorri. These are the people who watch me.
So it seems these Jockeys are nicer than we sometimes give them credit for.
Then we come on to the Royals. The Queen didn’t come and sent Princess Anne instead. We were sitting just under the Royal Box so she arrived by car. When she came out onto the balcony, she was with her husband Tim, her daughter Zara, Mike Tindall and their children. Now I always thought Anne was stand offish and haughty.
Your Royal Highness I owe you an apology. Out she came. She waved her Royal Wave. Once that was over – then – she must have forgotten who she was. She started to shout to the public, she waved, she laughed, she, waved to the Jockeys in the Guard of Honour, all the family waved and shouted. She was in and out on that balcony.
Sadly when the actual Derby started of course the Cruelty to Animal Brigade decided to appear and disrupt things. Out the family came with Princess Anne in the lead and did she ever make herself known.
We could actually hear her. Waving her arms and yelling
“Get Out of Here. Go on – Push off the lot of You” and a few other well chosen words.
Now you would never have got that from the Queen.
Suddenly Princess Anne went up a million time in my estimation.
Another lovely thing was that we met so many lovely American and Canadian people who had come over for the Jubilee Celebration and had come to the Derby for the day. They hadn’t got a clue about how to bet so hopefully we were able to help them out. One thing that was lovely was that a young American lady in front of us put a huge amount of money on a horse and didn’t know it was huge, but she said I just stuck it on for fun to win. Did I do something wrong?
Jack and I just looked at each other, so the race went on and her horse won. Did I win something? She said? Win something? Somewhere in the region of £800 to £900 probably. So pleased for her.
But all things considered we wouldn’t go again. The Derby we don’t think isn’t about Horse Racing now. It’s a day out for Fashionistas. People who want to record themselves and put their day up on Instagram or sadly just to go there, drink endless Champagne and get drunk.