Raise your equestrian stakes
Last week’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate kicked off the fillies-and-fashion season in style. With many more equine days ahead, here’s Clayton Morar’s mink-and-manure survival guide
The things I love about the horse racing season are the diversity of personalities, the high energy, the variety of fashion and the chance to mingle with the who’s who – from mining magnates and billionaires, to fashionistas and celebrities, to the average guy on the street.
The recent L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate proved just how different the events themselves are. Now in its 152nd year, the Queen’s Plate is quite exclusive when it comes to guests and sticks to a blue-and-white theme.
The J&B Met and Vodacom Durban July are celebrity driven, extremely glamorous, have crazy clothing themes and are a tad rowdy.
The Veuve Clicquot Masters polo tournament is all about summer dresses and watching Argentinian men in white jodhpurs while lounging on blankets on the grass and sipping champagne.
Not everyone gets it right, though, which is why we’ve put together these pointers for you:
» Always dress according to the theme. Events like these come once a year and are meant to be treated as an occasion. While women are usually game, it’s the men who need to be more fashionably forward;
» We admire brave souls who don elaborate fashion items in a bid to be spotted by photographers. However, one often spends up to 12 hours walking up and down the racecourse through grass and gravel. Choose your outfit wisely;
» Suffer for beauty at first, but be smart and comfortable later. We suggest that women pack a pair of flats in their bags. Trust us, you’re going to need it seven hours later;
» On the subject of shoes, may we suggest slim wedge heels or heel protectors? Sinking into the grass with every step ruins the look;
» Do like Victoria Beckham and keep your brand name shades firmly on your face. Sunglasses – and sunscreen – are life-savers;
» This is not a nightclub and you are not Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. Please keep your lady bits to yourself and don’t flash us;
» Aim to get invited to more than just one marquee. The more marquees you have access to, the more people you will see and the more fun you will have;
» Don’t arrive too early or be the last person to leave. You don’t want to be known as a fame-hungry wannabe. Staying too late also leads to too much drinking and unruly behaviour (side-eyes Gina Athans, Lorna Maseko and Katlego Maboe);
» Guests are encouraged to at least savour the racing atmosphere by placing a few bets – be it for R100, R500 or R50 000. Try your luck;
» Do your research on the horses competing. You don’t want to end up in conversation with die-hard racing enthusiasts, only for them to find out just how clueless you are; and
» Don’t spend all your time inside the VIP, invite-only marquees. Join the masses on the grounds every so often just to appreciate the energy of the event.