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The flat racing season is Orff

queenderby.jpgAS the most famous race not only of the Season but in the world, the Derby has spawned another 140 Derby’s around the globe, of which the most celebrated is the Kentucky Derby in the U.S.   And given the Queen’s delight in racing, it was only to be expected that during a planned visit to Louisville in Kentucky this May, ostensibly to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown, she just might like to watch the Kentucky race for the first time.

And the welcome would be huge. This race attracts a crowd of over 150,000 from all over America.  Just as the Epsom Derby is an outing for all the family and all types of people, so the Run for the Roses (as it is also known  - referring to the coat covered in roses placed upon the winning horse) is a great joyous gathering.

Unsurprisingly, it is less formal that its British antecedent.  There are no tailcoats and toppers here, but certainly in the Governor’s box, everyone dresses smartly – and no expense is spared on the ladies’ hats!

But to return to the London Season, the Epsom Derby studyform.jpg was first staged in 1779, and gets its name from the Earl of Derby, who tossed a coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, to see who  should decide on the title of the race. He won the toss, hence the name, but it was Bunbury’s horse, Diomed, that won the race.

The other high spots of the racing Season are Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood,  Ascot  maintains the tails and toppers formality of the Derby Royal Enclosure in its Royal Enclosure, but Goodwood has a more relaxed dress code.  This dates from  that Royal trend setter, Edward Vll, who wore a linen suit and Panama hat here early in the 20th century, and who described the meeting as “a garden party with racing tacked on”.  His dress lead remains the smart option.

Another Royal, Queen Anne started off the Ascot races, in 1711, and the present Queen has kept up the Royal connection, attending the event each year, and presenting the major trophy, the Gold Cup, on Ladies Day.  She also reopened the course after its major redevelopment last year.

Top, the Queen arriving at the Derby; above, punter studying form.

Anyone for cricket, tennis, rowing or polo ?

CRICKET is the sport synonymous with an English image of village greens, wood upon willow and the soft clink of glasses.  Sadly, many of those greens have disappeared beneath bricks and mortar, but the game is now played and enjoyed around the world, with the notable exception of the U.S., where there is scant interest in what seems to them a slow and complicated game.

But it would be a hard heart that could not be captivated by a day at Lords, where the game has been played since 1814. The first match of the Test Match series in May will see an army of dedicated cricket fans descend upon the ground in St John’s Wood, hoping for a repeat of  the stunning success witnessed in 2005. cricketpic.jpgThis was followed by ignominious defeat in 2006, so the pressure is on this summer for the England team to redeem themselves, after a lack lustre performance at the World Cup Cricket series in the West Indies.

Yorkshire folk might maintain that Headingley is a pretty important cricket base too, where the 2nd Test Match will be played. This picture captures fast action at Headingley.

Younger than Lords by 70 years, Wimbledon is the most famous tennis court in the world and this year, for the first time, there will be equal pay for the sexes.  Major redevelopment work is on-going, which will see the famous Centre Court at last having protection from the weather, with a retractable roof – not ready yet and in view of forecasts for andymurray.jpganother dry, warm summer, perhaps not so needed.  But it will be beneficial on very hot days too, we are told. 

All eyes and British hopes for a British men’s champion will be pinned on Andy Murray – the last one was Fred Perry in 1936 - with prayers that his back has fully recovered since his problems at the Monte Carlo tournament.

Overlapping with Wimbledon at the henleyboats.jpgbeginning of July is another institution, Henley Regatta.  Ostensibly about rowing and boats, it is a wonderful excuse for everyone who likes messing about in boats to gather along the banks of the Thames, joined by many who wouldn’t know an oar from their elbow but who know a party when they see one.

Henley is a four-day party, with rowing races in the middle. First staged in 1839, it benefits from a wonderful setting in this small, riverside town near to London and is the home water of such sporting rowing greats as Sir  Steven Redgrave, (five times Olympic gold medallist) and Sir Matthew Pinsent, (four Olympic golds). 

For sheer A-list attendance, the Cartier Polo event at Windsor in July takes some beating, attracting Royals and celebrities and even the odd Royal protagonist.  The sport is generally looked upon as one for toffs – it is an expensive one to engage in and the attendant trappings of club membership and exclusive facilities require not inconsiderably investment.  This all adds to its aura and while it is certainly a minority sport it is one of the most glamourous fixtures on the Season’s calender.


  Spring 07 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::


This edition focuses attention upon the London Season, with all its fixtures and the social whirl that goes with them. And the forthcoming ban on smoking in public places also prompts a look at the prospects for smokers here.

contact Home - New Non-Smoking Jacket
contact Style 1 - Dressing for the Season
contact Style 2 – Morning Dress
contact Style 3 – Dinner Jackets
contact Style 4 – Blazers
contact Grooming – Oil the Wrinkles
contact Cars Brooklands revived
contact Drink – The Season goes Pop
contact Bars - Smoke Signals
contact Sports - Racing First
  Yachts - Cowes Week
contact Travel – Gastronomic Trend
contact Culture – Culture in the Country
contact Contact
contact Companions of Savile Row – listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archives

:: For Good Sports ::


It isn't easy to take up polo as a sport. For one thing, you need a horse not just a ball.


But that sporting businessman, Richard Branson, has obviously appreciated the glamorous appeal of the game and his holiday firm Virgin is now offering to teach you polo in a day - yes, a day.

Even if you have never sat on a pony in your life, Virgin's qualified instructors claim you will be swinging a stick with the best of them by the end of your day.

Starting with coffee and a little about the history of this 2,500 year old game, you will soon be on to tactics, rules and basic control of your pony, before a welcome pause for lunch. More practice in the afternoon, learning about chukkas, handsticks, riding off and hooking before easing yourself gently off the pony and receiving a pat on the back - gently - from your instructor.

All equipment is provided and it seems a snip at just £199.

This is but one of a wide variety of 'Experience Days' offered by Virgin. Another that promises hectic action and the possibility, we think, of a small bruise or two is the Jousting Experience.

Suitably accoutred, you will mount a sturdy steed after an introduction to the history of jousting and a brief lesson is the use of flags, lances and shields.

Your prowess on the field of battle may be cheered by the crowds who come to the arena for this entertaining spectacle.

It's amazing what some people will do for an experience.

For further information on these and other such days, contact www.virginexperiencedays.co.uk