On Saturday 17th October, I was kindly invited by Ladbrokes to spend an afternoon at Ascot for QIPCO British Champions Day. QIPCO British Champions Day, which has been running for 5 years, is the exciting finale of the flat racing season.
With the promise of a day out at the races including a champagne reception, four course lunch, afternoon tea and an after party with a Paloma Faith, it was an invitation I simply couldn’t decline! I was not only excited about attending the races for the first time but dressing up for the event and admiring the fashion on the day.
As soon as I received the invitation, I was on the look out for the perfect outfit to wear. With the event taking place at the end of the racing season in October, rather than the height of summer, I wanted a dress that would not only meet the Ascot dress code, but suit the tones and temperature of autumn.
I fell in love with this dress from Miss Selfridge due to its flattering, 1950’s silhouette with an accentuated waist and full skirt. The high neck, covered shoulders and midi length meant that it was ideal for the modest dress code of premier admission at Ascot. Meanwhile the floral rose pattern of burgundy, pinks and reds compliment the hues of autumn perfectly. The thick jacquard material of the dress, together with a tweed blazer borrowed from my sister, also helped keep out the chill in the October air. I embellished my outfit with a black net and feather fascinator from Accessorize and a burgundy satchel bag, just the right size to keep my camera in, also from Accessorize.
On arrival, I met the other lovely bloggers I was sharing a table with at the Pavilion Restaurant over a glass or two of bubbly. With 6 races interspersed throughout the afternoon, we spent our time going back and forth from the racecourse to the restaurant in between courses. There was such a fantastic atmosphere down by the racecourse and up in the grandstands, where there was a panoramic view of the races and surrounding countryside.
I was surprised how exciting the races are to watch, especially when you’ve placed a bet! My horse, Simple Verse, won in the first race I placed a bet on but I then unfortunately lost the next two races. I tried reading up on the horses and making an informed decision based on their odds, statistics etc. but I ended up just going with ones based on a ‘feeling’/ funny name! It was great fun though and I still managed to come away with a £5 more than I started with.
At the end of each race, the winning jockey and horses were presented with their prizes in the parade ring and we were lucky enough to see the Queen (dressed head-to-toe in salmon) award one of them. After the exhausting excitement of the races and an afternoon of wining and dining, we headed back to the restaurant for even more sustenance in the form of a very pretty looking and yummy afternoon tea.
I had a wonderful experience of Ascot with amazing entertainment, delicious food and lovely company. Thank you Ladbrokes for a fantastic first visit to the races, it was such a great day and I’ll definitely be going again in the future.