‘No, that’s not my wife; that is. Although that lady over there is a former wife, and so is that one there…’ It was a fairly typical pre-Royal Ascot lunch. As was the ‘Oh my god, we’re going to miss the first, get a move on will you!’ dash to the racecourse that followed.
But speed has been the hallmark of this Ascot in more ways than usual — today the course record was broken by the Godolphin horse Invisible Man in a thrilling finish under Frankie Dettori.
It was Frankie’s first win of the meeting, but you might have thought it his first win ever from his reaction on the finishing line; he’d finished plum last in an earlier race.
Perhaps the most popular winner of the day — to loud squeals from well-lubricated lady racegoers — was the only grey in the field in the second, the Windsor Forest Stakes when the appropriately festive sounding StrawberryDaiquiri saw off last year’s winner Spacious on the nod.
But I’m not a hardened enough racegoer to pretend that Royal Ascot is all about the racing — not for me at least. I enjoyed watching Badminton press officer (and former Badminton competitor) Julian Seaman at work drawing fashion sketches in the paddock. I admired the Duchess of Devonshire in a stunning purple outfit with pink and purple hat. I was intrigued to see some of the fruits of former Olympian Blyth Tait’s New Zealand breeding operation running in the fourth, the appropriately named Spectait. Which is just as well, because I didn’t back a winner all day.
Don’t miss H&H’s full report on all the action from Royal Ascot, on sale Thursday 24 June