As we gallop towards the start of The Cheltenham Festival, we sat down with our resident racing expert, head of menswear, Conrad Manasseh whose family have been involved with national hunt racing for many, many years.
Whilst Conrad wasn’t quite ready to give us all of his best racing tips, we were able to pry some information from him, including his recommendations for attire, horse trainers and first time festival goers.
Question: Let’s start with your hot favourites from the Cordings collection on what to wear to Cheltenham.
Answer: First and foremost, tweed! Just this morning I was fitting a gentleman in our Elland tweed, a great weight for mid-March that will be light enough to carry you through the slightly warmer months too. Of course, no suit is complete without our Covert Coat and I’d recommend the fawn colour. A tattersall shirt will compliment the tweed perfectly as well as a racing tie, picking out the accents in the overcheck in your tweed to add a punch of colour. For shoes, it’s got to be brogues, I’d recommend Foster and Son on Jermyn Street. And lastly, a trilby to finish the outfit off, particularly useful for throwing in the air after you’ve backed winner!
Question: What would you recommend for first time festival goers?
Answer: Well, I’d suggest placing a few small bets on tote, which are not as much as the bookies, for a bit of fun. You may even surprise yourself and be able to take your winnings to the Guinness Tent, which is always worth a visit. I usually head down to the Guinness tent just to soak up the atmosphere. I’d also recommend taking your binoculars, the main reason, for those without 20/20 vision, being that you can watch your horse cross the finish line, but also great for celebrity spotting!
Question: Out of the 4 days of The Cheltenham Festival, which is your favourite?
Answer: Without a doubt, it has to be Gold Cup Day. Gold cup day is the last day of the festival and for many years has been the most prestigious race. But all of the days are worth attending if you’re not able to go to the full festival. The main races to watch on the remaining days are the Champion Hurdle on Day 1, Queen Mother Champion Chase on Day 2 and the Ryanair Chase on Day 3.
Question: Do you have to wear tweed to the races?
Answer: It is very traditional to wear tweed, as compared to the flat racing events, like Ascot, where you see the bright suits and fascinators. I would definitely suggest wearing a tweed jacket, it’s warm, you’ll look the part and you’ll appreciate all the inside pockets for your tickets, race cards and winnings! I do find that a lot of our Cordings customers will then choose from our selection of men’s cords and moleskin trousers instead of opting for the full 3 piece tweed suit. Yellow gold and red cords are probably the most popular with customers and also purple. Our doeskin waistcoats with the shiny gold buttons also make for a very smart Cheltenham outfit.
Question: As a regular race goer, what are you looking forward to this year at Cheltenham?
Answer: I’m really hoping to see some of the brilliant female jockeys race this year. Bryony Frost has had a phenomenal 2017-18 season. Many are tipping her to be the first female jockey to win the Grand National, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her race. Lizzie Kelly could also be one to watch. In regards to trainers, I always have my eye on Nicky Henderson’s horses. With 58 wins at Cheltenham, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he adds to that total. Willie Mullins is also a great trainer as well as Paul Nicholls.
If you’re still stuck for outfit ideas, head here for inspiration and take a look at our outfit pages here. If you have any questions for Conrad, or our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send us an email at [email protected] or call us on 0207 758 4122.