Derby Festival 2019 – Oaks & Ladies Day Review

Frankie flies again and everything is Chi Chi on The Epsom Derby Festival – Ladies Day.

Frankie Dettori revisited the winner’s circle on Anapurna, a full 25 years on from when he hit the spot with his first Oaks winner, Balanchine. Triumphant again in partnership with trainer John Gosden, Frankie rode Anapurna to victory to become the first Classic winner sired by the invincible Frankel.

Although a first for Frankel and a fourth for Frankie, Oaks day was all about the ladies who took centre stage on a rather blustery Investec Derby Festival – Ladies Day.

The course at Epsom looked magnificent as always with near perfect conditions provided by the redoubtable Andrew Cooper.  Epsom Downs Racecourse is always evolving the raceday experience and this year welcomed the addition of The Moet & Chandon Terrace, next to the Queen’s Stand and the Champagne Lawn, where racegoers could make their way to the action, have a glass of bubbles, listen to some jazz and get their photo taken – courtesy of Chi Chi London, who were co-hosts of this year’s Style Awards for the Best Dressed Lady.

For those taking in the action on the Hill, more seating areas had been introduced, giving picnic goers more options to watch the racing without having to stand to see the horses.

Another debutant this year was the cigar stand. For those who are familiar, there was a wide selection to choose from and for those who were not, Simon and Tim from Robusto House ( were on hand to give some expert advice on how to choose and enjoy a cigar and avoid an out of body experience from inhaling too deeply.

The fashions for Ladies Day at Epsom are also evolving and a whole spectrum of colours and patterns were on display with thoughtfully put together outfits. There was no single colour dominance but plenty of florals and an increasing number of jumpsuits making an appearance.

Every style was on display from the beautifully tailored Favourbrook outfits ( worn here by Victoria Casula and Fiona Davidson…

Chi Chi dresses ( which fit the raceday mood perfectly and seen here to great effect on Coronation Street’s Lucy Fallon and Capital Radio Breakfast Show’s Vick Hope…

to the BBC Radio London presenter Jo Good’s vintage outfit sourced from Retromania of Victoria.  

We also caught up with Jo Good talking to two of London’s best dressed gentlemen, Soho George (George Skeggs) and his tailor Tony Philips ‘the Soho Tailor’.

Onto the racing itself and the card for the Friday was outstanding on its own merits in addition to supporting the main event, the Investec Derby.  There were two Group Ones to delight racegoers and in the first of them, Roger Varians’s grey, Defoe finally broke through a run of near misses to land his first Group One in the Investec Coronation Cup, getting up on the line to narrowly claim victory over the Aiden O’Brien trained Kew Gardens ridden by Ryan Moore who had taken up the running at the two furlong marker. La Ti Dar, the John Gosden trained favourite, disappointed but on only her second outing of the season, that run can hopefully be put to bed.

In the main event, the Investec Oaks, a competitive looking field was headed by the John Gosden trained Mehdaayih, a lightly raced filly who had won at May’s Chester meeting on her previous outing. However, it was the second of the two Gosden runners, the beautifully bred Anapurna (Frankel – Dash To The Top), who prevailed following a protracted struggle with Aiden O’Brien’s Pink Dogwood (Camelot – Question Times) who gave her best deep inside the final furlong. A great finish fought out by two classy fillies who are sure to build on their achievements.

Two near misses for Aiden but he made up for it the following day in a tremendous fashion.

Friday was also host to the Style Awards for the Best Dressed racegoer.  Open to both males and females, the awards were held by the Jockey Club in partnership with Chi Chi Clothing. Judged by the beautiful Investec Derby Festival Ambassador Vogue Williams and Hello! Magazine’s Alexandra Wilby, the finalists competed for an all-inclusive luxury holiday to Mauritius, a year’s supply of Chi Chi London outfits and a bespoke consultation and headpiece from the very talented Epsom milliner and racecourse ambassador Jessica Rea Millinery (

The winner was Charlotte Hamilton who had overcome viral meningitis to win the top prize. Charlotte was wearing an all-black outfit including a Chi Chi London dress and a beautiful custom designed hat by milliner Ana Bella Millinery, who also made the final in her own right.

On the way out we said a quick hello to ITV’s Francesca Cumani. Francesca looked amazing in her retro pink two piece. Her beautiful, bespoke sinamay straw headpiece was by LTMilinery and she was styled as ever by the extremely talented Sarah-Kate Byrne.

Further familiar faces on the day included:

(Above L–R) Chris Hughes; Luke Harvey.

(Above L–R): Lee Mack; Vogue Williams.

The team from ITV Racing.

Mark Heyes and Charlotte Hawkins.

And Eclipse Magazine’s Social Editor Charlotte Grieg.

A good day all round for following the fashion and the horses and a great prequel to the following day’s action.

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