Ladies make the running at Newmarket

BLAZING sun shone down on Newmarket on Wednesday as around 14,000 people gathered for the first day of the Ritz Club July Festival - with fashion getting as much attention as the racing.

BLAZING sun shone down on Newmarket yesterday as around 14,000 people gathered for the first day of the Ritz Club July Festival.

Racing fans basked in the warm rays while cheering on Frankie Dettori who rode Sander Camillo to victory in race three. Fashionistas were out in force, flitting between the trackside and the sold out members' enclosure to sip champagne.

Ladies Day is always held on the first day of the festival, with this year's sponsors, Jaeger, giving away £1,000 in clothing vouchers. Winner of the best dress lady Kelly McLauchlan, from Burwell, Cambridgeshire, who was picked from 10 finalists. “I'm really excited and quite shocked they picked me,” she said.

Kelly was wearing a turquoise dress from Oasis, shoes from Dune and a matching hat from Newmarket Hat Hire.

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In second place was Sue Demeyer, from Weston Colville, and in third place was Roxanne Gaskin from Red Lodge, near Newmarket.

Judging the competition was Catherine Dettori, Katie Lester from You Magazine and Alison East, from Jaeger.

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Lee-Anne Francis, from Stanton, was with friends Karen Bergdahl, from Bury, Brenda McLoughlin, from Bacton, and Janice Levette, from Lavenham. Le-Anne, wearing a red dress and tan coloured straw hat said: “It's been fabulous. We started off with a picnic and glass of champagne and it's just getting better and better.”

Lee-Anne was soon smiling as her horse, Al-Dahma, came joint first in the first race.

Having a picnic outside the main entrance was Miranda McCoy, from Newmarket, Thelma Linnegar, from Leigh-on-Sea, and Judy Logan, from Cambridge, “the traffic getting here was phenomenal but that's what always happens each year,” said Miranda, wearing a fetching black hat.

Down by the finishing post was Sue Cooper and Denise Marsham, from Little Downham, near Ely. “This is our first time here, we're already thinking about coming next year, it's really lovely,” said Sue, wearing a cerise outfit from Mad Hatters in Ely.

East Anglian Daily Times columnist Lynne Mortimer was having a lovely girlie day out with 22 others from the Fynn Valley area including four relatives.

Donna Keates, from Newmarket, had forked out £400 on an elaborate black feathery headpiece. “I come here every year. It's great to see everyone dressed so well,” she said.

Enjoying ice-creams in the shade were “Boudicca's Babes” from the Red Hat Society in Colchester. “We just believe in having fun when you're older. You just have to wear a red hat and purple outfit wherever you go,” said Gill Steers from the group.

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