If watching the racing at Royal Ascot next week gets a bit much, and, like me, you have the fashion sense/interest of a 1960s hippy who hasn’t grown up yet, you can always go celebrity spotting.
There will be no shortage of two legged sporting and entertainment fillies and colts (I’ll not make any claims on geldings) at the races. Several of them are lined up to present trophies over the five days of the meeting, including two former Olympic champions. The sporting achievements go back more than 50 years – even I don’t remember Sir Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute barrier for running a mile.
Whoever was matching celebrity to race must have had some fun. There’s a clear match up between Bannister, and the Britannia Stakes, a race run over his distance of a mile. But couldn’t cricket commentator Henry “Blowers” Blofeld been held back until Thursday for his home county’s Norfolk Stakes? And who had the impudence to pair up former Wimbledon Ladies Champion Virgina Wade with the Tercentenary Stakes next Wednesday?
Ascot’s chief executive, Charles Barnett said, “We are delighted to have such a wonderful wealth of iconic British figures with us to present trophies to our winning owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff. It is particularly exciting in this very special Olympic year to welcome a number of sporting favourites to the meeting.”
Presenting trophies are:
2.30pm: The Queen Anne Stakes Mr Lee Westwood OBE (Professional golfer and former world number one)
4.25pm: The Coventry Stakes Miss Sally Gunnell OBE (Olympic 400m hurdles gold medal winner)
5.00pm: The Ascot Stakes Mr Henry Blofeld (Cricket commentator and author)
2.30pm The Jersey Stakes Mr Jenson Button MBE (Winner of 13 Formula 1 Grand Prix)
3.05pm The Windsor Forest Stakes Mr Colin Jackson CBE (Twice world champion 110m hurdler)
5.00pm The Queen Mary Stakes Mr Edward Parker (Co-Founder of UK charity, Walking with the Wounded)
5.35pm The Sandringham Stakes Mr Robson Green (Actor, singer and presenter)
2.30pm The Norfolk Stakes Miss Katherine Jenkins (Brit award-winning mezzo-soprano)
3.05pm The Ribblesdale Stakes Sir Steve Redgrave CBE (Five times Olympic gold medal-winning rower)
4.25pm The Britannia Stakes Sir Roger Bannister CBE (Ran the first sub four minute mile)
5.00pm The Tercentenary Stakes Miss Virginia Wade OBE (Wimbledon Ladies Singles Champion in Silver Jubilee Year)
3.05pm The King Edward VII Stakes Mr David Walliams & Lara Stone (Comedian and charity swimmer accompanied by his wife, model, Lara Stone.)
2.30pm The Chesham Stakes Mr Michael McIntyre (Stand-up comedian and judge on Britain's Got Talent)