Cheltenham Festival: the Secret Racegoer plans a visit to the shopping village
The Secret Racegoer plans his trip to the Cheltenham shopping village with the dubious help of the official Festival magazine
The run-up to Cheltenham is a bit like the lead-up to Christmas. Whereas Advent was once considered to constitute the count-down, it’s now barely the home stretch. It’s much the same for the Festival.
For both there are landmarks along the way, such as, for the festivites, putting up the decorations, the double-issue of the Radio Times, regretting what happened at the office party and forgetting to take the turkey out of the freezer.
The Festival, too, has notable events, such as bookmakers going NRNB, well-backed horses experiencing set-backs and the annual Racing Post price rise (like Christmas, Cheltenham can be an expensive time of the year).
For the Secret Racegoer, the arrival of the glossy official preview magazine means the four-day extravaganza isn’t far away. It also means that a visit to the shopping village can be planned.
A nice-looking gal
Put together by the Racing Post, the magazine is crammed with those types of advertisements which contain only the name of the advertiser and a picture of a nice-looking gal, who quite possibly went to Cheltenham Ladies College.
There will be some people in the know, who will immediately appreciate what purveyors of fine goods, such as Laurie & Jules, actually purvey (“hello, my name is Jules and this is my friend Laurie” – one for the teenagers there).
For the rest of us, like the Secret Racegoer, we have to pick up the clues as best we can. It helps that most of the advertisers will be displaying their wares at The Village, described as “The Cotswold’s premier destination for all things fashion”.
When the Secret Racegoer was last at Cheltenham he encountered, before the first race, two young ladies laden with those Bond Street type carrier bags, with an air of “our work here is done”.
One such advertiser and stallholder, if the term isn’t too tradesman oriented, is Timothy Foxx whose pictured young lady doesn’t seem too perturbed that a pheasant has splatted into the side of her head.
The chances are that Jonny Beardsall is a milliner. It would be wrong to suggest that he should be anything else.
Competing for silliest name is Welligogs, who can be joined on stand 57, where it’s unlikely the Secret Racegoer will see either wellies or gogs (Google: gogs, a painless self-hosted Git service – which is good to know).
The ad for Jessica Mary Design is rather more forthcoming, as the pictures not only leaves one in no doubt as to what’s being offered, but the copy describes “beautiful handmade hats for races & weddings”, which seems a little niche.
Many a bar mitzva, masonic do or a night at the bingo could benefit from a Jessica Mary creation.
Estribos Argentina are also more forthcoming. They offer “The Real Argentine Leather Folks”.
It’s clear that Stevenson Brothers can supply you with a rocking horse, they say so in the small print, but it’s not so clear if a riding instructor (speciality: side-saddle) is also provided.
Back to a silly name, and we have Stoned & Wasted with whom you can find your perfect shearling (Google again, a sheep which has been shorn once). It’s very tempting to link the company’s name with the state of mind of its customers before and after the transaction. But let’s not.
Almost the very last advertisement in the magazine leaves you in no doubt what’s being promoted – the world’s fasted farm vehicle.
Now that, the Secret Racegoer can relate to, hurtling round the streets of south London, shouting, with his best Gloucestershire accent, “GET AWF MY LAND”.
More for Cheltenham
Key runners in the Festival championship races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vE
Key runners in the Grade 1 novice races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vh
Key runners in the Festival handicpas http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vs
Festival jockey stats http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3uo
The Cheltenham Festival Betting Guides http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3xl
The Secret Racegoer plans a Festival shopping spree http://wp.me/s8e3Dl-13518
Gary McKenzie’s early look: novice races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3r1
DC’s Each Way Cheltenham Festival Lucky 15 http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3pY
Cheltenham Festival Preview Nights http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3oD
Cheltenham: the early years http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-1EQ
Getting to Cheltenham http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-h4