Leading Ladies At Doncaster St Leger Festival

On the eve of the Doncaster St Leger Festival I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give you an exclusive insight into the fabulous fashion choices from some of the leading ladies who will be in attendance throughout the week.


Award winning author and Racehorse Owner Jilly Cooper, Racehorse Owner and Hairdresser to the stars Jayne Jackson, Racehorse Owner and Breeder Yvonne Blunt, Boutique Owner and Farriers Fiance Samira Sheety and last but certainly not least Miss South Yorkshire 2010 Olivia Cuncliffe all share their fashion choices along with offering a couple of tips on what they feel Ladies and Gentlemen should not be wearing to this years St Leger Festival.








Jilly Cooper

Jilly Cooper is a journalist, writer 
and media superstar. The author 
of many No.1 bestselling novels, 
she lives in Gloucestershire with 
her husband Leo, her rescue greyhound Feather and her black cat Feral.

She was appointed OBE in 2004 for services to literature, and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Gloucestershire for her contribution to literature and services to the County. She is an avid lover of Racehorses and is the owner of Racehorse Jilly Winks 
which is in training with Scott Dixon. Jilly is currently writing her new novel about flat racing, which is called Leading Sire... 
which is sure to be a captivating read. 

What days are you attending? 
Sadly I'm only going to the St Leger Festival on Wednesday


What are you planning to wear during the Leger week and have you purchased something new?
Shamimgly I haven't decided what to wear, because I'm hideously indecisive. If it's hot possibly a white trouser suit with flat gold shoes, or if it's a bit cooler a beautiful dark, blue dress with spots with a white blazer trimmed with navy blue 

Where do you like to shop for your racing ensembles?
I live in Gloucestershire and there are marvellous shops in Cheltenham. I'm very lucky because since I did a television programme called 'What's my Line' in the 80's, a marvellous designer called Mariska Kay has advised me on what to wear, invariably beautiful clothes designed by herself.

Please describe your personal style
My personal style is utterly haphazard. I usually have too much hair to look good in hats. My legs just get by except in baking hot weather, when my ankles swell up like elephants, so I prefer long dresses, which somehow look wrong at the races.

Do current fashion trends have a big influence on your choices of what to wear during a big race meeting? 
No

Who is your favourite designer?
I've answered that: Mariska Kay. I'm also mad about Lindka Cierach's clothes

Will you or won't you be wearing a hat?
I often start off wearing a hat , then take it off if I'm having lunch in a box, then forget to put it back on again, and often after an excess of champagne leave it behind.

What are your favourite Pair and make of shoes and do you go for comfort or style?
My favourite shoes are always made by Russell and Bromley, black or brown court shoes with 2 inch heels - they're wonderfully comfortable and stylish. I also love my flat, gold shoes.

What is your current favourite handbag and will you use it daily or change according to your outfit?
I have a lovely brown bag, covered in dogs' faces, wildly unfashionable, but comforting because I always miss my own greyhounds when I'm away from home, the bag is also large. It's also large so I can get all my make-up, notebooks and even doggy bags from lunch inside it.

What is your favorite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
Almost impossible to tell. I've got so many favourites. Lindka Ceirach gave me a pair of black flares about fifteen years ago. They make me look thin (or thinner) and go with everything. I've also got a lovely blue and turquoise striped silk blazer trimmed with turquoise ribbon, which is terrific for racing because you can wear it with dark blue or cream trousers and flat shoes, so you don't have sore feet at the end of the day.

What are your biggest fashion DONT'S for Ladies and Gentlemen when attending the races?
It is crucial for men if they're going to sport panamas or those curly brimmed felt hats, that look as though they've spent the night in rollers, or top hats for Ascot, to wear them forward resting on the eyebrows. They look ghastly on the back of the head. For women, I also think stilettoes and 7 inch heels look deeply silly, particularly on orange fake tanned legs, nor do I like deep cleavages or groin level skirts at the races. Binoculars should be trained on horses, not excessive female flesh.

Which is your favourite racecourse? And Why?
Coming from Yorkshire, I'm devoted to York and Doncaster, living in Gloucestershire, I also adore Cheltenham.





Who is your favourite racehorse? 
Writing a book on racing at the moment, I've been lucky enough to meet Frankel, St Nicholas Abbey and the great Galileo but I adore a lovely filly called Jillywinks, trained by Scott Dixon, in whom I have a small share.



What is your Best racing memory, why, and what were you wearing?
I have so many best racing memories but probably the one illustrated by the photograph. Here I'm wearing the same blue hat and blue lace suit that I wore to the wedding of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. I had a share in the lovely horse I'm hugging. He was called Monty's Salvo and had only just been beaten into second place in a jump race at Worcester.

And finally what are you looking forward to most at this year’s St Leger Festival?
Seeing the stars of the past taking part in the Legends' race on Wednesday



Jayne Jackson




Jayne is one of the busiest and most sought after stylist and hair extension designers around. Her wealth of knowledge attracts clients from afar who travel many miles to see her, Jayne also work's with on-screen celebrities including Helen Flanagan, Michelle Keegan and Sinead Moyhan to name but a few. To find out more visit TheStudio.

Jayne is also the proud owner of three beautiful Racehorses and enjoyed her first appearance in the winners enclosure with her 3 year old filly Threes Grand at The York Ebor Festival. Jayne always looks fantastic and has a unique style that sets her apart from the rest of the crowd.

What days are you attending? I will be attending on wed and Sat of ledger week!

What advice would you give for Ladies when planning their Hairstyles for this years Doncaster St Leger and what are you hoping to see on display?
You ask what I hope to see the ladies wearing!! It would be hairstyles that contribute to the finished result to the outfit the lady is wearing on the day!

If your dress code is classic then keep your hairstyle with a classic theme, if you are High Fashion dressing then you can get away with a high fashion hairstyle, however there is always the alternative, go for a wow factor hat, after all it's the ledger!Remember too much busy going on with hair, hat, dress, shoes, cannot be a good look.

Last of all wearing your hair the way you feel comfortable, this adds to confidence and will make a difference to the experience of the whole day. 



What are you planning to wear during the Leger week and have you purchased something new?
I have chosen to wear an Amanda Wakeley dress on the Wednesday. On the Saturday I have chosen a fairly fussy dress as I have decided not to wear a hat, as I feel too much fuss is not a good look. However it’s a great week for ladies to really dress up!!

Where do you like to shop for your racing ensembles?
Shoes!!!! Well I shop around, but seem to always end up with Kurt Geiger HaHa, stylish and so comfy, Clothing!!! Robinson of Bawtry is where I always seem to end up!!

Please describe your personal style
My personal style is fitted, I am not keen on floral prints for myself, but I love to see them on other people, I love Jackets it’s my weakness I have one in every colour.

Do current fashion trends have a big influence on your choices of what to wear during a big race meeting? Not at all! I have my own fashions,as I love to feel comfortable in what I wear

Who is your favourite designer?
Designer has to be Vivienne Westwood

Will you or won't you be wearing a hat?
I won't be a hat! Just my hairstyle!

What are your favourite Pair and make of shoes and do you go for comfort or style?
Shoes has to be Kurt Geiger such a wide varied range

What is your current favourite handbag and will you use it daily or change according to your outfit?
I love my Mulberry, I use it on a daily basis; however I will be matching my shoes with different handbags on ledger week!

What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
That’s a hard one as I have lots of favourites, OK! If I had to choose at the moment it would be my Gianni Versace dress as its the dress I was wearing when Threes Grand won at York races.

What are your biggest fashion DONT'S for Ladies and Gentlemen when attending the races?
Men not wearing a tie that matches their shirt, suits trousers too short,
Woman dresses too tight!! Can I say that???


Oh and I hope to see the ladies still wearing their shoes at the end of the day, It definitely spoils the look especially when a lot of work has gone into the outfit.

Which is your favourite racecourse? And Why?
Mm that's a hard one, I love Chester, but Doncaster it just creeps in front.

Who is your favourite racehorse?
How do I decide between our three?? So I am not going to choose one of ours. So my choice is Milk it Mick as he is a link to our horses ha ha!!


What is your Best racing memory, why, and what were you wearing

My best moment has to be York Races when Threes grand won at the Ebor Festival!!! Of course this is why I chose Gianni Versace as my favourite piece in my wardrobe!!

And finally what are you looking forward to most at this year’s St Leger Festival?
I am looking forward to the Doncaster ledger race meeting to watch good racing, having fun with good friends. Hopefully a win too! And as we have friends flying especially over from America to attend the races with us, I think all round it should be a great week.






Yvonne Blunt 

Yvonne is passionate about horse racing  and along with her husband David have some fabulous horses and enjoy their racing both nationally and internationally. They have recently started breeding racehorses, and are developing this side of their racing interests.
Yvonne and David are both gregarious people and love to share the special moments with friends and family. Guests are very well looked after as they are fantastic hosts. Yvonne and David always ensure that there is a relaxed feel in their box, and style wise Yvonne noticeably always looks fabulous, effortlessly stylish but with an air of elegance. David should not be missed out in the fashion stakes, as a well renowned business man of some repute, he is of course completely au fait with racecourse wear for gentleman and is always sporting an extremely well cut suit with highly polished shoes.



What days are you attending?
Saturday 

What are you planning to wear during the Leger week and have you purchased something new?
Depending on weather I have two choices - favourite a Kelly Clarke orange and blue lace skirt and jacket or LK Bennett cream wool dress. Not sure till I get home and see how I feel. It could be totally different 

Where do you like to shop for your racing ensembles?
I have a special designer for me who specialises in Swiss lace. She also does my winter racing in light tweed, leather and suede 

Please describe your personal style I don't have one really as long as it is comfortable fits well and a bit out of the ordinary.


Do current fashion trends have a big influence on your choices of what to wear during a big race meeting? 
It would do if I was younger as I remember, it was very important, but I now need to feel young enough to be happy wearing it. 

Who is your favourite designer?
My shape and age has always defined that question. I'm a Chanel and Armani girl at heart for special occasions but obviously now my shape and weight does not do them justice. I quite like Dress Code who give a youthful look and Condici for elegance. I love looking abroad for different choice and something a little bit different. I look for that softer side to racing wear.

Will you or won't you be wearing a hat?
The weather will define that
What are your favourite Pair and make of shoes and do you go for comfort or style?
I would love to wear 4 inch Louboutin shoes but sensibility and of course the job in hand says not. For a day’s racing 2 inch Russell & Bromley r good but I quite like my dune suede wedges are perfect. In winter some beautiful suede boots are perfect.

What is your current favourite handbag and will you use it daily or change according to your outfit?
I love my Chanel beige day bag but for winter I like my mulberry leather shoulder bag. I have a nice Burberry bag. I love Burberry accessories scarves gloves etc.

What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
I love my Burberry silk scarf which I have had years but makes everything great.


What are your biggest fashion DONT'S for Ladies and Gentlemen when attending the races?
Sunglasses have outlived the day but obviously if it is sunny and necessary. Very jazzy suits out of context. The races should be chic and sophisticated and smart. People have a different take on this and racecourses differ. The south are much more practical and the north are more showy.


Which is your favourite racecourse? And Why?
I would have to say York. We have a box there and entertain there a lot. We also try to get our horses good enough to run there which makes it special. York racecourse also offers race goers great facilities on very different occasions. I have also enjoyed Windsor as a lovely day out. Royal Ascot is quite special but in my view is not as good as York.


Who is your favourite racehorse?

Montjeu and frankel. My own personally owned horse is tepmokea.


What is your Best racing memory, why, and what were you wearing?
Frankel at York last year. Wore green lace suit.

And finally what are you looking forward to most at this year’s St Leger Festival?
Having good day out with family and friends. (Wish we had a horse running) 




Samira Sheety




Samira Sheety is the owner of a celebrity inspired fashion boutique which is an internet based company specialising in the latest fashion trends, currently specialising in bandage dresses but Samira has also started introducing some beautiful sophisticated dressed and suits which are perfect for all ages. 



Samira also owns Rackford Stables which is a livery yard in North Anston where she lives with Son Matthew and Fiance Neil. Neil is is an approved training farrier he also has a love of horses and a passion for racing. His work takes him up and down the country being farrier to various racing yards.












What days are you attending? 
I will be attending the St Leger Festival on Thursday, Friday and of course Saturday.


What are you planning to wear during the Leger week and have you purchased something new?
My outfit for ladies day will be a black and white knee length bandage dress from my own collection teamed with teamed with black Guess patent heels and matching handbag. As Friday is less formal I plan to wear a nude mesh and black dress again from my collection with new Kurt Geiger nude heels and bag from Dune. By Saturday, my feet will be tiring, Time to think about toning it down in the shoe department so my good old faithful Gucci black Patent medium heels will be making a welcome appearance, teamed up with a timeless black and white dress by Karen Millen and my all time favourite black Guess handbag.

Where do you like to shop for your racing ensembles?
I like to shop at House of Fraser as they have a brilliant selection of different designers. Although alot of my outfits for the races are from my own collection. 


Please describe your personal style
I don't have one really I prefer more casual clothing and love attending the winter race meets so I can wrap up in fur and wear comfy boot as opposed to stiletto heels.
Do current fashion trends have a big influence on your choices of what to wear during a big race meeting? 
For big race meets I tend to go for the seasons colours with a knee length cut,
Who is your favourite designer?
My favourite designer would have to be Dolce and Gabbana

Will you or won't you be wearing a hat?
Unlike most racegoers, I will be exchanging the more usual hat for a creative style with my hair so I usually makes up for it.

What are your favourite Pair and make of shoes and do you go for comfort or style?
My favourite pair of shoes are a nude pair of stilettos which look extremely high but are very comfy from Kurt Geiger

What is your current favourite handbag and will you use it daily or change according to your outfit?
My Chanel handbag, which I save for special occasions

What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
my all time favourite purchases would be a black D&G dress which goes with anything

What are your biggest fashion DONT'S  for Ladies and Gentlemen when attending the races? The all time biggest fashion dont's is bad fake tan and bad hair extensions, as for the men ... silly socks are a pet hate!!

Which is your favourite racecourse? And Why?
Doncaster is my favourite course as I've spent lots of time there with my closest family and friends and as it’s our local racecourse.

Who is your favourite racehorse?
Sprinter Sacre.

What is your Best racing memory, why, and what were you wearing?
My fondest memory is at Doncaster Racecourse earlier this year when we sponsored the Joc Murray Memorial Race in memory of my fiancé grandfather, I wore a bandage dress from my collection.

And finally what are you looking forward to most at this year’s St Leger Festival?
Every year the St. Leger festival brings together lots of our friends /family and work colleagues not to mention the fantastic racing, and array of fabulous fashions. 





Olivia Cuncliffe 


Olivia Cunliffe has just finished her degree in Child Nursing Studies at Sheffield Hallam University and is about to start a job as a staff nurse at the Children's Hospital. 


In 2010 Olivia won the title as Miss South Yorkshire and went on to compete at the Miss England finals. The Miss South Yorkshire final in 2010 was held at Doncaster Racecourse and this is where her love for the races (particularly st ledger ladies day) started. At the 2010 ladies day Olivia had the opportunity to help judge the best dressed lady, so she has some inside knowledge about what the Judges will be looking for on Thursday. 


Olivia has also completed a Mount Snowdon climb and a 'not so strictly come dancing' competition. Olivia has a love for high fashion that is associated with horse racing and always looks immaculate.




What days are you attending? Saturday 14th September 


What are you planning to wear during the Leger week and have you purchased something new?
I have a couple of dresses in mind- a Zara red pencil dress or a BCBGMaxazria blue floral dress.

Where do you like to shop for your racing ensembles?
I try to find little boutiques wherever I can as they tend to have something a bit different to the high street and something that nobody else will have on. Carol Ann in Wickersley always has a good selection. 

Please describe your personal style
I don't particularly have one style. I go with what I like at that time. I like the classy girly clothes in Zara or French Connection but also the casual grungy clothes in all saints.
Do current fashion trends have a big influence on your choices of what to wear during a big race meeting? 
In a way but usually I wear what I feel suits me at the time.
Who is your favourite designer?
Victoria Beckham as she does classically elegant with a modern twist, unfortunately it would take a while to save up for. There is some great high street fashion, Zara and French Connection being my favourite.

Will you or won't you be wearing a hat?
Yes, it’s not very often I get to wear one so why not. There are some great hats to hire at 'London Connection' in Rotherham or 'Funky Fascinators' in Doncaster custom make fantastic fascinators to match your race outfit

What are your favourite Pair and make of shoes and do you go for comfort or style?
Kurt Geiger are my favourite. They're designer shoes with a highstreet price tag.

What is your current favourite handbag and will you use it daily or change according to your outfit?
My favourite bag is my Louis vuitton 'never full', I use it every day as it goes with everything and can fit so much in.

What is your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
I dont really have a favourite item of clothing. I love dressing up for special occasions but just as happy to dress casual and comfortable in jeans and a top.

What are your biggest fashion DONT'S for Ladies and Gentlemen when attending the races?
Everyone has their own style so dress in what makes you comfortable and dont try too hard.

Which is your favourite racecourse? And Why?
Doncaster racecourse because iv had some really good times there.

Who is your favourite racehorse?
Any horse that wins for me haha! 



What is your Best racing memory, why, and what were you wearing?

Best racing memory would be the day I won Miss South Yorkshire. One of the sponsors was Chique boutique in Doncaster and we each got to wear two of their dresses in the fashion show.



And finally what are you looking forward to most at this year’s St Leger Festival?
The whole day is great, I am looking forward to getting dressed up, having drinks with friends and putting on a few bets.




Thankyou so much to all of the above glamourous ladies for sparing their time. I hope you all have a wonderful time at the Doncaster St Leger Festival.