L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Festival

Santiago Event, Sports July 2, 2017

By James Trotter


Over the last decade, the historically significant and prestigious L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate has established itself as Africa’s most exclusive raceday, as well as one of the world’s most desirable racing events to attend. Every year thousands of Cape Town’s youngest, sexiest and most fashionable stream into Kenilworth Racecourse dressed in the sponsors colours of blue and white to revel under the Cape summer sun. In January this year the event chartered new ground when innovatively growing from a single day celebration into the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival – Africa’s first multi-day horseracing event, up there with the likes of Royal Ascot or Glorious Goodwood in the United Kingdom.

As the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate has risen in international popularity in recent years, so the number of racing fans, socialites and holiday makers from abroad – especially Europe – has steadily increased. L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate organizer, Katherine Gray, explains the reason for the launch of the new festival, “We see more and more internationals coming to the event every year, and the raceday has become a celebration of people from around the world. We wanted to look into ways of extending the length of the festival and provide our international guests with a multitude of fun activities to attend over the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate week.”

Cape Town in the summer – with its white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, iconic mountainous backdrop, Michelin-star restaurants and party-filled buzz in the air – is already one of the world’s most popular places to be in January. It is little wonder that the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, arguably the most memorable party in Cape Town’s social calendar, attracts an increasing number of European visitors each year, as many look to escape the cold of the Northern
Hemisphere winter.

The original event is traditionally run on the first or second Saturday of January, which sees the running of South Africa’s championship mile event, and the oldest race in the country, the G1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Over ten thousand people are treated to wines and champagne from the vineyards of Anthonij Rupert Wines, while resplendent amongst the dreamlike white and blue themed setting created by L’Ormarins, with finishing touches from premier luxury brands and co-sponsors such as Cartier and BMW.

As a build up to this year’s racing festival, an inaugural social celebrity cricket match was held on the Wednesday at the Groot Drakenstein Games Club near Franschhoek – approximately an hour outside of Cape Town and neighbouring L’Ormarins Wine Estate. The venue is home to both Anthonij Rupert Wyne and Drakenstein Stud, one of the country’s leading and most picturesque thoroughbred stud farms. Out on the field were the likes of former international cricketers Jacques Kallis and Craig Kieswetter as well as European Tour golfer Richard Sterne. The spectators were not only treated to an afternoon buffet, an assortment of wines and beer, a beautiful summer’s day sitting beneath umbrellas, but also to a commentary from former English cricketer and famously voiced
Geoffrey Boycott.



On Thursday, the eve of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Racing Festival, a number of the guests attending the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate were invited to the beautiful Mount Nelson Hotel for High Tea. Hosted by the Cape’s leading trainers – Snaith Racing – brothers Justin and Jonathon Snaith created an elegant setting where guests were encouraged to indulge in the complimentary wine and gin bar and relax into a festive mood while listening to the music of American based musician, Louise Carver. In anticipation for the racing to come, the trainers went through the racecard for the weekend, generously giving their tips on what to follow over the next two days
of racing.

The G1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate this year saw a repeat from the year before with reigning Horse of the Year, Legal Eagle, defending his crown in an imperious fashion. Saturday’s raceday also sees the hosting of the Best Dressed competitions. The highlight of which is the prize for the Best Dressed Lady, this year won by Camilla Beazley, whose award is an all-expenses paid trip to London for a week to attend the prestigious Glorious Goodwood racing festival during the British summer.

Although the Saturday ultimately builds towards a climactic closing party, dancing to the sounds of top DJ Euphonik, the Friday is labelled as ‘the LQP Garden Party’ and has more of a relaxed feel to it. An afternoon affair with a harvest table and L’Ormarin’s Brut. The main race of the day is the G2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes, which sees a number of the fastest female horses in South Africa taking each other on over the straight Kenilworth 1200m. The sun only sets in Cape Town after eight in January, so once the racing has concluded late in the afternoon, guests can sit and savor the rest of the day. Sipping on Methode Cap Classique under the giant oak trees, it is truly a blissful day spent watching the shadows grow longer on the green forests of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, gradually growing darker on the mountains above them.



Coachella diaries

Santiago Event, Music July 1, 2017


By Liliana Nova


Going to Coachella is truly an incredible experience – from the exotic location in the middle of the Colorado desert to the amazing weather, parties, fun in the sun with friends and endless great music, it is truly a festival not to be missed, particularly for the fashionistas. I had an amazing time this year and was grateful to be attending on behalf of my favorite sunglass brand, Gentle Monster. With the endless pool parties and sunset sessions, these shades made the perfect match. Coachella is fun in terms of fashion because you can take more risks and dress a bit differently to how you would normally. Let us just say you can truly let that inner hippie out and channel your inner sun loving goddess.


The first day began with a cool pool party by Revolve for star influencer and friend Chiara Ferragni. Pool parties at Coachella are not your usual pool parties, they are an explosion of crazy outfits, the most delicious food and cocktails as well as an exciting array of activities. At Revolve we even had the chance of getting inked by the world famous Tattoo Artist, Jon Boy who was creatively expressing his talents for anyone who wanted to get a tattoo. Trust me he is worth it, I was really close on getting one but then something must have distracted me, next time!

I love festival weekends because you get to experience the perfect balance between an exciting escape from your daily routine as well as some much needed relaxing, socializing and catch ups with new and old friends from all over the United States – and even the world – who come to Palm Springs for these two much anticipated weekends. Besides the outside parties and events there is also of course the festival itself. You get to hang out with all your friends and listen to the top artists play phenomenal music, indulge in all kinds of food and snap a bunch of unforgettable moments. Something about the energy at these events makes you forget about anything negative or stressful and allows you a time to really appreciate being present in the moment!


Let us look into a more detailed take on fashion for Coachella…You see, there are not many occasions in your daily life where you get the chance to either dress like a flower child hippy from back in the 60s or play around with some crazy fantasy looks and still be deemed as “fashionably appropriate.” For Coachella you can truly live your little girls (or boys) dream and have fun with your styling (although there are of course still some tasteful rules at Coachella, do be warned). This year I mixed up some casual pieces with some crazy ‘It-Pieces’ such as this oversized Bob Marley Vest that looked totally incredible with my jean shorts and a pair of my old Chanel Dallas Over-the-knee boots. I also enjoyed the attention I received in my beloved black bodysuit with gold metal details that I wore for a shoot in the middle of the desert (note, this was was pretty hardcore considering the heat and landscape but all worth it for a glamorous
shot, right?)

As far as accessories go, I found my backpack to be the ideal item and most worn piece. They are the perfect on trend festival handbag – easy to throw on, super cute (obsessed with the Mini Louis Vuitton one I’m wearing) and they keep your hands free, love it! Speaking about my shoot in the Palms Springs, I was also lucky enough to get the chance to shoot in the most breathtaking surroundings with the sunglass brand I was marketing called Gentle Monster. We shot at the so called ‘Mirage House’ – a glass house in the middle of the Colorado desert and around a Circle of Mirrored Sticks by Phillip K Smith III. The art installation was truly breathtaking and the talent really blew my mind, impeccable!

Last but not least, I must mention my favorite part of Coachella which has to be the Neon Carnival.The Neon Carnival is sponsored by Levis and Tinder and truly brings out one’s inner child. It is a playground for adults (and semi- adults) who get the opportunity to embrace euphoric and melodic beats by the world’s best DJ’s while taking a wild ride on a roller coaster. I mean what more can one ask for? Hanging out and having fun with new and old friends from around the globe, sometimes even the artists themselves, appreciating great music, great food and great company. What an enchanting weekend !


Santiago Event December 12, 2016




by Simon Piggott

This year has been a special year for all those participating at Royal Ascot as it marks Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday celebrations with her favourite sporting event of the season.

Presentation by Princess Beatrice to H M The Queen, Michael Stoute and Olivier Peslier for The Hardwicke Stakes won by DARTMOUTH Royal Ascot 18 Jun 2016 - Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

Presentation by Princess Beatrice to H M The Queen, Michael Stoute and Olivier Peslier for The Hardwicke Stakes won by DARTMOUTH Royal Ascot 18 Jun 2016 – Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

Many members of Cercle were present at this year’s event and had the added joy of being able to share Her Majesty’s favourite sport coupled with all the traditions that beset the beautiful surroundings of Ascot Racecourse, Windsor Great Park and the Royal Meeting.

Tuesday started off with the traditional Royal Procession in carriage onto the racecourse by Her Majesty and her family down from Windsor Castle , her 70th since her first time with her father, George VI, in 1946. 

This may also have proven to have been a significant moment for British racing because of who was alongside the Queen during the Meeting in the Royal Box and the Winners’ Enclosure.

DARTMOUTH (Olivier Peslier) wins The Hardwicke Stakes Royal Ascot 18 Jun 2016 - Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

DARTMOUTH (Olivier Peslier) wins The Hardwicke Stakes Royal Ascot 18 Jun 2016 – Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

The Prince of Wales has often been characterized as being ambivalent towards the sport about which his mother is passionate. But there he was, clearly taking an interest and joking with the Queen about her trophies. The heir to the throne has also been here much more than usual this week, even participating with two runners.

The Royal support for the ‘Sport of Kings’ is a massive thing, and, with the future in mind, it’s clear that he’s taking an active part in being moulded to perhaps one day take over a baton that Her Majesty has held for so long,” said Cornelius Lysaght correspondent for the BBC.

The second day saw the participation for the first time of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge with her husband Prince William, who were joined by Princess Mary of Denmark as well as the Duke and Duchess of Wessex, who all seemed to have winners that day.

The weather was mixed during the week but we still had time to have the traditional picnics in Car park One followed by the very high standard of racing that we are accustomed to at the Royal Ascot.

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, John Warren and Prince Andrew, Duke of York during the Royal Procession on day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

ASCOT, ENGLAND – JUNE 16: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, John Warren and Prince Andrew, Duke of York during the Royal Procession on day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2016 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

To be seen amongst the regular goers were The Count and Countess Edouard de Guitaut, the Veaseys, Andrew and Serena Woodward, Charles and Agnieszka Hancock, Mark and Sinead Read, all joined by their children for the Saturday as well as our foreign contingent with designer Isabell Kristensen, Prince Hannibal di Reitano, Lara Preston and Natasha Bruun from Texas, Masato Hisamune from Japan, Brandon and Masha Nejati, Olga Stepp and many more.    

The five day meeting ended on a high note for the birthday girl who was able to celebrate in style upon the winning of Dartmouth, which won the Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday, its final day. The 10-1 chance, ridden by Olivier Peslier for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, was her first winner at the meeting for three years and how better to end the week with her 23rd win!

It was also a record-equalling 75th triumph at the meeting for Sir Michael Stoute, her trainer, set by the late Sir Henry Cecil. Nearly £130,000 in prize money went to the winner, with the majority of this for her victorious owner.

ESTIMATE after The Queens Vase Ascot 22Jun12

ESTIMATE after The Queens Vase Ascot 22Jun12

The race was a very tight one with an inquiry held after Dartmouth and Highland Reel came close together but the placings were unaltered with Dartmouth winning by a head from Highland Reel, and Almodovar finishing third.

Victory brought a high for the Queen, a week after her official 90th birthday, following the low of losing her runner Guy Fawkes, who suffered a fatal injury at Ascot on Thursday –  John Warren, racing advisor to the Queen said that The Queen got such a thrill out of him sticking his neck who went on to say that “this is the Olympics (of racing) and even to have a runner here is huge. To end up with a winner is so fantastic.”

The Queen was congratulated by her son, The Prince of Wales, on such a great ending with the spectators cheering along.

God Save the Queen, Long live the Queen!