"Dress for success" they said. There was plenty at stake at the Racecourse Association’s prestigious Showcase Awards Dinner on Thursday last week, so I made sure that I was wearing my smartest pair of Mr Perfect socks (£17.50 for seven pairs, featuring assorted Mr Men characters, from M&S).
It was a black-tie affair. I’m sorry that I didn’t pass on that specific piece of information to our race-day presenter John Sexton – otherwise he too could have been dressed like a penguin. But it didn’t really matter, the socks were the most important thing.
I usually don a pair of Mr Fussy socks in preparation for the races on the day before each event, while Mr Happy appears on the day of the fixture itself – especially if it happens to be a Bank Holiday Monday. I’m not saying that I’m superstitious, but I’m a bit uneasy about wearing Mr Bump socks at any time and Mr Tickle is for home-wear only: no one wants to end up in court over a misunderstanding about sartorial sock messages…
The team here have been working their socks off all year and it was really exciting to have been nominated for three separate awards: Operational Excellence, Corporate Social Responsibility and Food & Beverages. The judges handed us the award for Corporate Social Responsibility and I’m pretty sure that they said we’d knocked their socks off! In any case, they were impressed by the high level of interaction between the racecourse and our community – including a variety of local sports clubs, the Priory, in-bloom committee, agricultural society, cubs, scouts, the primary school (bless their little cotton socks) and many others.
Ascot Racecourse were also nominated in three award categories and picked up two, before being crowned the Showcase Champions. You could say that we tried to sock it to them – but we didn’t quite have the legs to carry it off. Well done to everyone at Ascot (obviously no one with Muppet socks there): it was a great feat. Having dipped our toe in the water, we’ll try hard to follow in their shoes next time.
There is racing at Ascot this weekend and, having pulled my socks up in the tipping department in recent weeks, I’m going to nominate Wishfull Thinking in the Amlin Chase as my weekly selection. However, you’ll be pleased to know that I'm fairly certain that I’ve also identified the winners of all seven races at Haydock on Saturday: Plus Jamais, Lie Forrit, Tap Night, The New One, Katkeau, Cue Card and Green Flag. Needless to say, beneath my betting boots, I’ll be wearing Mr Greedy socks.
Four of those Haydock winners are trained in Scotland, three by Lucinda Russell who will probably be wearing tartan tights - if she doesn’t have her own Little Miss Perfect socks. On second thoughts, I expect she has better dress sense – it’s time for me to put a sock in it.