When I was growing up in Berkshire I was mad about horses. One of my favourite stories I tell the children as I try to make them understand how lucky they are is how I used to muck out stables all weekend in exchange for one hour’s riding on a chestnut pony called Conkers.
There was nothing I liked better than a horsey weekend. This weekend has been just that. On Friday I went off to Dubai for the Cartier Cup. It was a glitzy, glamorous event with pink champagne, diamonds and even film stars. Monica Bellucci was there (born in the same year as me, we have so much in common), as well as Anil Kapoor of Slumdog Millionaire fame. Unlike most events you go to where film stars are surrounded with hundreds of fans, I actually got to speak to both of them. I said hello to Monica as she wafted past me looking splendid in white trousers, a purple diaphanous shirt and panama hat. Anil Kapoor looked every bit the villain he played in the film.
“Great film,” I said. “I hated you of course.”
“Good,” he laughed. “You were meant to hate me.”
A friend was invited by local dignitaries to his VIP box just a few metres from the Villa Cartier. She was jolly pleased with herself until I asked her what the champagne over her way was like.
“You have alcohol?” she wailed. It is important at these events to chose one’s VIP box wisely.
Today it was the Dubai World Cup. It was altogether a more brash and bigger do, but not as much fun. There is a competition for the best-dressed lady. The winner gets $8,000 and a holiday to Thailand. The winner of the main horse race gets a cool $6 million. Credit crunch, what credit crunch?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2009