Cheltenham Festival By Jon Ivan-Duke

Tweed clothed horse sets the trend for Cheltenham

  • World’s first Harris Tweed suit designed for a race horse
  • Racehorse models the world’s first equine tweed suit ahead of Cheltenham Festival – where racing fans will wear enough tweed to stretch 200 miles from Cheltenham to Ireland
  • Racing legend Sir Anthony McCoy unveils the new equestrian fashion garment which was commissioned by William Hill to celebrate the start of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival
  • Suit was created by former Alexander McQueen apprentice and celebrity stylist Emma Sandham-King
  • Full set of images available for usage:
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The world’s first Harris Tweed suit designed specifically for a race horse has been revealed by 20-time champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy ahead of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

The new equestrian fashion range, modelled by veteran race horse Morestead, features a three-piece suit complete with shirt, tie and flat cap. Sir Anthony McCoy, a Cheltenham Gold Cup champion on two occasions, was pictured getting into the spirit of the annual festival whilst riding Morestead.

The horse outfit was specially commissioned by leading bookmaker William Hill, who tasked former Alexander McQueen apprentice, Emma Sandham-King, with creating a stylish Harris Tweed suit to celebrate the start of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

Emma Sandham-King and her team of seamstresses and tailors, spent 4 weeks creating the enormous tailored three-piece suit using over 18 metres of genuine tweed shipped from the Isle of Harris. The custom made suit has been created with ten times as much fabric as an equivalent human suit.

William Hill enlisted stats boffin Dr Geoff Ellis who calculated that enough tweed is worn at Cheltenham Festival to stretch all the way from the historic racecourse to Ireland. Dr Ellis studied 32 large scale crowd photos from the festival to cross examine the amount of tweed on show, finding that on average 200 miles and seven furlongs (321.5 km) of tweed are worn every year by spectators; enough tweed to stretch one and a half times around every horse race track in Britain and Ireland.  This year is likely to see more tweed worn than since the industry’s heyday in the 1960’s with Tweed gracing the catwalks at last year’s New York, Paris and London Fashion Weeks.

Emma Sandham-King, who has worked with Alexander McQueen commented: “Creating the world’s first tweed suit for a horse has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career as a designer. We have used 18 metres of genuine Harris Tweed to create the head turning fashion garment. Some models can be real divas, but veteran racing horse Morestead was calm and a pleasure to work with.  Tweed is undergoing a massive revival and this year’s Cheltenham Festival will see the most tweed worn since the 1960s.”

Jon Ivan Duke from William Hill comments: ‘Cheltenham Festival is a landmark moment in the racing calendar where punters battle the bookmakers over 28 races. This year our eye is on tweed-wearing Willie Mullins, who came so close to breaking the bookies on the opening Tuesday at last year’s Festival. It’s déjà vu this year and if Mullins saddles four winners on the opening day, it could hit bookmakers for £50million.”

Dr Ellis’ findings also revealed that the most popular tweed item amongst males was a tweed jacket with 1 in 3 men (31%) selecting it as their festival attire. The most popular tweed item amongst women was a tweed coat with 28% of females wearing one.

Sir Anthony McCoy comments: “I have many fond memories of racing at Cheltenham Festival amongst the sea of onlooking, tweed-wearing racegoers. I’ll be watching from the side-lines for the first time this year and rather than strapping on my jockey silks, I’ll be joining the punters and hopefully tipping up a few winners to bash the bookies.” 

Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday 15th March 2016.


Cheltenham Festival Special Odds from William Hill:

Willie Mullins Special – How Many Winners Will He Train At 2016 Cheltenham Festival:

Evens            Six or fewer

Evens            Seven To Nine

7/1                   Ten or more


Where Will Victoria Pendleton Finish In The St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase?:

1st          16/1

2nd          16/1

3rd           14/1

4th           14/1

5th to 10th inclusive         9/4

Any other result other than a top 10 finish          4/6





Notes to editors

Calculating Tweed Measurements:

Dr Ellis studied 32 large scale crowd photos from the festival to cross examine the amount of tweed on show, finding that on average 200 miles and seven furlongs (321.5km) of tweed are worn every year by spectators