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Peter Thomas: No bloody butter flies - no shoulders either.

Byline: Peter Thomas

THE one thing Royal Ascot at York didn't miss was the southern social butterflies who wouldn't know a sprint handicap from a prawn vol-au-vent and couldn't be bothered to travel too far from the family seat.

My biggest bugbear at the meeting every year is the way the atmosphere is drained from proceedings by these types, and I was hoping their effete offerings would be replaced by a more robust Yorkshire roar. Sadly, the first few days produced barely a murmur from the Royal Enclosure stands, with the arrival of the sun halfway through Wednesday provoking an unprecedented cheer that had many of us looking round for the streaker.

P erhaps this is one problem we'll never crack, unless we introduce a racing quiz as a condition of entry to the posh bits of the course.

On the plus side, Yorkshire's women did themselves proud, the jockeys coped manfully with dreadful ground conditions and the Ebor Stand restaked its claim to the title of best racecourse building in Britain, with crowds barely even one deep at its bars, Tote windows and toilets.

Occasional forays into the cheaper enclosures revealed a less roomy situation, however, with female acquaintances reporting crossed legs and pained expressions aplenty in the queues for the ladies' conveniences.

P ass the bucket, Mrs Arkwright.

WHEN the sun was out, the scene was a glorious one, with Britain's finest Flat racecourse blooming like a good 'un in God's own county. This was not a cue, however, for one to relax and enjoy the weather.

Despite reports elsewhere of a more chilled regime than the one in place at the Berkshire venue, I can reassuringly report that standards were not wholly abandoned.

My wife, having endured two days of rain and shivers in her summer best, took the opportunity on Friday to celebrate the seasonal weather by abandoning her pashmina.

In the Ebor Stand, her fashion faux passaw her fall foul of the notorious `shoulder police', who approached her with the `nice cop' line ``I'm sorry, madam, but have you forgotten your shawl?'' - do women under 80 still wear shawls? - before threatening her with the removal of her badge and ordering her to stay where she was while her husband (me) retrieved the garment from the car so she might hide from the public gaze those parts of her shoulders that weren't already covered by her dress. ``I'll be back,'' warned the stern matron as she wheeled away.

It's good to see the important issues are still being addressed.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2005
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