Leading Ladies

Hats at the ready, fascinators and heels co-ordinated, final touches achieved, because they’re off.

Tomorrow sees the culmination of the fashion parades that have taken place over the Yorkshire racing season, the Ladies’ Day of Ladies’ Days, when the Best Dressed Yorkshire Lady Racegoer will be chosen and crowned.

It’s a highlight of Doncaster’s St Leger and marks the end of the fashion racing season.

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First the Doncaster heat winner has to be selected, and this will take place when a panel of judges walks around the grounds tomorrow, talent-spotting and handing out invitations to take part.

Once chosen, the winner of this heat will join the other eight ladies who have each won their own heats at Ladies’ Days across the region during the current racing season. So you could still take part and win if you turn up tomorrow.

At Ebor, the traditional Ladies’ Day has been slightly complicated by the launch of the Fashion on the Field event with Debenhams, at which designer Jeff Banks and guest judges, including designers Matthew Williamson, John Rocha, Aliza Reger, Andrew Fionda, Ren Pearce and Ben de Lisi, all visited York to pick out their own, quite separate, best-dressed winner of the York Races. Still, you can’t have too much fashion.

Victoria Bailey, 25, from Wortley in Leeds, was eventually crowned their Best Dressed Racegoer, and winner of the first Fashion on the Field in the UK.

Back to the big cross-Yorkshire competition. The nine finalists of the regional Ladies’ Days all become finalists in the grand Yorkshire final tomorrow, with the winner selected there and then.

As these snaps of the individual heat winners show, a great deal of thought, time and effort has gone into the Ladies’ Day outfits, with many women turning to specialist designers and boutiques experienced in the art of creating the perfect lady race-goer ensembles. It’s fair to say that restraint and subtlety are rarely part of the equation, but then perhaps understatedness is over-rated.

We have shown all the finalists here except, of course, tomorrow’s Doncaster heat finalist.

So here they are – the winners so far. Who do you think should win?

Good luck, ladies.

St Leger Festival Ladies’ Day takes place tomorrow (September 8). Gates open at 11am; first race 1.25pm; pre-judging for Doncaster Best Dressed Lady 12-1pm; Doncaster Best Dressed Lady final, takes place after first race; Grand Final for Best Dress Yorkshire Lady Race Goer takes place after second race at about 2.05pm. The winner gets a luxury pampering pyjama party for six at Best Western Premier Mount Pleasant Hotel in Doncaster.