CITY GENTS DON THEIR TOP HATS FOR RACES

CITY firms will be flocking to Newbury Racecourse for its “gentlemen’s day” on Friday, with the venue reporting a 30 per cent year-on-year jump in corporate bookings from City firms. Firms signing up for the event include Cushman & Wakefield, Publicis and Arbuthnot Securities – but what, you may ask, is a “gentlemen’s day”, other than a Victorian euphemism?

It is, essentially, a day for dressing in the finest of tails and having a flutter on whichever horse takes your fancy, with champagne and wine aplenty. And to add to the competitive instincts of the lucky City folk being entertained, the racecourse will be running a “best-dressed” competition, to be judged by a panel including the fashion blogger Prince Cassius – dubbed Britain’s “best-dressed man” by GQ.

All participants needs do to enter the competition is show up in a spiffy outfit, since there will be designated spotters in the crowds, with preference given to “traditional” attire (time to dust off your grandfather’s top hat). Arbuthnot Securities director Rob Saunders said that he’s “sure all the guys will be keen to win the best-dressed gentleman this year for Q Club membership, which would go down very well in the bragging stakes!”

Women are, alas, excluded from the dressing competition – the racecourse runs a “ladies’ day” in August due to women’s preference for faster flat-racing instead of racing with jumps.

INCOMMUNICADO
Financial Services Authority head of communications Tom Kelly (picured, top right) has had a turbulent few months to settle into his role since April, what with the government partially abolishing the FSA and all. But after stints as spokesman for Tony Blair and BAA, he’s surely an old hand at handling public inquiries?

Perhaps not. It seems that the FSA’s comms chief has adopted a curiously reticent policy towards… well, communicating. Attempts to reach him at his domain in the FSA – the press office – drew a blank. Couldn’t he just come to the phone? The Capitalist wondered. “You have to go through the press office,” came the peculiar reply. Would that be the press office Kelly runs?

When The Capitalist did finally manage to track him down on his mobile, he had a brief summary of his position: “I don’t speak to the press.” Let’s hope he never has to communicate anything urgent!

IRISH LOVE
Tempers are on the boil in Ireland over the bailout fiasco, and the country’s tabloids are going to town with their splashes. The pictures of Prime Minister Brian Cowen giving yet another lacklustre statement in front of his Cabinet yesterday provided ample caption fodder. But while the Irish Independent went for the rather gentile “The Long Goodbye”, others weren’t so kind. The Irish Daily Star instead chose “Useless Gobshites”.

But it seems that Cowen is no stranger to this cruel treatment. A friend was in touch today to point out a longstanding nickname for the PM in the Irish press, who’s from Offaly: BIFFO. We’re told the first two letters stand for “Big Ignorant”, but what in the world could come next?

VETERANS’ LUNCH
For those in the mood for swapping stories of past stock market woes over a good burger today, head to the Bangers Bar & Grill, where the Stock Exchange Veterans Association will hold its annual general meeting at 12.30pm today. Stockmakers of any age and inclination are invited.