Racing Behind Closed Doors: An interview with Francesca Cumani

With Cheltenham going ahead behind closed doors next week, and with the hope of Ascot going ahead in June we are starting to think about racing style, taking bespoke orders and looking forward to being able to start socialising again.

We we're lucky enough to have the beautiful Francesca Cumani wear some of our bespoke coats to present the races earlier on this year (pictured below) and we are so excited to see what she will wear for the Cheltenham festival next week! 


Francesca Cumani Races



To help get us into the racing mood we are running a variety of events across our social media platforms for the next few weeks, including dressing up our mannequin Elvira, sharing tips from tipster Capt. Kneesup (@Raceweb_UK) and sharing a variety of interviews with those involved in the races here on our blog. 

This week we are delighted to be sharing an interview with the fabulous Francesca Cumani, who discusses how she got into presenting and her love for horses. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog as we have another post coming later this week featuring Alice Whittington, racing secretary to horse trainer Harry Whittington, whose horses are racing at Cheltenham and Iona Montgomery who makes the most marvellous bespoke and ready to wear hats. 

As ITV's racing correspondence, Francesca will be covering the Cheltenham festival. Always a style icon when presenting, she never fails to look glamorous and with a former trainer and breeder as a father is always incredibly insightful with the horses, trainers and the events taking place.    

Have you always loved racing?

100%!  I was very lucky to grow up surrounded by horses in the thick of a thriving racing yard and I loved it from the very start.  My love of racing stems from the love of horses and that has been a really strong constant throughout my life. 

How did you get into presenting?
I had done two trips to Australia for the Melbourne Cup looking after horses trained by my Dad and we came very close with Purple Moon in 2007 coming second.  As the spokesperson for the stable and given the media interest in the foreign runners in the race I found myself doing a good bit of media and soon after came an offer from Channel 7 to be a guest on their coverage the following year.  It was a huge baptism of fire but i loved it!  That led to a job hosting an international racing show called Winning Post on CNN and then to a role with ITV in the UK. 

How have you found lockdown and its challenges?
I am a glass half full person so I have been able to find the positives but then again I have been very lucky by virtue of being able to work and living in the countryside. I have learnt to appreciate the simpler things in life and accumulated half a farmyard!

What has been your favourite outfit while presenting?
I think an outfit from Royal Ascot 2018. It was so good I bought it! It was a vintage top and skirt set from Circa Vintage with an amazing story - made for a diplomats wife in the Middle East in the 1960s. The skirt has the most exquisite embroidery (photographed below). My stylist Sarah Kate Byrne found it and paired it with a bespoke Jane Taylor headband, way before headbands were trendy too! And we have it on good authority that that Duchess of Cambridge spotted me wearing it and commissioned the same for Prince Louis' christening!
Francesca Cumani Vintage Outfit
What are you looking forward to doing after lockdown?
Going to the pub!

What is your favourite racecourse?
I really do love Epsom racecourse.  It is the home of our most famous flat race, the Derby and is almost the antithesis of what you would expect a world class racecourse to be like with its crazy undulations and cambers.  There is so much history to the race and the place and its only a stones throw from central London.

What is your funniest moment while presenting ?
Seemingly the one that a lot of other people found funny was when I was in the parade ring with a bunch of unraced three-year-olds and one rather excitable colt must have liked the smell of my perfume, giving the viewers a bit more than they bargained for!

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