Royal Ascot rides up again to help fund Olympians

At the Races, Royal Ascot Style, an event held every four years to raise money for Cayman Islands Olympic athletes, returns next month.

The athletes, focusing on major tournaments culminating in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, likely include sprint hurdler Ronald Forbes, sprinter Kemar Hyman, swimming brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser, and boxers Tafari and Kendall Ebanks.

Organized by a fundraising team, At the Races, Royal Ascot Style, is set for May 30, from 7 p.m., at Luca restaurant on West Bay Road. It replicates the annual horse racing week in the United Kingdom in June.

Produced with similar creativity and style of the highly successful “Project Runway,” “Rolling the Dice at Caesars Palace,” and the previous Royal Ascot three years ago, the event promises be most enjoyable, according to the fundraising committee.

A champagne reception will be followed by a sumptuous meal, and throughout the evening there will be superb wines and champagne, cigar rolling, a rum bar and entertainment, all designed to create a lively and entertaining atmosphere for guests, organizers say.

Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with some of the look-alike celebrities and creative artists. “Celebrities” performing during the evening are Willie Nelson, (Papi Connolly), Ray Charles (Larry Cayasso), Johnny Cash (Roy McTaggart), Frank Sinatra (Naul Bodden) and a Paul McCartney imitator.

At the previous event, Rod Stewart, aka chef Keith Griffith, was the top “celebrity” attraction. Guests hilariously dressed as jockeys included Bill Fleury.

A live auction will be held after dinner. Some of the auction items include a weekend for four at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas and a day trip to the 12 Mile Bank on board the Lagoon 440 Catamaran, captained by Alan Roffey.

Another item on auction is a dinner party for 10 at a private residence at the newly completed WaterColours residences, cooked by three local celebrity chefs. There are also two tickets for the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.

For racing aficionados, the highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Ascot Cup, presented to the winner after the night’s electronic horse races have ended.

The attire for the evening is top hats and tails for men, and hats and fascinators for women, or simply smart casual. However, the couple wearing the most unique and authentic attire will win a prize, and there will be a prize for the evening’s best-dressed lady and best-dressed gentleman. Additional entertainment will be provided by the European group, One World.

“With the amazing support of so many, we are quite certain that this time around this event will be even more successful than our first Royal Ascot,” said fundraising chairwoman Betty Baraud.

“However, the success of any fundraising event is dependent on the support of the community at large, and we invite all to come out, have fun and generously support the cause.

“In supporting the event, you will ultimately be supporting our athletes, as they strive to reach their personal best and the opportunity to represent Cayman in 2016.

“We urge the private sector to continue its efforts in assisting our athletes with the resources to achieve their dream, to go faster, higher, stronger,” she said.

For ticket information, contact the Cayman Islands Olympic Office at 946-6984.