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By CHRIS MCGRATH I t is the languorous, leisurely loosening of at the end of July, has always signalled a change in a collective collar; the perfect sequel to scene and tone alike. all the starched formality of Royal Ascot. Here you see the cream linen suit, the panama hat, And, for many, it is the most perfect English meeting the floral summer frock. Many patrons still proceed of all. Where else could setting, history and sport com- the following week to Cowes for the regatta on the bine quite so eligibly for the prefix ever cemented to Solent – the stretch of water dividing the Isle of Wight “Glorious” Goodwood? from the mainland; its glister beckoning racegoers as For all their suburban fringes of woodland and heath, they gaze across the parade ring at Goodwood. The dis- the atmosphere at the two great meetings of the pre- persal of high society thereafter, likewise, still echoes vious month is metropolitan, in the case of Epsom, and through the racing calendar, with the Ebor meeting at cosmopolitan, at Ascot. To this day, with gentlemen York in August and the St Leger at Doncaster in Sep- trussed in top hat and tails, both evoke their ancestral tember each convenient for shooting parties on the role in the London “season” of debutantes and balls. northern moors. But Goodwood, a five-day retreat to the Sussex coast It was the future King Edward VII, that stickler for 17