Veteran racehorse Morestead turned heads when he stepped out in the dapper new threads to launch one of racing’s biggest events.
The 11-year-old thoroughbred seemed unfazed as he modelled the unconventional garb, complete with collar and tie and matching flat cap.
Champion jockey Sir Tony McCoy donned a more traditional version of the tweed suit as the pair posed for pictures ahead of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Morestead’s suit was the idea of Alexander McQueen apprentice Emma Sandham-King, who was commissioned by bookmaker William Hill to create a stylish ensemble to celebrate the four-day racing event.
The designer and her team spent four weeks crafting the clothing, using more than 18 metres of hand-woven tweed shipped from Harris.
The completed outfit, which features a houndstooth design originating in the Scottish lowlands, required ten times as much of the wool fabric as a similar human suit.
Though it is perhaps unlikely that an equine Savile Row will spring up any time soon, the racing set play an important part in supporting the traditional Hebridean craft. Estimates suggest that the quantity of tweed worn at Cheltenham each year would stretch from the racecourse to Ireland.
And this year is likely to see more than ever, after the iconic fabric graced catwalks during fashion weeks in New York, Paris and London.
“Creating the world’s first tweed suit for a horse has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career,” said Ms Sandham-King. “We have used 18 metres of genuine Harris Tweed to create the head-turning fashion garment.
“Some models can be real divas, but Morestead was calm and a real pleasure to work with.
“Tweed is undergoing a massive revival, and this year’s Cheltenham Festival will see the most tweed worn since the 1960s.”
Former UK trade minister Brian Wilson is chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, which counts Alexander McQueen, Chanel, YSL and Vivienne Westwood among its clients around the world.
He said: “This confirms there are neigh limits to the potential uses of Harris Tweed.
“We now have a stable industry that will continue to clear all hurdles and romp home with style.”