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Hat stuff at Royal Ascot!

By David Mercer

You have to take your hat off to someone who still loves a flutter aged 99 - and that is just what Tony McCoy did yesterday.

The record-breaking champion jockey may have retired, but he couldn't stay away from the first day of this year's Royal Ascot.

McCoy met with 99-year-old Dora Franklin, from Birmingham, who turns 100 next week and is believed to be the country's oldest female punter. She even places small bets on an iPad.

Some 300,000 people are expected at the world-famous annual meet, where the Queen arrives each day by horse-drawn carriage.

Attracting some of the best thoroughbreds, jockeys and trainers in the world, Ascot is known for its display of flamboyant hats, with the most extravagant creations making an appearance on Ladies' Day on Thursday.

Wearing a fuchsia and cerise-coloured outfit, the Queen arrived with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Harry and the Duke of York. The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Beatrice followed in the second carriage, while the Princess Royal rode in the third carriage.

She said: "I know the thrill that participation as a racehorse owner brings, and I wish all those with runners the very best of luck."

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