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Penshurst TV personality Anneka Svenska wears 1400 rose hat to Royal Ascot to protest horse race deaths

Her outlandish hats regularly turn heads but amidst the pomp and pageantry of this year's Royal Ascot, Anneka Svenska wants to make a serious point.

The Penshurst TV personality and conservationist arrived this morning for the first day of the Berkshire competition clad in headgear featuring more than 1,400 red roses - each representing a horse which has died at British races since 2007. 

The painstakingly hand-painted flowers have been affixed with black velvet to a structure which towers over Ms Svenska's head before cascading 6ft to the ground, making it her largest hat yet. 

Conservationist and TV presenter Anneka Svenska is wearing a hat with more than 1400 roses, each representing a horse which has died at British races since 2007. Picture: Paul Nicholls
Conservationist and TV presenter Anneka Svenska is wearing a hat with more than 1400 roses, each representing a horse which has died at British races since 2007. Picture: Paul Nicholls

The headgear was designed by Louis Mariette, star of Britain's Next Top Model. 

Ms Svenska said: “As a child I dreamed of wearing the largest hat to Ascot, and when I grew up, I made it happen! It was all a bit of fun and I have never bet or supported the actual racing.

Anneka Svenska. Picture: Paul Nicholls
Anneka Svenska. Picture: Paul Nicholls

"Sadly the hedonism of the Royal Ascot event is an intoxicating smoke screen to the reality of the death and suffering behind the sport of horse racing and it's time we sat up, opened our eyes and realised that Royal Ascot is not simply just the glamorous event we perceive it to be."

Ms Svenska is calling for more to be done to improve the safety of race horses, including reducing the average race time, banning the use of horse whipping and an end to National Hunt Racing.

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