Green shoots were visible in Newbury on Saturday for the 57th Hennessy Gold Cup. While brandy cocktails warmed the punters in the Fred Winter Suite, Rob Brydon and Martin Clunes chatted up Joan Collins, who, despite being the most famous person in the room, was wearing a name badge. Myleene Klass displayed a lack of class when posing for a photograph with Princess Anne. And Tinie Tempah might want to have a word with his tailor: the rapper’s trousers were cut off half way up his shin and he must have been freezing without any socks on.

Mr Steerpike feared that he might have had one too many nips of the Paradis Imperial when he saw the diarist from the Times singing a duet of Memory with Elaine Paige. But I’m reliably informed that this actually happened.

Yet what really piqued Mr S’s interest was a fascinating chat with Guy Doulden of Coe Vintners. Guy says that champagne sales are up 17 per cent on the year. With evidence like that, why wait until Thursday’s Autumn Statement for George Osborne to tell us that there is light at the end of the tunnel?

Hennessy Gold Cup, Newbury Racecourse, Britain - 30 Nov 2013

Tags: Alcohol, Media, races, Sport