The Jockey Club and sponsor-partner Sa Sa deserve some big bouquets for what they have done with the Ladies' Purse meeting in recent years. The Ladies' Purse predates the Jockey Club itself. It was first run in 1848, some 36 years before the year the club recognises as its own starting point, and has floated around the calendar in various guises, over different distances and for different sets of horses. We don't know who chased who or which partner - the club or Sa Sa - came up with the once-a-year ladies' day theme, but it has been a winner all around world racing. Until Sa Sa appeared, the Ladies' Purse was a decent race, but just a horse race, and both organisations are now reaping the reward of embracing the proven theme so enthusiastically. Once upon a time, any reference at Sha Tin to a fascinator had to be about a tricky protest or an intriguing race, but last Sunday the fascinators festooned foreheads and the ladies donned their flashiest, shiny best and the models stared and flared nostrils and pranced among the horses. For once, best dressed didn't only mean first in. And all despite a gloomy forecast that promised potential ruination for those new shoes. Only the Lunar New Year meeting will see more racegoers this season than the 80,000 last weekend and the Sa Sa day has bloomed into an event with its own special identity. Yes, there had been big crowds at Ladies' Purse day before, but often because it shared the billing with the Sha Tin Trophy or other assorted top-grade contests. Now the afternoon has a special annual niche. The accent of the day could not be said to have impacted negatively on the Jockey Club's core business either, with a satisfactory result on betting turnover. One less race, no Triple Trio seeding and HK$30 million down in turnover looks pretty good - backing up the club's argument against regular 11-race programmes that says the extra race doesn't stack up against the average betting per race. There is probably only room for one ladies' day a season, giving an opportunity to put all the emphasis on getting that one right. But there must be room for one or two other race days looking for a little imagination and a unique theme to spark them into life, too.