A CONSERVATIONIST made history by wearing the largest hat to Royal Ascot to campaign against horse deaths in racing.

Wildlife presenter Anneka Svenska wore the largest hat in the racing event's history yesterday.

On the first day of the annual race Ms Svenska, who used to live in Brighton, arrived in a hat made by milliner Louis Mariette covered in hundreds of red roses to signify more than 1,400 horse deaths at the races since 2007, according to figures released by Horse Death Watch.

It towers at 1ft above the head and reaches down to the neck, cascading to the ground for more than 6ft. It is hand stitched in black velvet and topped with individually hand painted flowers.

She wore the hat to call for an improvement to welfare standards for race horses and cut the death rates.

She said: "As a child I innocently dreamed of wearing the largest hat to Ascot and when I grew up, it happened. While wearing previous hats, I have never placed a bet, supported the actual racing or even gone down to the track, however I decided last year to refrain from attending Ascot at all, as I felt it was ethically wrong, especially as I work with animals. This year I have decided to return to use the large amount of publicity I receive in order to raise standards for horses at tracks all over the UK and do some good."