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The LAPADA fairs at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre in the first half of the 1990s were the most successful. After that, wherever they were mounted, they tended to go downhill.

But there is a deal of genuine optimism for the new Cheltenham fixture with its new organiser, Kent prints dealer Ingrid Nilson, who formed The Antique Dealer Fair Ltd to launch this fair. She has done an impressive job in enthusing members, many of whom felt quite jaded about the whole idea of another LAPADA fair.

Ingrid Nilson is among the 65 or so exhibitors who will show at the Cheltenham fair.

It is an impressive list and features most of the good LAPADA dealers from the quality fairs circuit.

Among those signed up are Chevertons, Gladwell, Hallidays, Judy and Brian Harden, Hickmet, Shapiro, Wakelin & Linfield and F.E.Anderson.

The organisers and marketing people are putting a lot of faith in the venue to make the fair a success. The Centaur is a just-opened, striking building, and, to celebrate the racecourse connection, the fair will host a selling exhibition The Art of Racing, with exhibits drawn from the standholders.

A good idea and a welcome change from the usual loan exhibitions which serve no commercial purpose whatsoever.

The well-heeled racing fraternity have been targeted in the run-up to the fair and I am assured there has been a direct mail shot using new mailing lists.

The British Interior Design Association have also been brought in to give the event a contemporary edge.

More effort seems to have been put into this fair than into some past LAPADA events and in Earth Summit, the winner of the 1998 Grand National, the organisers have pulled in the most novel fair opener ever.

The horse will perform the opening ceremony in full Grand National regalia, which is a guaranteed photo-opportunity.

But will all this razzmatazz make people come and actually buy? This has not necessarily been the case at most other middle-range fairs in recent years. I wish Cheltenham good luck, but the organisers do seem to be relying an awful lot on venue and location to break the mould.

If successful, the inclusion of the word "autumn" in the fair's title suggests there could be a second annual staging, which seems to confirm that the association has wisely given up on a London fair.

The LAPADA Autumn Antiques and Fine Art Fair is vetted with no datelines and admission is £10.