Brave racegoers battled gale force winds and driving rain as they arrived at Cheltenham race course today for the first day of the annual festival.
As Storm Gareth continued to batter the UK umbrellas were the number one accessory, while some ladies resorted to strapping plastic bags on their feet to protect their shoes from the elements.
Day two of the festival is currently under threat of postponement amid forecasts of 50mph winds – and it could be extended to Saturday. Strong winds caused the cancellation of the festival’s second day in 2008.
Espoir D’Allen, rode by jockey Mark Walsh, defied the odds to beat favourite and two-time winner Buveur D’Air to take gold in the Champion Hurdle, today’s showpiece race.
A racegoer (left) opted for a wide-brimmed hat over an umbrella and appeared to be sharing a selfie as she sipped on white wine while two ladies smiled for photographers in between races on day one of the competition
Racegoer Jennifer Weynne, from Leitrim, looked stunning in an off-white floral embroidered dress with gold trimmings and an unusual matching hat
This brave racegoer (left) didn’t let the grey skies dampen her mood, with a bold cropped lace top and skirt combo which left little to the imagination. Meanwhile another stylish visitor sported a short grey check dress with cape sleeves and matching military-style cap
As the gale force winds took hold, one fan clutches hold of her fur jacket and holds it above her head to protect her mane while another uses her handbag
Cheltenham regulars Mike and Zara Tindall shared an umbrella as they arrived for the festivities, with Zara sporting a chic navy button-down coat and over-the-knee black boots
Zara dressed up for the occasion with a striking bespoke teal cocktail hat by London milliner Juliette Botterill, while husband Mike opted for a Peaky Blinders-style flat cap
Not letting the damp weather rain on their parade, many female racegoers defied the elements in fringed outfits and daring hemlines.
Cheltenham regulars Zara and Mike Tindall arrived arm in arm at the event, sharing a brolly as they entered Prestbury Park.
Zara sported a chic tweed and velvet coat from Guinea London, over-the-knee black boots and a striking bespoke teal cocktail hat by London milliner Juliette Botterill.
Meanwhile her husband kept it casual with jeans, a Peaky Blinders-style flat cap and smart brown leather shoes.
Princess Anne (pictured) was at the second day of the Cheltenham Festival with friends and seemed excited about the races
Carol Voderman was one of the first celebrities to arrive at rain-soaked Cheltenham this morning for the opening day of the race festival
Carol Vorderman was also among the first celebrities to arrive at the event, which is the first race festival of the Spring calendar.
She looked chic in a fur-lined cream suede jacket with flared sleeves and a figure-hugging emerald green dress.
Carol completed the look with a fedora hat with a brown leather trim.
A double win for racehorse trainer Willie Mullins…
Jockeys had been out to experience the chillingly cold Cotswold conditions on Monday but got a shock on Tuesday when they awoke to a saturated course.
Klassical Dream provided Willie Mullins with a record sixth victory in the first race of the day – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – going over the last three lengths clear.
It is 24 years since the winning-most trainer in Festival history first landed the traditional curtain-raiser with Tourist Attraction (1995), since when he has struck gold with Ebaziyan (2007), Champagne Fever (2013), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015).
This year Mullins fired a twin assault, with 6-1 shot Klassical Dream renewing rivalry with stablemate Aramon after the pair fought out the finish of a Grade One at Leopardstown last month.
The second race, the Arkle Challenge Trophy, was another win for Mullins, with jockey Paul Townend and horse Duc des Genievres romping home in first place.
The Ultima Handicap Chase was won by Beware The Bear, rode by Jeremaih McGrath.
Espoir D’Allen beat favourite Buveur D’Air to take gold in the Champion Hurdle. Jockey Mark Walsh told ITV Racing: ‘It’s unbelievable, I just travelled everywhere, I was delighted when I saw the rain this morning, I’m gob-smacked.’
Trainer Willie Mullins (left) poses with his trophy after Klassical Dream won the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, while jockey Paul Townend, pictured right on Duc Des Genievres, celebrates winning the 2:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
One fashion fan wrapped up for the occasion in top-to-toe tartan, clutching her trusty umbrella as she entered the course, while another made sure hers matched her outfit
One racegoer didn’t want to take any chances when it came to ruining her footwear, wrapping her heeled boots in plastic bags to protect them from the rain
So much for the ‘lifetime ban’…
Glamour model Katie Salmon flouted her ‘lifetime ban’ as she returned to Cheltenham this year after famously flashing her boobs at photographers from a hospitality box in 2016.
She was issued a ban from the event after baring her chest along with fellow reality TV star pal Jessica Hayes, 24, while sipping champagne.
Later that year Katie went on to star on ITV2’s Love Island, where she struck up a romance with Sophie Gradon and later Adam Maxted.
Katie didn’t seem to be worried about getting caught at the race track as she donned an eye-catching, underboob-baring orange co-ord whilst posing for pictures at the event.
She teamed the garment with a matching mini skirt with a peplum hem, whilst heeled sock boots boosted her petite frame.
Hinting that she would be on her best behaviour this year, she tweeted: ‘Cheltenham is back. And so am I’, alongside three angel emojis.
Following boozy antics at 2016’s meet, strict rules were brought in to curb binge drinking, with thirsty punters now only allowed to buy four alcoholic drinks at a time.
Page Three girl Katie Salmon, 23, from Liverpool, bared her breasts while standing on a balcony and sipping Champagne at the racecourse in 2016 – and seems keen to make an entrance with this underboob-baring orange co-ord
Love Island’s Chris Hughes looked sharp in a three-piece grey pinstripe suit as he arrived with mum Brenda, while Jamie Redknapp sheltered from the rain under a brolly with a friend as he watched the races
Visitors used scarves to shield themselves from the wrath of Storm Gareth, which is currently sweeping the UK, while many clung to their brollies
This pair of revellers (left) sported matching white jeans and knee-high boots while Jade Holland Cooper (right), wife of Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton, went for a monochrome look with a Holland Cooper Houndstooth Knightsbridge coat, matching Baker Boy hat and black roll neck – but their saviour accessories were definitely their brollies
Visitors sipped on champagne as they watched the early afternoon Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Challenge Trophy races
I’m A Celeb star Nick Knowles also got in on the coat above the head action, protecting his stylish waistcoat with a tweed jacket, while Dancing on Ice star Brian McFadden found time to strike a pose between rain showers
A wet welcome! Racegoers shelter from the rain as they wait for the gates to the race course to open this morning
Sharing’s caring! This well-prepared pair (left) came equipped with a large polka dot brolly to keep them dry as they arrived, while another (right) took shelter in the collars of her coat
One guest opted for a short leopard-print frock and stiletto ankle boots while another donned a chic long tweed coat to the Gloucestershire countryside event, teamed with trendy red cropped trousers, a black roll neck top and shiny black ankle boots
Somewhere over the rainbow… This reveller was clearly keen to brighten up the rainy atmosphere with a technicolour suit and eye-catching yellow boots