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Glamorous racegoers arrive at the second day of the Cheltenham Festival

The rain might have been falling but that wasn’t enough to prevent racegoers from pulling out all the sartorial stops as the second day of the Cheltenham Festival got underway.

Sheltering under umbrellas, attendees arriving at the Gloucestershire racecourse for Ladies Day opted for a dazzling array of dresses, colourful coats and over-the-top headgear.

They were joined by VIPs including the Queen’s eldest granddaughter Zara Tindall, 40, and her husband Mike Tindall, 43.

A highlight of the British racing calendar, the high-spirited event is welcoming punters for the first time since 2020 after the pandemic forced organisers to hold last year’s event behind closed doors. 

The famous festival was one of the last major sporting events to be held with spectators before lockdown in March 2020. It was accused of being a Covid super-spreader event, with a number of famous faces including Andrew Parker Bowles, comedian Lee Mack and footballer Charlie Austin all contracting the virus.

Over the next four days, as many as 250,000 horse racing enthusiasts are set to descend on the course. 

Glamorous female racegoers didn’t let the rainy weather conditions stop them from putting their best fashion foot forward as they arrived for Ladies’ Day

Mike and Zara Tindall share a kiss as they attend the second day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Mike and Zara Tindall share a kiss as they attend the second day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Lovely bubbly! A group of women show off their glasses filled with champagne as they enjoy a drink at the races today

Lovely bubbly! A group of women show off their glasses filled with champagne as they enjoy a drink at the races today 

Sheltering under umbrellas, attendees arriving at the Gloucestershire racecourse opt for a dazzling array of dresses, colourful coats and over-the-top headgear

Sheltering under umbrellas, attendees arriving at the Gloucestershire racecourse opt for a dazzling array of dresses, colourful coats and over-the-top headgear

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lystra Adams showcases her very glitzy nails as she arrives at day two of the Cheltenham Festival

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star Lystra Adams showcases her very glitzy nails as she arrives at day two of the Cheltenham Festival

Luckily, most revellers had come prepared with umbrellas, turning the racecourse into a sea of bright colour as the brollies were unfurled.

Beneath them were racegoers dressed in an array of colourful ensembles, with some braving the downpour in bare legs and high heels while trying desperately to keep their elaborate outfits dry.

Despite the downpours, most of the men and women arriving for the second day of racing action managed to look cheerful. And not to be outdone, men also put their best fashion foot forward in stylish suits. 

Unsurprisingly, hats were the focus of many female racegoers’ outfits, with flowers, feathers and beading on display at the racecourse. 

In a nod to the previously sunny weather, many donned frocks in vibrant hues of pinks and yellows, while some opted for softer floral patterns. 

It comes after the Duchess of Cornwall cancelled her visit to the Cheltenham Festival – the second time she has missed an event this week.

Forget umbrellas! Some racegoers relied on their hats and coats to keep themselves dry during the second day of racing action

That's one option: A woman used her coat to keep her locks dry

Forget umbrellas! Some racegoers relied on their hats and coats to keep themselves dry during the second day of racing action

Here come the boys! A group of men all wearing a similar outfit of navy trousers and check shirts arrive at the festival

Here come the boys! A group of men all wearing a similar outfit of navy trousers and check shirts arrive at the festival

Wrapping up warm: Not every racegoer opted for a flimsy get up, with some choosing to stay warm and dry instead thanks to coats and umbrellas

Prepared: A woman arrives with an umbrella and a coat to combat the chilly weather

Wrapping up warm: Not every racegoer opted for a flimsy get up, with some choosing to stay warm and dry instead thanks to coats and umbrellas

Fur and prints! These friends made sure their outfits complemented one another by sporting similar prints and boots

Fur and prints! These friends made sure their outfits complemented one another by sporting similar prints and boots

Double trouble! These two friends were all smiles when attending the festival

Not put off: It might have been raining but that didn't stop many racegoers from ramping up the glamour for the outing

Not put off: It might have been raining but that didn’t stop many racegoers from ramping up the glamour for the outing

Having fun! Despite the downpours, most of the men and women arriving for the second day of racing action managed to look cheerful

Having fun! Despite the downpours, most of the men and women arriving for the second day of racing action managed to look cheerful

Camilla has recently recovered from a bout of Covid but has been left with a slight cough and it is understood she is pacing herself after her illness.

The duchess was due to spend the day at the races and present the trophy to the winning owner, jockey and trainer of the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase.

On Tuesday she visited the Irish Cultural Centre in west London with the Prince of Wales ahead of St Patrick’s Day – but she cancelled an appearance at an evening event on Monday, when she was due to meet High Commissioners and Commonwealth Secretariat staff with Charles. 

They both attended the Commonwealth Day service earlier in the day.

Taking cover! One racegoer used her stylish pink blazer to cover her blonde locks when walking around the festival today

Taking cover! One racegoer used her stylish pink blazer to cover her blonde locks when walking around the festival today

Good spirits: Cheery racegoers, dressed in similar ensembles, didn't let the drizzly day dampen their enjoyment of the outing

Good spirits: Cheery racegoers, dressed in similar ensembles, didn’t let the drizzly day dampen their enjoyment of the outing

Luckily, most revellers had come prepared with umbrellas, turning the racecourse into a sea of different colours as the brollies were unfurled

Luckily, most revellers had come prepared with umbrellas, turning the racecourse into a sea of different colours as the brollies were unfurled

Clarence House confirmed the duchess would not be attending the Cheltenham Festival but declined to comment further.

Last week, the duchess revealed she has been left with a slight cough in the aftermath of the virus.

When she met a group of record-breaking charity rowers at Clarence House, she told them: ‘Well, it’s taken me three weeks and I still can’t get shot of it. Probably my voice might suddenly go and I might start coughing and spluttering.’

Raining on their parade! Cheltenham punters accuse organisers of ‘daylight robbery’ after being charged £7 for a pint of Guinness and £14 for a Gin and Tonic as 72,000 fans brave downpours for second day of horse racing festival 

By Jack Wright for MailOnline 

Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees.

Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic.

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65.

Punters have now accused organisers of ‘daylight robbery’ over the sums – numbers likely to fuel despair among revellers who will hope to win big if they want to enjoy a couple of drinks.

This morning, horse racing enthusiasts queued in the rain to get inside, with 250,000 fans set to descend on the track over the course of the four-day festival in a return to pre-Covid normality.

A Cheltenham Racecourse spokesperson said: ‘We work hard to absorb inflationary costs wherever we can. However, current inflation rises in relation to goods and labour have led to an increase in prices for some of the items we serve.

Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees

Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65

Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic

Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic

‘Despite this our prices are comparable to other major events, with all our profits reinvested back into British Horseracing.’

Why was Cheltenham Festival 2020 accused of being a super-spreader event? 

The Cheltenham Festival was given the green light to open to fans in March 2020 despite calls to postpone the event due to the emergence of Covid-19.

At the time Italy was already in lockdown, while mass gatherings were banned in England three days later.

More than 60,000 fans a day were packed into the stands, bars, toilets and queues for the food vans with little protection apart from some hand sanitiser stations dotted around the racetrack. 

Meanwhile, one fan claimed fans were ‘packed in like sardines’ during the four day festival. 

While organisers stressed the event followed guidelines at the time, the festival came in for criticism, including from Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, who said it was ‘the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus’.

A report by MPs later linked 41 Covid deaths to Cheltenham, and a further 37 to the decision to stage Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid in March 2020.

MPs said that it was not clear if the deaths were a direct result of being at the events themselves, or whether they came from associated activities like travelling or people congregating in pubs.

Cheltenham was one of the last major sporting events to be held with spectators before the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

With the country under tight Covid restrictions, last year’s event was held behind closed doors. 

And so there has been much anticipation for this year’s four-day festival – the first to be held in front of fans in two years.

The festival, first run in 1860, has grown to become the biggest four days of the jumps season.

Held at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, the event regularly welcomes more than 250,000 people each year. 

It features a series of ‘Championship’ races, which decide who are the best horses of the year.

The main races are the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, the Champion Chase on Wednesday, Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

Despite rising Covid cases in March 2020, and calls to cancel the festival, the event was given to the green-light to go-ahead.

At the time Italy was already in lockdown, while mass gatherings were banned in England three days later.

More than 60,000 fans a day were packed into the stands, bars, toilets and queues for the food vans with little protection apart from some hand sanitiser stations dotted around the racetrack.

Meanwhile, one fan claimed fans were ‘packed in like sardines’ during the four day festival.

While organisers stressed the event followed guidelines at the time, the festival came in for criticism, including from Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, who said it was ‘the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus’.

A report by MPs later linked 41 Covid deaths to Cheltenham, and a further 37 to the decision to stage Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid in March 2020.

MPs said that it was not clear if the deaths were a direct result of being at the events themselves, or whether they came from associated activities like travelling or people congregating in pubs.

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