The first racegoers through the gates at the Cheltenham Festival this morning – including Zara and Mike Tindall, Matt Hancock and Gina Colangelo and Carol Vorderman – looked decidedly more casual than in previous years, after the annual four-day meet unveiled a new, ‘inclusive’ dress code.
The historic society event, which dates back to the early 19th century, normally coincides with the first flourishes of spring, but spectators heading to the course on the first day were instead greeted with only grey skies and temperatures hovering at around 5 degrees.
Already much more relaxed than its racing peer Royal Ascot, Cheltenham organisers are hoping to encourage a younger crowd to the society event, with jeans and trainers no longer looked down upon, and ‘come dressed to feel your best’ guidance in place.
Indeed, the only sartorial advice offered up by the Festival is to prepare for the weather, asking those attending to bring their brollies and sensible footwear.
Ahead of usually glamorous Ladies Day tomorrow, those arriving for the first day seemingly opted for a ‘snug’ dress code, hiding outfits under warm coats, hats and scarves.
Casual Cheltenham – unless you’re a royal! Zara and Mike Tindall (pictured) didn’t quite opt for the jeans and trainers look
Radiant: Zara cut a stylish figure in a wine-coloured calf-length Karen Millen coat, teamed with a matching hat, and a navy trouser suit and heels
While there was the odd splash of fuchsia or pillarbox-red, many opted for Narnia-esque ensembles – with faux fur and suede proving popular among those making their way to the enclosures ahead of the first races.
Former Countdown star Carol Vorderman looked anything but casual, as she wore a faux fur shrug around her shoulders, opting for a dramatic leather skirt and grey bodice look, over a crisp white shirt – with matching black leather gloves.
Many racegoers also plumped for the trouser suit, in bold patterns including tartans and houndstooth – in a bid to marry style with comfort.
Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, attending with husband Mike, favoured a navy trouser suit, wearing a long wine-coloured wool coat by Karen Millen, which she previously wore for the Princess of Wales’s carol concert in December, over the top of it.
Royal mother-of-three Zara, 41, accessorised her recycled coat with a Juliette Botterill hat in a matching colour.
Anything but casual! Carol Vorderman arriving at Cheltenham Festival this morning. The TV star wore a faux fur shrug around her shoulders, opting for a dramatic leather skirt and grey bodice look, over a crisp white shirt
Casual Matt! Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and partner Gina Colangelo, posed for photos at Cheltenham this afternoon, with the former Tory MP donning a zip up jumper underneath his wool coat, while Miss Colangelo wore a faux fur scarf and grey wraparound wool coat
Georgia Toffolo pictured arriving at the races on Tuesday, the former Made in Chelsea star wore a sturdy pair of knee-high leather boots and a stylish orange military style coat with faux fur sleeves and hood
Looking regal! Princess Anne seen at Cheltenham Festival in a tan coat and patterned scarf
Winter coats weren’t quite yet shrugged off due to the inclement weather, but this quartet of racegoers managed to still look elegant on day one
Thrice as nice! Glamorous racegoers watching the second race of the day, the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase, on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
A splash of fuschia and denim! Spectators arriving on Day One of Cheltenham Festival can this year wear what they like to the historic event, after organisers relaxed its dress code
Four trilbys and a matching bottle of bolly! The champagne tents were busy by mid morning on the first day of the festival
The event’s new ‘inclusive’ dress code tells racegoers they should come ‘dressed to feel your best’ – with this stylish chap, wearing a red coat, hat and gloves, clearly doing just that
And the sun did eventually peek out from behind the clouds: Pictured, a reveller with a drink in hand as the first races began
When it came to headwear, there was a sea of stylish trilby hats coming through the Festival’s doors, with others opting for striking feathered fascinators.
This year’s official dress code, posted on the event’s website, outlines exactly what racegoers should consider when choosing an outfit.
It reads: ‘For some, wearing a nice sweatshirt, pair of jeans and clean trainers is what makes them feel confident and at-ease. For others, they might prefer to turn heads with a sharp suit or glamorous dress and high heels, particularly for one of our big race meetings.
‘But whatever your tastes, the most important thing when choosing your outfit is, of course, comfort and confidence. So wear what feels right for you and will keep you feeling your best from start to finish, whatever the weather.’
Meanwhile, the Cheltenham tipples are already flowing too, with Champagne proving an early breakfast choice for many. With St Patrick’s Day falling on Friday, the Festival has dedicated an entire village to serving up its patriotic drink, with early estimations suggesting some 220,000 pints of Guinness will be imbibed at the event.
The 41-year-old beamed as she arrived for the first day of the races, arm in arm with husband Mike, who, sported a sharp navy suit, matching his tie with his wife’s coat
Zara and Natalie Pinkham, described as Prince Harry’s former ‘confidante and drinking buddy’, held hands as they arrived at Cheltenham Festival on its opening day
Princess Anne’s daughter expressed her hope earlier this month that the King and Queen Consort might attend the Cheltenham Festival this year
Stylish: Princess Anne donned a statement hat and knee-high boots with her coat today
Putting on an animated display: Carol Vorderman (right) in the stands watching the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
Enjoying a day out together! Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and partner Gina Colangelo, pictured at Cheltenham this afternoon
Though with temperatures chilly, plenty opted for snug attire, with suede, faux fur and knee-high boots featuring heavily on Day One
Very Dr Zhivago! A spectator opts for bronze faux fur to keep the bracing winds away
This racegoer wore a show-stopping faux fur coat with matching hat – co-ordinated with tan accessories including knee-high boots, scarf and bag
Boot-iful! One spectator, left, donned long boots, a monochrome checked hotpant suit and a black feathered fascinator, while her companion was in the pink, with candy floss-hued trousers matched with an elegant white coat and jumper
Houndstooth and tartan tailoring – matched with trilby hats – were among the most popular looks on Day One of Cheltenham Festival
Many racegoers plumped for the trouser suit – in bold patterns – on the first day, including this tartan check ensemble. Right: An elegant racegoer arrives wearing thigh-high boots and a skirt suit, alongside a stylish grey coat, with a black trilby and matching scarf
Layers: Shades of champagne, white and taupe made up this cosy-looking ensemble
Cape of warmth; this bespoke-looking outfit featured a historic race print, with faux fur trims around the neck and sleeves
Two spectators arrive early doors for the first day of the event – and go bare-legged despite the inclement weather
There was faux fur galore too, as those attending Day One showed off their sartorial style. Right: A cheering coat added a dash of spring to this lady’s look, with a checked dress with high collar detail matched with brown leather knee-high boots
Style and warmth! This pair of spectators complemented each others’ looks with mirroring brown suede outfits
An autumnal palette was on display, with many choosing outfits that incorporated warm beiges, creams and browns
Left: A military-style coat, chocolate hued boots and a striking feathered burgundy velour hat married style with practicality. Right: A racegoer strikes a pose in a pink trilby and a sharp suit
‘And it would have been nice to have had a runner for the King and the Queen Consort, who were very much looking forward to the prospect of him lining up.’
Earlier this month, it was revealed that King Charles might attend the Cheltenham Festival for the first time in 17 years, to show support for a gelding bred by his mother that was set to run.
However, this week, it was revealed that Steal a March won’t compete in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, which takes place on Thursday.
Trainer Nicky Henderson told the Racing Post: ‘He isn’t going to make it which is sad, very sad. We were hoping to get him to the race because it has been the plan for a while.’
Zara Tindall and TV presenter Natalie Pinkham are pictured at the Cheltenham Festival
Pals: Zara Tindall, Dolly Maude and Natalie Pinkham on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
Beaming! Georgia Toffolo is all smiles as she enjoys the first day of the Cheltenham Festival
All smiles: Carol Vorderman (right) couldn’t help but grin as she watched the races at Cheltenham today
Go on! Carol put on an animated display as she cheered on the horses during a Cheltenham Festival race
Strike a pose! Glamorous racegoers enjoying the sunshine at the Cheltenham Festival
Marine Nationale and jockey Michael O’Sullivan make their way back in through the crowds after winning the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
The late Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall had also hinted this month that the King and Queen Consort Camilla could join spectators at the historic race event, to show enthusiasm for his mother’s favourite sport.
Last year, the late Queen watched Cheltenham at home and, on her Platinum Jubilee weekend, she saw Steal a March win at Worcester, again watching from her Windsor home.
Cheltenham Racecourse director, Ian Renton, said it would ‘be a special moment in the history of the event if the King and Queen’ attended.
King Charles could be keen to show his commitment to continue the Queen’s love of horses; he inherited 37 upon her death on September 8th but decided to sell a number of them a month later, for a sum thought to be around £1million, reported The Sunday Times.
And they’re in! Spectators pour through the gates on Tuesday, as the first day of the Cheltenham Festival kicks off
Steal A March ,pictured at Newbury, the Queen’s much loved gelding won’t compete in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, it was revealed this week
Poignant: The late Queen looking delighted to be watching the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in 2009
Cheltenham Racecourse director, Ian Renton, said it would ‘be a special moment in the history of the event if the King and Queen’ attended Cheltenham this year
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk