The first racegoers through the gates at the Cheltenham Festival this morning 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, 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 on Tuesday seemingly opted for a ‘snug’ dress code, hiding outfits under coats, hats and scarves. 

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

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

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.

Many racegoers also plumped for the trouser suit, in bold patterns including tartans and houndstooth – in a bid to marry style with comfort. 

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. Here’s some other useful tips and advice for making sure your time with us is as memorable as possible.’

Though with temperatures chilly, plenty opted for snug attire, with suede, faux fur and knee-high boots featuring heavily on Day One

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

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

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

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

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.

An elegant racegoer arrives wearing thigh-high boots and a skirt suit, alongside a stylish grey coat, with a black trilby and matching scarf

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

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

Cape of warmth; this bespoke-looking outfit featured a historic race print, with faux fur trims around the neck and sleeves

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.

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.

Two spectators arrive early doors for the first day of the event - and go bare-legged despite the inclement weather

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

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

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

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

An autumnal palette was on display, with many choosing outfits that incorporated warm beiges, creams and browns 

A military-style coat, chocolate hued boots and a striking feathered burgundy velour hat married style with practicality

A racegoer strikes a pose in a pink trilby and a sharp suit

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.’

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.

And they're in! Spectators pour through the gates on Tuesday, as the first day of the Cheltenham Festival kicks off

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

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

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

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

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, reports The Sunday Times.



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