Photo: Maureen McLean/Shutterstock
For more than two centuries it has been a permanent part of the rich horse racing heritage. But the Jockey Club, which owns 15 of Britain’s biggest tracks, has scrapped its formal dress code as part of a push to make the sport more “accessible and inclusive”.
The move means that with immediate effect race-goers will be free to wear whatever they like in all enclosures at Jockey Club circuits, including Cheltenham, Aintree, Newmarket, Epsom and Sandown.
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In the past, Byzantine race rules required men to wear jackets in certain areas, even during a heat wave, with jeans and shorts often frowned upon. Last year on bet365 Gold Cup day, two racegoers were initially refused entry to Sandown’s most expensive residence because they were wearing trainers.
The policy change was announced by Jockey Club CEO Nevin Truesdale, who said he hoped it would attract more people to the sport.
“Horse racing has always been a sport enjoyed by people from all different backgrounds and it is very important for us to be accessible and inclusive,” he said. “We hope that by no longer expecting people to know what to wear and what not to wear, we can emphasize that racing really is for everyone.
The only exceptions to the new policy at any of the 342 competitions hosted by the Jockey Club are offensive costumes, offensive clothing of any kind, and replica sports jerseys. The Queen Elizabeth II Stand at Epsom will also require either morning dress or formal day dress on Derby Day.
Courses not run by the Jockey Club, such as Ascot, continue to set their own rules.
Southwell 1.20 Peachey Carnehan 1.50 My Genghis 2.20 Sugar Hill Babe 2.50 Owens Lad 3.25 Evania (nb) 4.00 How Bizarre 4.35 Harry With Style 5.05 Ghostly
Wincanton 1.30 Fame And Fun 2.00 Celtic Art 2.30 Midnight Midge 3.00 Butterwick Brook 3.35 Ilovethenightlife 4.10 Famous Clermont 4.45 Goodtimecrew
Fakenham 1.40 Secret Trix 2.10 Ben Buie 2.40 Brianna Rose 3.15 Jaramillo 3.50 Bolsover Bill 4.25 Small Bad Bob
Chelmsford 5.30 Homer Stokes 6.00 Voltaic 6.30 Furnicoe 7.00 Dusky Prince (nap) 7.30 Shine Honey Shine 8.00 Storm Catcher 8.30 Miss Sligo
“We believe that people enjoy themselves best when they feel relaxed,” said Truesdale. “A big part of that is wearing clothes you feel comfortable in. As we examined this part of the race day experience, it became clear to us that enforcing a dress code in the 21st century seems rather outdated in the eyes of many of our racegoers.
“Of course that doesn’t mean we’re discouraging people from dressing up for a day at the races if they want to,” he added. “This is about giving people a choice and the opportunity to come and race dressed in the way they feel most comfortable and confident, while also taking into account the challenges that British weather regularly brings.”