The Grand National is almost upon us – and every year it’s good fun to witness the fashion faux-pas perpetrated by people who get National Hunt and flat racing fashion all jumbled up.
So here’s the drill; National Hunt (i.e. jumps and hurdle races) meetings are all about tweeds, headscarves and understated country elegance. What they aren’t about is heavy make-up, floral dresses, wide-brimmed hats and bright, loud colours (or, for the men, morning suits and toppers) – this is more of a flat racing thing which happens in the warmer months, on the whole.
Each style has its own appeal, but it’s best to get it right to avoid embarrassment. But that won’t bother the tens of thousands of ladies turning up at Liverpool next week to have a great day out and enjoy a small bet on the Grand National – and what’s wrong with that?
But if you’re looking to go to the races for a more glamorous day out, wait until the summer months. A day at the races can be great – particularly during the May-September period.
Some flat race meetings are well-known fashion events – like Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. But most courses which have flat racing also have Ladies’ Evenings and mid summer meetings where a more glamorous look is very de-rigueur if the sun is shining. Have a look at a guide to UK racecourses, to find your nearest course.
In the North West, Haydock Park is halfway between Manchester and Liverpool and this course hosts numerous summer evening meetings, for example. Similarly, if you’re in or around the London area, then Windsor hosts many summer evening meetings.
Of course, all the flat racing courses host afternoon racing during the summer months and this is definitely the time for wide-brimmed hats to come out – along with all the other traditional racing regalia in fashion terms like floral dresses etc. It’s also great to enjoy a little bubbly and strawberries – and you’ll soon get into the swing of things.
Just be sure to not to bet when you’ve enjoyed a glass or two! It’s better to have a flutter before you even go to the races – to then shout on your selection (politely – remember the scene in “My Fair Lady”?).
With the exchange Betfair, you can make your choices before you go – then relax and enjoy the races. Also, with Betfair, the odds are generally better as there’s no traditional bookmaker involved.
But as well as your horse choices – be sure to get the fashion choices right too. “Horses for courses” as they say…