Aintree runners dress to impress despite relaxed rules

Racegoers dressed best for Aintree Ladies Day despite the removal of its formal dress code.

Arriving on Friday for day two of the Randox Grand National Festival, punters showed no signs of leaving the glamor at home.

Racegoers on colorful hats

The dress code was relaxed for Ladies’ Day this year, but many people have kept up the tradition of wearing colorful hats and fascinators (David Davies for The Jockey Club/PA)

Many wore fascinators, high heels and brightly colored dresses but arrived equipped with umbrellas and coats as the rain started falling on the famed racecourse soon after the gates opened.

The annual event is known for its style, but this year The Jockey Club, which runs Merseyside Racecourse, announced it would remove the dress code as part of a campaign to make horse racing ‘accessible and inclusive”.

Announcing the change across all of its 15 racecourses in February, Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale said it’s for everyone.

Gill Carpenter, 56, of Lydiate, made her blue-and-white speckled one-shoulder gown herself and created a charming out of the same material.

She said: “I always go all out for Women’s Day.

“I don’t like to say it’s a mistake to loosen the dress code, but people are dying to get dressed and there aren’t enough opportunities to do so.

“I think it’s a sign of respect for the jockeys. It’s important to keep up the tradition and there’s no better place to do that than Liverpool – these girls won’t notice!”

Ladies day at Aintree

Spectators pose for a photograph with a guard and wolfhound in the Red Rum Garden (Peter Byrne/PA)

Rachel Oates, 51, of Andover, wore a red fascinator she made herself with a black and white speckled dress.

She said, “Everyone wants to dress well and look forward to the day.”

His partner Darren Ellis, 51, wearing a plaid three-piece suit, added: ‘I’m a mechanic for a living, so I like to get washed to come here.

“I don’t want to show up in a T-shirt and jeans.”

Randox Grand National Festival 2023 – Ladies Day – Aintree Racecourse

Evie Illes and Marcos Perez arrive in Aintree for Ladies Day (Tim Goode/PA)

Evie Illes, 20, of Manchester, wore a yellow dress with a green train and multicolored sash designed by Marcos Perez, 49, who accompanied her to the races.

She said, “I feel great in this dress, it’s amazing.”

Mr. Perez added, “Ladies Day is a chance for everyone to showcase their designs and creations and it’s very trendy.”

Charlotte Graham, 38, of Lytham, Lancashire, paired her green dress with a shrug made from real flowers.

Ladies day at Aintree

Many spectators decided to continue with sartorial traditions on Ladies Day (David Davies for the Jockey Club/PA)

She said, “It’s a small extension of a floral print!”

Ms Graham said the accessory would likely be ‘in the bin’ by the end of the day, adding: ‘No it’s not comfortable but my mother always said you have to suffer to be beautiful!

“I own a bridal shop and it was taken to a florist for a photo shoot, so I was like, ‘I need this in my life.’

“I love style on Ladies Day, I love all the colours. Hope easing the dress code doesn’t make a difference.

Randox Grand National Festival 2023 – Ladies Day – Aintree Racecourse

Gemma Slater, Charlotte Graham and Amanda Warnock pose for a photograph on day two of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Her friend Amanda Warnock, 36, wearing a light blue and white dress with puffed sleeves, said: ‘I think it’s a good thing they’ve dropped the dress code, but I don’t think you’d come here in a sweater and leggings.

“Part of the fun is getting dressed.”

The race meeting will culminate on Saturday when the famous Grand National steeplechase takes place.

This year, Animal Rising activists have threatened to shut down the race and plan to meet at the racetrack on Saturday morning.

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