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Fun & Fashion at the Cheltenham Festival

By on December 19, 2014

Horse racing and eventing fans benefit from something very few other sports can truthfully claim: there is no real off-season. However, while there are professional racing events that happen during the winter, the next couple of months will bring about at a slight decline in the interest that is paid to the sport. This means that the next big events on the horse racing schedule will start to occur in the spring. Among these, the Cheltenham Festival in England is in many ways a starting point for the year to come.

For starters, the Cheltenham Festival is one of the best celebrations in racing because of its length and the balanced quality of its race day schedules. At many similar events (such as the Grand National a month later in Aintree), everything is a sideshow compared to the main event on the final day. Yet, while Cheltenham does have its own Gold Cup event, it is also designed in such a way that each day has a main event, which helps to keep the action engaging throughout. This sort of scheduling over a four-day period makes for one of the most unique and enjoyable events on the world racing calendar.

It also makes for a very busy, and thus entertaining, betting scene. Any major horse racing festival will be alive with betting activity, but with four full days of racing and four “main events,” so to speak, Cheltenham can thrill even casual fans who want to place a few light bets here and there. Beyond a chance at winning money, race betting also offers a good excuse to learn a little bit about the various competitors and odds. It’s a little early right now to be seeing much more than straight betting odds for the Cheltenham races, but in the coming months you’ll be able to view Cheltenham tips here to get a feel for the various horses expected to do well. Then, if you feel so inclined, you can be ready to make a bet or two if you attend the races (or simply track them from abroad).

Perhaps even more than the general festivity of a four-day event or the excitement brought on by a busy betting scene, it’s the fashion of the race-goers that gives Cheltenham its flavour. As is the case with many major races, spectators take the opportunity to have some fun. They try out different outfits while experimenting with gaudy and amusing, but somehow stylish, looks that are popularly associated with horse racing culture. But on Ladies Day at Cheltenham (the second day of the festival), race day fashion is taken to a whole new level. You can click here for a beautiful look at some of the photos and styles that stood out from 2014’s Ladies Day, but here are a few general tips for fashion at the festival based on past years.

  • There Are No Colour Restrictions – Sometimes people dress for the season when it comes to colour, but at Cheltenham that won’t be necessary. To begin with, the event takes place in mid-March, placing it almost between seasons anyway. Besides that, spectators in the past have come in all manner of colours, some electing to take a rustic approach and others bursting with the bright colours of summer. The idea is expression.
  • Oversized Hats Are Still Key – Oversized hats are often associated with horse racing culture, and nothing has changed in this regard. If there’s one thing you do to prepare for Cheltenham fashion, you may want to make it about selecting the perfect hat for the occasion!
  • Wear Florals & Feathers – Mind you, this doesn’t mean floral and feather patterns; it means literally wear flowers and feathers! Whether it’s a feathered ornament on your oversized hat, a brooch that resembles a flower, or even some manner of corsage, this is a popular way to accessorize for the festival.
  • Consider Fur Linings – One dilemma that spectators sometimes face at Cheltenham is wanting to go with light, bright clothing but needing to dress for cooler weather. This may change year to year, but one way around the problem is to look for accessories, light jackets, or even scarves with fur linings. It’s simply a nice, fashionable, and noticeable way to stay warm without changing your whole outfit as if you were dressing for winter.

Follow those tips and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the festival!

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