Cheltenham 2023: Strict dress codes ditched in a bid to make sport more inclusive for spectators

Racegoers during day two of the Cheltenham Festival
Race goers wearing elaborate fascinators at the Cheltenham racecourse Credit: PA

Ahead of this years Cheltenham horse racing festival organisers have announced they will be scrapping the long-standing traditional formal dress code.

For more than two hundred years the event has seen crowds of spectators arriving to the race course wearing top hats and three-piece suits.

But now the elaborate attire could largely disappear from view this year after the Jockey Club announced it was scrapping formal dress code at all its venues. 

The organisation, which runs 15 racecourses, including Cheltenham, said it had made the decision as part of an effort to make racing "more accessible and inclusive".

In the past, racing’s rules have required men to wear suit jackets even during heatwaves.

But the Jockey Club has said they've made the decision to make changes to the dress code to allow people to wear whatever makes them feel 'comfortable and confident'.

Racegoers can now wear whatever they like at the event – including trainers, jogging bottoms and ripped jeans – as long as it is not offensive or football kit.

Organisers have issued only one 'very simple' piece of guidance to race going hopefuls - come 'dressed to feel your best'.

"We’re all unique, and no more so than in our sense of style and comfort. For some, wearing a nice sweatshirt, pair of jeans and clean trainers is what makes them feel confident and at-ease", a statement on its website read.

Those wanting to 'turn heads with a sharp suit or glamorous dress and high heels' are still being welcomed to do so, particularly during big race meetings.

The dates of the Cheltenham Festival 2023 are Tuesday 14 March to Friday 17 March 2022.