Horse Racing in the UK: Culture, Style & FashionBy Angelica Malin
Despite the horse racing season in the UK drawing to a close, 2016 has seen a dramatic rise in the popularity of the sport, with the style and fashion at major events becoming almost as important as the races themselves. Meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival, a four-day horse racing and jumping event held in March in the South-West of England, attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, and as well as featuring some of the most accomplished race horses from across the globe, it is also the ways in which supporters can get involved which makes for such popularity.
Despite many new and innovative tools being used to attract visitors to race meetings, the conventional culture of the sport still surrounds the betting culture. Betting on your favourite, whether it be through detailed pre-race research, or simply the jockey that stands out the most, bookmakers such as Coral provide opportunities for punters to win big. Despite events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National having already taken place in 2016, the QIPCO British Champions Day in October at Royal Ascot is undoubtedly set to be one of the most prestigious events in the racing calendar. For those of you who are not lucky enough to be heading to Berkshire this year, just looking at the main runners at Coral gives you an understanding of the potential for those who enjoy the betting culture.
However, as mentioned, such events go beyond simply the on-track action, with fan involvement in the fashion arena becoming more and more noticeable. Many take the opportunity to show off the latest seasonal fashion trends, with Ladies Day at Cheltenham known for its bold, and sometimes outrageous statements. While some may not always hit the mark with their choice of attire, prizes are awarded for the best dressed ladies, with holidays, cars and cash rewards all on offer. Horse racing events provide visitors with the opportunity to have fun with their wardrobes, and wear something that they normally would not get the opportunity to.
Despite once being a male dominated sport, the old fashion notion of “fillies on the field” is now something of the past. The historical link between women and horses, both of which were objects of the male desire, has now been shed. Women are now more than part of the modern day horse racing event, with many females disregarding their high heels in order to claim their prize having bid for the honour of owning the shoes worn by the winning horse.