I went to Cheltenham & tested the limit of the new ‘inclusive dress code’ – I was given an earful but ended up winning

THE fashion stakes were high today as Cheltenham Festival roared into action with a new “inclusive dress code”.

Our man tested the limits of decency at the famous Cotswolds race meeting wearing a dayglo top, running shorts and trainers.

Paul EdwardsSun man Joe Hadden tested the dress code limits at Cheltenham Race Festival 2023[/caption]

Paul EdwardsJoe landed on a pink Nike Dri-FIT vest, ASOS tropical beach shorts and a ASICS GT 2000 running shoes[/caption]

He was cheered and jeered by the crowd of over 60,000 punters downing pints of Guinness and champagne in the bright sunshine for the biggest jump racing week of the year.

Sun man Joe Hadden opted to spend a breezy spring day in a pink Nike Dri-FIT vest, ASOS tropical beach shorts and a ASICS GT 2000 running shoes.

Glamorous racegoers in their tweed clambered up to have a picture with him as he paraded through the Guineas Village seeking out his first pint of the day.

Penelope, 28, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said: “You must be cold, but that’s a small price to pay for being the sharpest dressed man here.”

But not all the punters were as welcoming of the fluorescent three-piece, with the occasional shout of “w*****r” hurled in his direction.

The first day brought a hammering for bookies as a string of favourites romped to victory including Constitution Hill and housewives favourite Honeysuckle in her last race ridden by champion jockey Rachel Blackmore.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “We’ve been taken to the cleaners.”

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Honeysuckle winning has cost us a high six figure sum but we couldn’t be happy as it’s a fairytale ending for a much loved horse.”

The Jockey Club introduced a relaxed dress code this year and many racegoers took advantage to tone down their threads.

Andrew and Ben Cook, father and son visitors from Surrey, wore suits last time they visited in 2019 but wore puffa jackets, trainers and jeans yesterday.

Andrew said: “We came suited and booted before but this is just more comfortable and you are a bit more at ease.”

Aaron Dacosta, 42, the director of a contract cleaning company in Newmarket, Suffolk, swapped loafers for Christian Louboutin trainers and skinny jeans this year.

He said: “Everything is still high end.”

But not everyone was impressed.

Tess Annan, who runs the Welligogs fashion stall at the event, said: “I think it’s a shame.

“Part of the races is dressing up and everyone makes an effort and that helps create a buzz around the day.”

Sass Bledger, 40, and Karen Barlow, 40, who both own ex-race horses, were dressed in traditional tweed, hats and boots.

Sass, from Litlington, Cambs, said: “Coming in I noticed more people wearing jeans this year.

“It detracts from how special the event is when people rock up in their everyday clothes. It makes you feel special when you dress up.”

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, under fire over racist allegations, clearly got the dress down memo wearing jeans and a jumper with a flat cap.

He was among a host of celebs who turned up for the first day.

Shamed MP Matt Hancock came out of hiding for the first time since his WhatsApp message crisis to attend with his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo.

But he refused to be drawn on the extraordinary leak of his Covid-era chats.

He told The Sun: “I just came to lose a bit of money and enjoy the racing.”

Bra tycoon Baroness Michelle Mone stayed away from the course despite having a horse, Monberg Genius, which battled into third place to win her £11,088.

The course was graced with Royalty with Princess Anne, and her daughter Zara Tindall and husband Mike getting into the action in the parade ring.

Ex-Tv star Carol Vorderman, footballer David Platt, actor Will Mellor, popstar Gareth Gates and comedian Ben Miller were also there.

Comic Jack Whitehall said: “I love coming to the races and Cheltenham is the highlight of the year for me. I’ve come for the last couple of years, excluding the pandemic, so it’s always something I really look forward to.”

The Gloucestershire festival saw the first self-service Guinness bar at a race meeting to try and cut waiting times as 280,000 pints of the black stuff are downed over the week.

But not everyone was a fan. Rob Jones, 51, a company director from Telford, Shrops, said: “It’s a bit cheeky they ask you to serve yourselves when they’re charging £7.50 a pint.”

At the end of day one, Irish owned horses were beating their English counterparts in the hotly contested Prestbury Cup.

Irish jockey John Gleeson, 18, who rides favourite A Dream To Share today, had to ask for teachers for time off from school to take part in the week’s racing.

Bookies are hoping their luck turns later this week as around £500million is wagered.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”

Paul Edwards‘I bunged a fiver on Honeysuckle at 9/4 – a sweet return on a bitterly cold day at the races’, said Joe[/caption]

Paul EdwardsJoe stood out among the crown in his neon pink vest, despite the chilly temperatures[/caption]

Paul EdwardsThe Jockey Club introduced a relaxed dress code this year and many racegoers took advantage to tone down their threads[/caption]

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