Formal dress codes are no more at The Jockey Club racecourses, with racegoers free to wear whatever they like to its events - including Cheltenham Festival this March 2023.
With the aim of making horse racing 'more accessible and inclusive', visitors are encouraged to wear what makes them 'feel most comfortable and confident', with no restrictions on which enclosures they can access based on what they are wearing.
The only exceptions to the new rules are offensive clothing or fancy dress and replica sports shirts, which are not permitted.
As the biggest commercial organisation in British Racing, The Jockey Club - which runs Cheltenham Racecourse and 14 other venues across the country - reviewed its dress codes following feedback from racegoers, with the new rules becoming effective immediately.
The Jockey Club's chief executive, Nevin Truesdale, said: 'Horseracing has always been a sport enjoyed by people from all different backgrounds and it’s really important to us to be accessible and inclusive. We hope that by no longer placing an expectation upon people of what they should and shouldn’t wear we can help highlight that racing really is for everyone.
'For those who visit our venues, a day at the races is all about spending quality leisure time with friends and family and we believe people enjoy themselves best when they feel relaxed. A major part of that is wearing clothing which you are comfortable in.
'While The Jockey Club has a rich heritage and history it is also a forward-thinking organisation which places a great emphasis on diversity and inclusion and always seeks to reflect modern trends. So, when we reviewed this area of the raceday experience, it has been clear to us that enforcing a dress code seems rather outdated in the 21st century in the eyes of many of our racegoers.
'Of course that doesn’t mean we are discouraging people from dressing up for a day at the races if they want to. This is about giving people a choice and the opportunity to come racing dressed however they feel most comfortable and confident, while also bearing in mind the challenges regularly presented by the British weather!
'For many, clothing is the ultimate expression of individuality and by removing the need to be dressed in a certain way we hope to really demonstrate how inclusive we believe our sport is, as well as being a fantastic and thrilling day out.'
For more information, see Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.