This weekend sees the culmination of an exciting season’s worth of horse racing with the Champions Day fixture at Ascot Racecourse this Saturday. Ascot is one of the most prestigious and well attended race horse grounds in the country and the event will see all of the best performing horses this year clash in an exciting day of unpredictable, top quality racing. Here at Mainline Menswear we are big fans of the odd race day and its unique traditions which include getting dressed up and socialising with friends. So today, we have a complete preview to the big weekend ahead.
British Champions Day has been running since October 2011 and has been held at Ascot Racecourse each year since, effectively making it the unofficial end of season highlight for flat racing. It features the finals of all five divisions of the British Champions Series which runs throughout the season, with an additional apprentice jockeys race. Each division is determined by a horse’s ability and form. It is well-known that Champions Day is the richest day in British horse racing having racked up a record 3.4 million in prize money for the 2012 edition and it was inaugurated to try and raise the profile of the sport and compete with the likes of the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
All the talk leading up to the weekend’s meet is regarding the likelihood that the ground will be heavily sodden by the time Saturday comes, with substantial rainfall due in the immediate few days before. The prize money on offer has exceeded the £4 million mark for the first time thanks to wealthy Quatari backers Quipco and this could give outsiders renewed hope of bagging victory ahead of the more talented horses who perhaps won’t like the conditions.
Organisers have been desperately unlucky so far this year not only with the weather forecast, but also with the withdrawal of two of the day’s biggest names- Australia and The Grey Gatsby- whose absence threatens to lower the credibility of the event.
The Dress Code
The organisation of this event has always been criticised by the racing fraternity for being held too late in the year where, chances are, the ground will be poor quality for these top-class horses. But the sheer money being ploughed into it each year will ensure a huge crowd and top racing entertainment are near enough a certainty. Ascot is one of the country’s oldest racecourses having held its first event back in the 1700’s. In addition it has a historic association with the Royal family whose Windsor Castle is just 6 miles away, and its feature race of the season is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, held in July.
With such a strong tradition it is understandable that the course maintains a strict etiquette, but it all makes for a unique and more authentic race day experience which nearly all race-goers agree is an enjoyable one. Because the sport’s other main events are held in the peak summer around July, usually the big horse racing events are held in significantly different weather conditions, and so obviously the dress trends differ for this end of season finale.
Here we have put together our ideal outfit for the novice punters at Ascot’s Champions Day this weekend:
The safest way to go is to dress in black or grey colours and wear a suit with black or brown shoes. With the weather expected to be colder it is likely the traditional horse racing fan’s favourite tweed material will make an appearance and there’s a good chance this year’s best outerwear will be on display in some capacity. Perfecting the horse racing suit is all about the details, here are our picks of accessories to use:
Our Top Tip: 4.05 Noble Mission, this horse has a name that suggests it can deal with the prestigious occasion and its top form combined with an ideal distance are said to give it a real chance of victory here.
Let us know how you get on at the big event this weekend…