Traditionally, it’s more than just a sport that people like to bet on—premier horse racing events and racing festivals have a long history as fashion shows. Ladies Day, Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National, Ascot and other annual gatherings all attract fashionistas, demonstrating what’s hot and what’s not. 

So, what do experts recommend you wear if you are planning to attend one of these extravaganzas?

What to Wear–Women

You want to dress to impress. You need to channel your Sunday best and then jazz it up as if you were having a good old night on the town.  A horse race is a perfect way to showcase your inner fashion model. You might want to incorporate pastels, floral prints, and anything that makes you think of the perfect summer day.

If you are heading out to a more autumnal event, then you might want to go for the natural and nude shades, with maybe a pop of color to brighten it all up.

Although most prefer to go with heels–if this isn’t something you are comfortable with, then pumps are fine–bright and complementary to your outfit.  Never worry about being overdressed–you want to stand out from the crowd.  We’d probably steer away from black-tie dress, but other than that, anything goes.

The most important accessory of all, however, at any festive horse racing event is the hat. You need to pick one that suits your style, goes with your outfit and looks fabulous. Make it classic, adventurous or even crazy. The choice is yours.

What to Wear–Men

Go for a lightweight suit because the weather is normally quite warm in prime horse racing season.  Although there might be places with air conditioning or shelter, you don’t want to be stuck in the corner afraid you will melt.

Seersucker suits are always to be recommended as they are stylish, but also lightweight and breathable. However, whatever summer or spring outfit you choose should be great. You don’t even have to wear a jacket if you don’t want to (unless a jacket and tie is required to enter some venues at a racetrack). Think pastel shirts, ties and something with a bit of character. However, if you’re heading to the races in autumn, then a standard suit is just perfect.

If you fancy pushing the boat out, definitely go for a tie.  It could be a standard dress tie or a bow tie. This will really bring your whole outfit together and you will fit in with the rest of the racetrack bigwigs. Your tie doesn’t need to have a horse racing theme.  It can be whatever color or style that goes with your outfit.

Moreover, ladies don’t have to be the only ones to get in on the hat act. Men can have just as much fun with their hats as women.

What to Wear–Kids

If you are taking your children to the races, then your main job will be to dress them in outfits that suit the weather and conditions.  But don’t forget fashion completely: Why not coordinate them with you, but with a comfortable kiddie twist.  A day at the races might include a fair bit of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.  Also, remember to take any other accessories you might need, like sippy cups and snacks, as you don’t want an unhappy child.

Look Good But Be Sensible

A day at the races usually means spending a lot of time outside, so make sure you remember to pack that suntan lotion or umbrella, for you and your family. Another thing to consider if you don’t have an assigned seat is to bring a portable chair.  Last but certainly not least, bring your money.


If you have been reading financial news, you may have come across stories about Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Concisely put, an NFT can be described as a record of ownership of something digital, usually a piece of online art.

More precisely, NFTs are little bits of digital art bought and sold like tangible art.  They are recorded on a blockchain ledger linked to the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

Just as a physical piece of paper with the signature of a famous person would be considered valuable, so too are certain digital items. The initial tweet—by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey—was recently sold as an NFT, with the buyer paying a hefty $2.9 million.

So, what in the world has this to do with horse racing? Well, a few weeks ago, news broke that a company, Zed Run, had secured $20 million in funding for its virtual horse racing game.  Calling it a “game” is a little bit of a misnomer, however.   It is more like a virtual stable, where people can buy horses, race them, breed them, and sell them to other buyers.

As you might have guessed, the horses in question are NFTs that potentially sell for a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. A person could invest in a real racehorse for that kind of money, so why do people bother with NFTs?  For the same reason they invest in cryptocurrency or buy a digital record of a tweet: they think it will appreciate.

It’s too soon to tell whether NFTs pose a threat to the racing industry.  While digital alternatives to actual racing are already available, ranging from Virtual Grand Nationals to Frankie Dettori’s Magic Jackpot 7 slots, NFTs are altogether different. Dismissing them as a fad could be an error similar to what transpired in Bitcoin trading a few years ago.  One might think Bitcoin is fake money, or a Ponzi scheme, but millions of others do not.

It is imperative that a company be ever vigilant about the purchasing behavior of people, particularly those in younger generations, who are comfortable operating within virtual worlds.  For many of them, the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a digital racehorse may feel more natural than investing in the genuine thing. The risk of losing younger fans to the virtual world is not unique to racing, of course–virtual offerings are a phenomenon that should be taken seriously by any sport.

Zed Run may turn out to be just another example among many of a niche product that received millions of dollars of venture funding but was a commercial bust.  On the other hand, plenty of established industries have been digitally disrupted in the past, and many more will be in the future.

The popularity of events like the Virtual Grand National has demonstrated that there is an appetite for the dramatically new in horse racing, even among traditional enthusiasts. Will there eventually be auctions for lines of computer code that constitute a legendary digital racehorse–a Secretariat or Frankel–in the same way that yearlings are bid for today?  Don’t rule it out.

Horse Racing Business


Not having the Grand National and its three-day Festival at Aintree outside Liverpool left a reported hole of £500,000,000 in the finances of British horse racing and related businesses in 2020.

That is proof, as if it were needed, that the world’s most famous steeplechase remains a huge part of the international program of this global sport.  Around two-thirds of adults in the UK are thought to place a bet on the Grand National each year, most of whom don’t normally follow horse racing.

Absence may make the heart grow fonder.  With a worldwide TV audience in the hundreds of millions, the Aintree 4-mile 514-yard marathon handicap is the highlight of a three-day jumps horse racing festival that returns in 2021 after being cancelled in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Grand National meet starts on Thursday, April 8 and there are 19 graded races across the three days.  Of those, 11 hold Group 1 status, so this is a major festival in its own right and not just following on from Cheltenham in March.

Here is what horse racing fans have to look forward to at Aintree, though sadly dual winner Tiger Roll won’t be among runners for the Grand National day 3 and bidding for a third win in the race as his owners felt he was excessively weighted in the handicap.  The first day sees four consecutive Grade 1 races kick the meeting off with a bang. 

They include the Aintree Bowl over 3 miles and the Aintree Hurdle over 2 1/2 miles.  Those horses that competed in the Champion Hurdle, plus Paul Nicholls’ McFabulous could tackle the latter on a card that also contains a Group 2 National Hunt Flat race for fillies and mares.

Headlining the middle day of the Grand National Festival is the Melling Chase sponsored by Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.  Entries for the 2 1/2 mile feature race could include previous winners Min and Politologue.  Both are in the veteran stage of their careers as 10-year-olds, but fought out the finish of the last two editions of the Melling. There are also three Group 1 novice events on this card. 

On Grand National day, everything builds toward the big race. Supporting Aintree’s showpiece steeplechase is the Liverpool Hurdle over 3 miles that has been partnered by Irish international budget airline Ryanair in recent years.  The sponsor’s group chief executive Michael O’Leary is brother to the boss of Gigginstown House Stud.

Those racehorse owners have enjoyed plenty of success in the Grand National itself, thanks to victories for maiden Rule The World and the icon Tiger Roll.  Every race on the final day of the Aintree festival holds graded status, including two elite novice events, an open National Hunt Flat race, and a couple of handicaps.

In the Grand National itself, a massive maximum field of 40 horses are allowed to run. They face two laps of the special track, which has unique spruce-covered fences, many of which are bigger than the obstacles encountered in regulation steeplechases like those on the inner Mildmay course. 

After missing out on holding their April festival last year, Aintree will be striving to come back stronger than ever as horse racing and supporting industries in the UK cannot afford to miss out on another Grand National.

Horse Racing Business 2021