Mixed response as UK’s historic Jockey Club scraps dress code
The British Jockey Club has abolished the dress code at its 15 courses, including some of its most famous racecourses, to mixed reactions in Friday’s papers.
The Jockey Club, whose tracks include Cheltenham, Aintree and Epsom, are now advising spectators to “dress in the way that makes you feel most comfortable and confident” after consultation with race goers.
“We hope that by no longer placing expectations on people about what they should and should not wear, we can emphasize that racing is truly for everyone,” Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale said Thursday.
The historic club, founded in 1750, will continue to ban replica football shirts and “offensive” fancy dress.
An exception to the formal dress rule will be the competitors’ enclosure at Epsom for the Derby on 3 June, where “morning dress (tailcoat) or formal casual wear will also continue to be required”.
The move was lamented by traditionalists, with an editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph stating that Cheltenham’s showy Gold Cup was already attracting 70,000 spectators and that misbehavior was a major concern.
The Prince and the Pauper have long enjoyed racing, drinking the full range of alcohol but mostly remaining polite.
“The problem was that the boyish or adept minority deliberately misbehaved,” he added.
“They won’t behave any better if they’re told they can wear sneakers (sneakers) now.”
But The Times praised the move as “a sensible adaptation to modern mores” that could help boost attendance.
“The idea that civilization will collapse because a T-shirt doesn’t have a collar, or if the doorman is no longer allowed to label certain shoes as unacceptable and deny entry to the wearer, is simply stupid,” the post reads.