Zara and Mike Tindall embrace more ‘inclusive’ Cheltenham dress code

Zara and Mike Tindall confirm plans for March

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Zara and Mike Tindall have embraced the Jockey Club’s plans to scrap all formal dress codes at its venues, which include Cheltenham and Aintree. The daughter of Princess Anne, who is also a former Olympic equestrian medallist, said the club is “just trying to be more inclusive”, adding that people do not go to the races necessarily to dress up but to “go and see the horses”.

Zara and her husband, a former England rugby player, were interviewed by William Hill as part of their weekly horse racing show The Inside Track.

Since 2019 Zara has held a position on Cheltenham’s Racehorse Committee, however she and Mike both expressed support for the changes after over 200 years of a strict formal dress code.

Mike admitted that he enjoyed the “tradition” of getting dressed up to go to the races, saying: “I quite like the bit that a lot of people want to get dressed up and go to the races.”

However he said the dress code also “wasn’t much of an issue” and that “there’s a place for you everywhere” at Cheltenham’s four-day festival.

Zara said: “They’re just trying to be more inclusive. And it’s a different time of year as well.

“You want to stay warm. It’s an easier time of year to stay more casual and still feel part of everything as well.”

This year the Cheltenham Festival will take place from March 14-17, with coats and hats common attire for the event due to the season.

She added: “There’s always somewhere you can come and enjoy it and feel part of it. Go and see the horses – that’s why we’re there, isn’t it?

“To be able to actually see them in the flesh and go up and put your bet on. That’s what you’re there for.”

Mike said: “It’s more just emphasising the point that it’s always been a place or a ticket for whatever you want to wear, as long as you go and enjoy the races.”

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Past dress code rules have required men to wear suit jackets in certain enclosures at all times, with jeans and shorts generally not permitted.

However for 2023 the new code simply asks spectators to come “dressed to feel your best”.

A statement on the Jockey Club’s website said: “We’re all unique, and no more so than in our sense of style and comfort.

“For some, wearing a nice sweatshirt, pair of jeans and clean trainers is what makes them feel confident and at ease.”

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