And they're off: orange not the new black as Aintree ladies' day has a makeover
Published 15/02/2016 | 15:01
Women attending this year's ladies' day at the Grand National Festival are being urged to smarten up in a bid to make the day more "aspirational".
Fashionistas planning on attending the famous Liverpool horse-racing event on April 8 are being encouraged to dress more Ascot than the midriff baring, stiletto-clad look that has become synonymous with the festival.
Aintree's management has told racegoers to "style up" and has even coaxed them into raising standards by offering a £35,000 Range Rover plus £8,000 in shopping vouchers to the most stylish punter.
In recent years unflattering photographs of orange-stained women tottering along in high-heels whilst swigging from bottles of booze were the order of the day for national newspapers.
Recent ladies' days have reportedly failed to sell out with suggestions regular racegoers have been put off by media coverage of some women taking advantage of the "lax" dress code, banned at other racecourses.
Although there is no official dress code, smart is "preferable", according to the official website.
On the day, stylists will be on hand to offer advice and expertise on what women should be wearing as racegoers are photographed as they enter the grounds ahead of the prize giving.
This year, sales are reportedly up on last year by 4,000 tickets after undergoing its makeover in a bid to "refresh" ladies' day.
John Baker, Aintree and North West regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses said he was "delighted to raise the stakes" at the global sporting event at the heart of Liverpool's culture and social calendar.
He said that the prizes on offer would replicate the "class" of the day - yet he still wanted people to show off their individuality.
Mr Baker said: "Ladies' day is one of the biggest days in the North West and racing social calendar so we're delighted to raise the stakes even higher this year and provide our biggest style award prize ever.
"The prize on offer to the most stylish racegoer of ladies' day is fantastic and replicates the quality and class of the day. It also shows our commitment to ladies' day and our aim to make this fabulous day even better again this year."
A message on the Aintree website said: "Aintree is a spectacle of colour throughout the year, with many using their trip to the racecourse as an opportunity to showcase their favourite race day outfits."
On Twitter, John Uttley @JohnRUttley wrote: " #Aintree wants ladies' day to be styled up like Ascot. Prefer the Scousers' dress sense myself, along with the hen parties in #Blackpool."
Tens of thousands of racegoers attend each year and the Grand National is seen as the world's most famous horse race, generating TV viewing figures in the hundreds of millions from across the globe.