Horse Racing

Aintree Ladies Day: What is the centuries old tradition and why does it exist?

The Grand National is one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events in the UK, but the Grand National Festival isn’t just one race. The three-day meeting spans from Thursday – Saturday each year and while Saturday’s big race garners most of the attention, there are many different factors that help make the Grand National meeting one of the best in the sport.

One of these is Ladies Day. One of the most eagerly anticipated days on the racing calendar, Ladies Day always happens on the Friday of the three-day meeting.

Ladies Day origins: First dress code brought in at Ascot in 1823

Aintree Ladies Day
Photo by Icon sport

Ladies Day as a concept actually first began a couple of centuries ago. First implemented at Royal Ascot in 1823, a poem reflected the occasion stating “Ladies’ Day… when the women, like angels, look sweetly divine.”

Whereas male racegoers often had a strict dress code, Ladies Day not only encouraged females to attend the races, but was also a day dedicated to fashion and provided female racegoers with their first ever dress code.

Glam guests and style awards come to Aintree

Seen as a great way to get more women involved in the sport, other famous meetings from all over the world decided to include their own version of Ladies Day and the phenomenon was here to stay.

Nowadays Ladies Day often encompasses a day where the whole family can attend the racing. A party atmosphere often descends the course and it’s a day where the thrilling action on the track is combined with fun outside of the rails. Saturday’s forecast is currently dry which will suit those who want to dress up for

Style Awards are handed out to the best dressed racegoers and this year’s Grand National has Quiz Clothing as Official Style Partner.

Aintree Ladies Day 2022: What to expect

Despite the glitz and glamour that Ladies Day promises, there are still seven fantastic races that make up the Ladies Day card. It features four Grade 1 races, with the headline race being the Sefton Hurdle.

One of the most eagerly anticipated races for younger horses, some terrific horses who have gone onto have stellar racing careers have all won the Sefton Hurdle including the likes of Thistlecrack, Santini, Champ and Ahoy Senor.

Look out for Hermes Allen in the Sefton Hurdle

Hermes Allen racing in December 2022
Photo by Icon sport

This year the race looks loaded with quality. Favourite for the race looks set to be the Paul Nichols trained Hermes Allen. A potential superstar, the ground conditions caught him out at Cheltenham where he could only finish in a disappointing 6th in this year’s Ballymore.

With the ground hopefully better this time around, there are hopes that he will be able to fill racegoers with delight by crossing the line in first place.

Despite not being a Grade 1 race, the other race that is bound to thrill the Ladies Day crowd will be the Topham Chase. Run over the Grand National fences it can often prove to be a significnt pointer for younger horses who might be able to taste success in the Grand National later in their careers.

Usually an open affair, the Oliver Greenall trained Gesskille will be hoping to go one better than his two second places that have come at the track previously. Likely to start as the favourite he could be the one they will all need to beat.

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