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Racing fans don finery to recreate glitz of Royal Ascot at home

One racing fan even built his own Royal Enclosure for the event, which is usually attended by the Queen.


(Geoff Derham)

(Geoff Derham)

(Geoff Derham)

Racing fans around the country got themselves dressed up to enjoy the first day of Royal Ascot from home.

More than 300,000 people usually attend the five-day event in Berkshire but, because of continued social distancing measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, racing got under way on Tuesday in front of empty stands.

Up and down the UK racing fans got dressed up to make the most of the situation and get into the spirit of the event, which is known almost as much for socialising and striking outfits as it is for sport.

Geoff Durham and his family put on their finery for the occasion as they watched from the garden of their house in Ditcheat, Somerset.

The family even constructed their own Royal Enclosure and rebranded their cars as taxis for the day for added realism.

Sophie Wright got herself and her family dressed up for a day watching the racing at their home in Wolverhampton to celebrate her fiance Shaun Southam’s birthday.

Ms Wright said: “Shaun was 30 yesterday and we would have been at Ascot today celebrating had it been allowed, so he’s loving doing it at home instead.

“We thought instead of being down about not being there, get dressed up and get involved from home.”

She said it was important for them and their two kids – Shay and Scarlett – to get dressed up “to make it feel more authentic”.

She added: “We love the races and go often, and picking an outfit and a hat or a new shirt and suit is all part of the fun.”

Residents at Katherine House, a rest home in Bristol, made their own hats for the day, complete with feathers and pompoms.

One resident, named only as Mary, said: “Sitting here with my neighbours and their lovely hats on, it’s been out of this world. Never in a million years did I imagine I would win ‘Best Hat in Show’.”

Sabina Green, from the home’s wellbeing team, said: “We’re very proud of the residents and their fabulous designs. The colourful rainbow theme has been a wonderful way to brighten up the homes and bring joy to everyone’s day. This has been a very uplifting afternoon.”

And there were even virtual racegoers getting into the spirit on the other side of the Atlantic.

Nikki Samolovitch got dressed up to watch the racing with her dog Champ from her home in Boulder, Colorado.

She said: “I try to attend every year! I love it there.

“I travel the world watching races and Royal Ascot is my favourite.”