The biggest jump meeting of the racing calendar is upon us and for many it’s one of the biggest social occasions of the year as well. Scousers get some very unjustified stick at this time of year for some of the outfits and styles you see on show at Aintree. Having fallen in love with Liverpool the football club and the city from a young age, before going to University there and then living there for over 10 years I am a fervent defender of Liverpudlian style at this time of year. I’ve never known a city who knows how to party like Liverpool does, and I love it. However, race days in general can be a hotbed of horrific behaviour and even worse style, whether that’s Aintree, Ascot or Cheltenham.
So here are a few tips for what to avoid if you don’t want to look like Harvey from East 17 emerging from a 24 drink and drugs binge in Burton. Plus which horses I might be having a flutter on… but please remember I am far from a tipster, so please don’t come battering my door down when they fall at the first.
Hats – quite simply, don’t wear one. I don’t think there is anything worse than someone wearing a cheap Topman trilby with an ill fitting suit thinking it some how makes them Al Calpone. The only instances you I feel you can get away with a hat is when it’s a winter meet and you match a good quality trilby with a nice overcoat. Or if you are one of those genuine Country Life types who wears a wax jacket and pink trousers, a tweed flat cap probably won’t look out of place. If you’re not, it’s not a look you are going to pull off without looking like you’re being “ironic” on a stag do.
Sunglasses – If you’re lucky it will be a lovely spring week at Aintree and if that’s the case it’s tempting to get the shades out. There is an old rule amongst gentleman that it’s rather uncouth to wear sunglasses with a suit, which I have some sympathy with but equally agree that is perhaps a little archaic. I’ve been called out before for bemoaning sunglasses and suits when I’ve been seen sporting them but I think there is a key to getting it right and not looking like some wanker who works in IT and still thinks by default sunglasses make him cool. Or that you think you’re in the mafia.
If you’re wearing a suit or smart jacket and chinos (which you should be) you need to match it with a smart, elegant pair of sunglasses. For the love of God do not think it is acceptable to wear a pairt of “sporty” sunglasses with a suit. No Oakley’s, no wrap arounds with multi colour reflective lenses. You’re not snowboarding now Simon.
I don’t think you can go wrong with a traditional pair of Ray Bans. I like a a tortoiseshell wayfarer but if you are wearing grey or charcoal a black style would work. I also like the look of these Tom Ford frames as well.
Suits – I don’t believe that you have to wear a suit to the races, but I know I personally working in one of those laid back relaxed trendy offices I don’t get to wear one unless it’s for a funeral or a wedding, so it seems like a waste not to for the races. A good suit doesn’t need to be expensive, or perfectly tailored but it does need to FIT. There is nothing worse than seeing some lad lumbering around in all ill fitting suit with billowing trouser legs and boxy shoulders. You don’t want to look like you’re 15 again at a family christening do you?
It might sound obviously but if you’re slim, as I am, go for a slim fitting suit! I’d avoid super skinny if I were you and those shiny grey types with black piping. You don’t want to look like you’re up on a joy riding charge.
If you’re a more normal build go for something semi tailored, or be sure that it fits nicely round the shoulders and the leg length is right (just grazing the shoe so you’re socks show when you sit down.)
Avoid – White suits with a black shirt and white tie. You’re not John Travolta. Comedy or silly suits as per the image above. And for fucks sake tuck your shirt in and do your tie up if you’re wearing one, wear it properly.
What I’m wasting my money on…
Thursday 7th April
My bet of the day – I’m going to go for Cue Card in the Betfred Bowl on Thursday, despite seeing him fall at Cheltenham a few weeks ago. Trainer Colin Tizzard reports everything to have been plain sailing since that costly fall and he is hopeful of redemption on Merseyside. Get him at 6/1 with BetFair as a new customer.
Friday 8th of April
My bet of the day – Ladies day has some tough races to call, but I’m having a look at Yanworth in the Grade 1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. His price is pretty short though at 5/4 with BetFair.
The Grand National – Saturday 9th of April
In many ways the national is the worst race of the year to bet on as it can be a complete lottery, but it’s impossible to avoid a bet on the big one. There’s a few horses I’m having a look at having seen them in the flesh at Newbury once or twice but there are a couple of old favourites from nationals gone by who are always tempting if out of loyalty and nothing else.
I’ve seen some good things said about Holywell as a decent each way bet, but me and a few mates have a real eye on Silviniaco Conti. An old favourite of mine from the national is First Lieutenant and I’ll be tempted by a EW bet, similarly for a bit of an outside chance I have my eye on Midnight Prayer who has faired well in previous years. Another decent EW bet in my eyes.
To win: Silviniaco Conti (12/1 with BetFair)
Each way: First Lieutenant (33/1 with BetFair)
Each Way Long Shot: Midnight Prayer (4-/1 with BetFair)
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