Racegoers glam up for Grand National Ladies Day for first time since 2019

For the first time in three years, Brits were able to dress up, socialise and enjoy the Grand National Festival’s Ladies Day.

The coronavirus pandemic ruined many things and the country’s annual horseracing event was one of them.

Every year, women get to enjoy Ladies Day by glamming up and competing for the £5,000 best-dressed award. Oh, and drink.

But the last time anyone was able to do this was in 2019, before the world had even heard of coronavirus.

During lockdowns and other restrictions, planners tried to make up for people not being allowed to go by holding online events.

But this, like pretty much every other online substitute, had nothing on the real thing.

Festival-goers, many of which attend the Grand National as a tradition every year, were finally able to celebrate at the Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool.

Gill Carpenter, 55, said she had been waiting two years to wear her outfit, a hot pink dress with orange accessories, complete with a striking hat she made herself.

She said: ‘I’m actually quite emotional. This is my favourite meeting of the year.

‘I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the style, so I have found myself quite choked to actually be here.’

Ms Carpenter, from Lydiate, Merseyside, said she had been to Ladies Day every year since she was a teenager.

She said: ‘I think people are just so happy to be back, to be out, to see the style and to see people in person again.’

Bright photographs show women in gorgeous dresses and dramatic headpieces as they walked the pink carpet for photographs.

Almost all of them braved heels but some were pictured succumbing to the pain and resorting to going barefoot.

People were seen laughing, dancing and drinking – with some forgetting that wine bottles are usually meant to be shared.

Indeed, race fans are estimated to drink 300,000 beers and 8,000 bottles of champagne over the upcoming weekend.

Meanwhile, boutiques reported they expected a 600% increase in fake tanning lotion sales ahead of Ladies Day.

Donna Mulligan won best-dressed and was awarded her cheque by Coronation Street star Helen Flanaghan.

She wore a long, red dress with a slit down the side and a matching feathered headpiece.

Men who went to the event wore suits and ties while groups of women coordinated their outfits to match.

An audience of 600 million people, across 140 countries, is expected to watch Saturday’s showpiece steeplechase race.

Bookmakers are headed for an intense weekend, as the Grand National, The Masters and Manchester City v Liverpool all happening simultaneously.

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