Surrey

Fashion stakes high at Epsom Ladies' Day

Ladies' Day at Epsom racecourse Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Stakes were high for both the fashion and the horse racing

And they're off! It was feathers, frocks and fascinators at the ready as race-goers competed for the title of Best Dressed Lady at Epsom.

Organisers said the style stakes were high for Ladies' Day, which is held on the first day of the Epsom Derby festival every year.

Image caption Ladies' Day is billed as one of the most exciting and significant race days of the year
Image copyright PA
Image caption The dress code is elegant and fashionable

A style prize worth £7,000 was up for grabs for those in the Queen's Stand and Duchess's Stand as well as a holiday, a year's supply of dresses and a bespoke hat.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Organisers promised some of the best flat races in the world

Competitors were advised by Daniel Najar, director of fashion group Chi Chi London, to "remember to be creative and think sophistication - but most importantly dress to feel confident".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Racegoers were urged to be creative with their outfits

Friday's event included seven flat horse races and an official after-party.

Extra police, some armed, were at this year's event but in the racecourse area, the focus remained on the horses, the hair and the hats.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Extra police were at the races

The racecourse said the "vibrant atmosphere, roaring laughter and thundering hooves" made Investec Derby Festival an unmistakeably British event.

Image caption Style prizes on offer included a holiday and a bespoke hat
Image caption The day was described as an unmistakeably British event

The day was billed as an experience full of high-octane racing, music, glamour and fashion come "rain or shine" - and cagoules and umbrellas were needed later.

As horses gathered for the prestigious Oaks race, a crack of thunder sounded across the Downs - one of the highest points in Surrey and with views across London - followed by heavy rain.

But racegoers said the only disappointment was "the rain watered down the champagne".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Thunder sounded over the Downs in the afternoon, followed by a downpour
Image copyright PA
Image caption Racegoers said the rain watered down the champagne

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