Royal Ascot set to relax dress code as mercury rises

PHOTO: Reuters

The heat wave sweeping across Britain has led Royal Ascot organisers to consider relaxing the dress code if conditions become too uncomfortable for spectators at this week's prestigious horse race meeting.

According to the Met Office, temperatures are expected to hit a high of 29 degrees Celsius at the Berkshire course on Tuesday's opening day with little sign of cooler weather to come throughout the meeting.

Running until Saturday, the event describes itself as "synonymous with sartorial elegance", with men in the Royal Enclosure required to wear black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, tie and top hat at all times.

Men with tickets to the Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure must wear a suit with a shirt and tie, although a spokesman said organisers would monitor the weather during the day and could relax rules if the temperature soared up.

"If it gets very hot, a dress code notification would be put out," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the Times.

"If it is becoming uncomfortable, we would let people take their jacket off and relax a little bit. A course-wide announcement would be made and it will be up to individuals to make their own decisions."

"Health and safety is obviously paramount. This will be the hottest environment we have had for a very long time. It is only common sense. We have to be careful."

Horses will also be monitored closely, with buckets of water available along the course and in the pull-up areas, while structures emitting a cooling spray will be used in the unsaddling enclosure.

"We will be particularly mindful of horses coming off the track, especially those going to the winner's enclosure," the spokesman added. "If it is not sensible for them to go, they will stay in the unsaddling enclosure."