Zara Tindall, Mike Tindall and Peter Phillips arrive at Cheltenham Festival

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The Queen‘s granddaughter Zara Tindall looked elegant in a berry-coloured coat as she led the royal racegoers on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. 

The equestrian, 40, beamed as she arrived at the Gloucestershire racecourse with her husband Mike Tindall, 43, and brother Peter Phillips, 44. 

Mike was in typically jovial spirits and linked arms with his brother-in-law as they posed for photographers. The pair both sported Peaky Blinders-inspired flat caps for the occasion.

Following the royal family’s tried-and-tested formula for monochrome dressing, Zara opted for a rich belted coat with statement sleeves and velvet panels, which she paired with a matching hat and handbag. 

Royal arrivals! The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall looked elegant in a berry-coloured coat as she led the royal racegoers on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. She beamed as she arrived at the Gloucestershire racecourse with husband Mike

Horsing around! Zara and Mike were in typically jovial spirits as they stepped out for a day without their children, Mia, eight, Lena, three, and 11-month-old Lucas. At one point Mike linked arms for a photo with his brother-in-law Peter, pictured

Horsing around! Zara and Mike were in typically jovial spirits as they stepped out for a day without their children, Mia, eight, Lena, three, and 11-month-old Lucas. At one point Mike linked arms for a photo with his brother-in-law Peter, pictured

Hat's a good idea! Mike Tindall and Peter Phillips stepped out in similar Peaky Blinders-inspired hats at Cheltenham

Hat’s a good idea! Mike Tindall and Peter Phillips stepped out in similar Peaky Blinders-inspired hats at Cheltenham 

Dapper dressers: The Queen's granddaughter Peter Phillips wore blue and green tartan

Mike in a classic check blazer

Dapper dressers: The Queen’s granddaughter Peter Phillips wore blue and green tartan. Right, Mike in a classic check blazer

Royal family favourite: Mike and Zara left their three children at home to enjoy a day at Cheltenham with Peter (pictured)

Royal family favourite: Mike and Zara left their three children at home to enjoy a day at Cheltenham with Peter (pictured)

Let me take a selfie! Zara and Mike looked delighted as they posed for phone pictures while enjoying the races

Zara and Mike at the races

Let me take a selfie! Zara and Mike looked delighted as they posed for phone pictures while enjoying the races

She broke up the block colour with a pair of black, straight leg trousers and finished the look with classic black suede point toe pumps. 

Meanwhile former England rugby ace Mike looked dapper in a check blazer, navy trousers and a bold patterned tie.

Father-of-two Peter, who is in a relationship with Lindsay Wallace after splitting from ex-wife Autumn, opted for a blue and green tartan coat, which he wore with a magenta tie. 

There was speculation over whether Peter might bring Lindsay to the event, which is a Royal Family favourite. 

The Cheltenham Festival is welcoming punters for the first time since 2020 after the pandemic forced organisers to hold last year’s event behind closed doors.

Berry nice! Zara and Mike looked regal at the races today as the Queen's granddaughter sported towering heels and cigarette trousers

Berry nice! Zara and Mike looked regal at the races today as the Queen’s granddaughter sported towering heels and cigarette trousers

Ready for action! The royal couple looked delighted at the day out which is close to to their home Gatcombe Park

Zara and Mike are pictured

Ready for action! The royal couple looked delighted at the day out which is close to to their home Gatcombe Park

Here come the girls! Short dresses, sequins and bold prints were on show as revellers arrived at the Cheltenham Festival

Women arriving at Cheltenham today

Here come the girls! Short dresses, sequins and bold prints were on show as revellers arrived at the Cheltenham Festival

Feathered fancy! Glamorous racegoers beam in their statement hats as they arrive for the first day of the four-day meet

Feathered fancy! Glamorous racegoers beam in their statement hats as they arrive for the first day of the four-day meet

Making a statement: A vibrant magenta print suit helps this racegoer stand out from the crowd

Jade Holland Cooper

Making a statement: A vibrant magenta print suit helps this racegoer stand out from the crowd. Right, Jade Holland Cooper

Here come the girls! A gaggle of glamorous gals arrived in their race day finery ahead of the action of the four-day meet

Here come the girls! A gaggle of glamorous gals arrived in their race day finery ahead of the action of the four-day meet

The famous festival was one of the last major sporting events to be held with spectators before lockdown in March 2020. It was accused of being a Covid super-spreader event, with a number of famous faces including Andrew Parker Bowles, comedian Lee Mack and footballer Charlie Austin all contracting the virus.

Over the next four days, as many as 250,000 horse racing enthusiasts are set to descend on the Gloucestershire course. 

To add to the excitement, revellers are set to bask in above average temperatures 60F (15C) today – and they certainly didn’t hold back in dressing for the balmy weather. 

Fashion designer Jade Holland Cooper was among the early VIP arrivals and showed off her figure in a flirty mini skirt, statement belt and Gucci logo tights. 

Classic combos: Some couples returned to failsafe fashion combinations as they stepped out for the four-day event

A couple arriving at the races

Classic combos: Some couples returned to failsafe fashion combinations as they stepped out for the four-day event

Thigh's the limit! Friends dressed in flirty mini dresses arrived hand-in-hand at Cheltenham Racecourse this morning

Thigh’s the limit! Friends dressed in flirty mini dresses arrived hand-in-hand at Cheltenham Racecourse this morning

Grand entrance: Designer Jade Holland Cooper showed off her pins in Gucci tights

Time for a quick photo

Grand entrance: Designer Jade Holland Cooper showed off her pins in Gucci tights. Right, time for a quick photo

Country chic! Racegoers in elegant coats have their photo taken in front of a flower photo wall on their arrival at the course

Country chic! Racegoers in elegant coats have their photo taken in front of a flower photo wall on their arrival at the course

Elsewhere a gaggle of friends opted for all-out glamour in figure-hugging dresses, strappy heels and vibrant contrast handbags. They teetered into the course hand-in-hand, ready for a day at the races. 

Not to be outdone, men also pushed the fashion boundaries in suits in bold, look-at-me prints. One gentlemen turned heads in his deep magenta two-piece featuring a Seventies-inspired print. 

Another group decided on a theme and co-ordinated their purple velvet bowties, purple hats and violet-striped shirts. 

There was also plenty of classic country combos on show. Revellers who prefer to play it safe stepped out in their tweed, felt hats and smart three-piece suits.  

It comes after horse racing legend Ruby Walsh lifted the lid on what Cheltenham week is like for jockeys, why Irish domination is bad for the sport – and the reasons the Festival needs a fifth day. 

Splash of colour! A group of friends raised the style stakes as they arrived at Cheltenham in fabulous frocks

Splash of colour! A group of friends raised the style stakes as they arrived at Cheltenham in fabulous frocks

Ready to race! Some 250,000 revellers are expected over the course of the four-day Cheltenham Festival

Ready to race! Some 250,000 revellers are expected over the course of the four-day Cheltenham Festival

Walsh is Cheltenham’s most successful ever jockey with 59 winners, and now the 42-year-old is carving himself a second career as a racing pundit and TV personality.

While the jockeys are the main focus of the week, Walsh may now relish his position away from the cut and thrust of the sport, as he reveals it is not always an enjoyable week for those sitting atop the horses.

Speaking ahead of the Festival, he told SportsMail: ‘I would not be looking forward to the next five days of the lives of Paul Townend, Davy Russell, Harry Skelton, Harry Cobden, Rachael Blackmore and others. You just have the constant worry. The dragging of time between now and next Tuesday – it will feel like five months. 

‘I was an absolute nightmare prior to the Cheltenham Festival. In team sports you are part of a squad and you go into camps or you are part of a squad. In racing, who has a media officer? Jockeys and trainers don’t. 

But first, let me take a selfie! A group of man pause to take a snap on their arrival at Cheltenham Racecourse this morning

But first, let me take a selfie! A group of man pause to take a snap on their arrival at Cheltenham Racecourse this morning

Spectators arrive for day one of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. The four day event is taking place in Gloucestershire this week

Spectators arrive for day one of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. The four day event is taking place in Gloucestershire this week

As many as 250,000 horse racing fans are set to descend on the Gloucestershire course across this weekend for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic

As many as 250,000 horse racing fans are set to descend on the Gloucestershire course across this weekend for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic

Day out: Cheltenham Festival racegoers looking forward to the action after last year's event was held behind closed doors

Day out: Cheltenham Festival racegoers looking forward to the action after last year’s event was held behind closed doors

Getting ready: Punters prepare themselves for the busy day ahead on the morning of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival

Getting ready: Punters prepare themselves for the busy day ahead on the morning of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival

Return of the crowds: The racecourse is back to welcoming thousands of punters a day after being effectively closed last year

Return of the crowds: The racecourse is back to welcoming thousands of punters a day after being effectively closed last year

‘It is hard to keep away from the spotlight. There will be no-one heading to Dublin airport to get on a chartered flight. They’ll be getting on the flight next to whatever punter is also on the flight talking to them. 

‘There is not a team hotel or an escorted bus into the stadium, they will have to walk into the racecourse with the crowd. Being a jockey is very different at that level from the top sportspeople in other sports. You watch the golf or Wimbledon and you see the courtesy cars flying by, I never saw a courtesy car pull up to bring me to the races.

‘It is a very different environment and it constantly keeps you in the pressure. You don’t want to be the person who is barking or snapping, but ultimately you are the one under pressure and I definitely did snap at people I shouldn’t have.’

For an industry so reliant on its punters, Walsh admits it is ‘huge’ to have fans back in attendance this week.

‘I was one of the lucky people who was at Cheltenham last year,’ he notes. ‘It was a strange experience and was nothing like I had ever experienced. Cheltenham is unique for National Hunt racing with its crowds.

‘That volume of people over four days, that cacophony of noise – it is incredible and it will play its part on horses, on trainers and on jockeys. It all adds to the mix and even simple things like helicopter traffic and helicopters are disappearing at the end of the racing, they are so loud. It is just noise and atmosphere.’

The main races are the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, the Champion Chase on Wednesday, Thursday's Stayers' Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday

The main races are the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, the Champion Chase on Wednesday, Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday

As many as 250,000 horse racing fans are set to descend on the Gloucestershire course across this weekend for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic

As many as 250,000 horse racing fans are set to descend on the Gloucestershire course across this weekend for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic

To add to the excitement, fans are set to bask in above-March-average temperatures 60F (15C) today. And while rain is expected to fall on Wednesday, fans are set to enjoy a sunny final two days of the festival, including on Friday for its famous Cheltenham Gold Cup

To add to the excitement, fans are set to bask in above-March-average temperatures 60F (15C) today. And while rain is expected to fall on Wednesday, fans are set to enjoy a sunny final two days of the festival, including on Friday for its famous Cheltenham Gold Cup



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