Thursday 8th of April 2021

The Gaitpost’s Guide to Staying Warm at Cheltenham

Alex Calder // Cheltenham // 13 March 2016


Alex Calder

Cheltenham week has rolled around again, and with it springtime and what we like to call in Ireland ‘the grand stretch’ (more light in the evenings) – and the promise of warmer days to come.

As any equestrian worth their salt knows, sunny spring days and cloudless skies can be deceptive. As my Scottish father is fond of saying “cast ne’er a clout ‘till May gangs oot” which, roughly translated, means ‘stay bundled up until we’re well out of May, lest you catch your death’.

With this in mind, and with forecasts hovering around 8 degrees (real feel) and sunny for Cheltenham next week, we’ve found six of the best ways to keep you cosy while cheering on those champions of the turf.

Six Ways to Stay warm at Cheltenham


Pictured: 1. Icebreaker Merino Wool Oasis base layers – top and leggings. 2. Women’s Borsalino fedora from Lock & Co – £375. 3. Zippo 12 Hour Hand Warmer – Chrome, £22.90. 4. The North Face eTip Gloves – £30. 5. Moncler Liane gilet – £310 and Uniqlo Unltra Light Down Compact Vest – £39.90. 6. Aspinal of London Double 6oz Leather Hip Flask in Vintage Tan Croc – £79

1.    It’s All About the Base

If you haven’t already embraced the base layer, prepare to discover your new secret weapon. Like a second skin, a good base layer fits unobtrusively beneath even the skinniest of jeans and acts as an indispensible layer of insulation. Icebreaker base layers are made from Merino wool, keeping you warm when it’s cold, and staying breathable when it gets warmer.

If you’d prefer a synthetic option. Under Armour do a killer range – apparently beloved of jockeys in the US. A top tip with base layers is to avoid cotton – if you’re moving around a lot and start to sweat, cotton will absorb that moisture and the fabric will become damp. Synthetic or wool base layers wick away sweat, so that you’re not left with an uncomfortable, damp layer next to your skin once you cool down.


2.    Find the Perfect Hat

It’s the races after all, the perfect excuse to don a hat. We love this Borsalino fedora from Lock & Co for a touch of dashing mystery. Made from rabbit fur felt, it will keep you warm too.


3.    Warm Your Extremities

I discovered the magic of hand and foot warmers while working in the costume department on a BBC drama series, during a particularly long, cold winter. We put them in the pockets of the actors ‘keep warms’ (warm jackets they wear over their costumes) and in their shoes to help keep them toasty (and happy) while sitting around on long breaks between takes. The disposable kind work excellently, but for a more elegant look, try Zippo’s reusable pocket furnace.

4.    Keep Warm While You Type

You may have your own private radiator going on in your pockets, but you can’t keep your hands in there all the time. You’ve got to check the racecard, use your phone, hold your drink – you’re going to need a good pair of gloves. The North Face eTip gloves are made of four-way stretch fleece with conductive technology to allow you to use any touchscreen without taking your gloves off.


5.    Layer Up

Crucial to combating the cold is keeping your core warm. Once your vital organs are roasty-toasty, your body will happily pump blood to your extremities to stave off numb finger and toes, and ultimately, frostbite. Slim, down-filled gilets are one of the most effective and chic ways to do this. 

So lightweight that they can be rolled up and tucked away in your bag, they fit discreetly under your normal jacket for the ultimate cosy-factor. Go crazy with a Moncler or keep it real with Uniqlo’s stylish collarless version.


6.    Share the Love

It wouldn’t be the races without a little something to warm the cockles. Aspinal of London’s double hip flask means you can give the choice of whisky or brandy, and keep everyone happy.

You may also like…

Join us on Facebook

Follow on Twitter