Racing fan jetting 1,000 miles to Doncaster Racecourse in row over dress code

A racing fan flying 1,000 miles to Doncaster Racecourse for a stag do this weekend has blasted the venue for refusing to budge on its strict dress code.

Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 2:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 2:51 pm
Racing fan Mark Matthews is angry that Doncaster Racecourse won't relax its dress code.
Racing fan Mark Matthews is angry that Doncaster Racecourse won't relax its dress code.

Businessman Mark Matthews is flying in from Prague in the Czech Republic for this weekend's meeting at Town Moor and contacted racecourse staff ahead of his journey asking to be exempt from the course's jacket and tie regulations.

He explained: " I live in Prague and have restrictions on hand luggage and therefore would not be able to bring a suit.

"I told them I would be wearing a pair of smart dark jeans which I will then recycle for an evening out in Leeds.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"I told them that included in my ensemble would be a natty blazer and I'm confident I would look as smart if not smarter than many other racegoers in ill-fitting suits.

"But I was told no special dispensation would be given to me as all the security have been briefed to deny access to anyone wearing denim."

Mr Matthews, who grew up in Stratford upon Avon, has worked in the Czech Republic for the last 13 years as a site director for an outsourced call centre and says that this weekend will be his first ever visit to Doncaster.

He is one of a group of 22 people coming to Town Moor for the stag party - but is the only one in the party travelling from overseas, arriving in Doncaster after a two hour flight.

The group have tickets for the County Enclosure where rules insists racegoers wear smart clothes - although other parts of the course do allow jeans and casual clothing.

Added Mr Matthews, 41: "They suggested I wear Chinos but I do not own a pair of Chinos and will not be investing in a pair.

"I don't want to fly in a suit as it would just get crumpled and also I'd have to wear it back on Sunday morning, otherwise it would get stuffed into a holdall.

"I realise I could just wear a pair of suit trousers and no jacket but that's what irks me. I will be much smarter in a pair of dark jeans and blazer that I'll happily wear on the plane as it's smart causal wear and I can also wear the same outfit on Saturday night."

Mr Matthews contacted the Racecourse asking them to relax the rules but was told that no exceptions could be made.

"I think the general manager must be a fully paid up member of the stuffy brigade who doesn't understand his responsibility to encourage people to come racing. I've been to the last 22 Cheltenham Festivals and never been told what to wear," he added.

A spokesman for Doncaster Racecourse said: “Our dress code clearly states that customers who wish to watch the racing from the County Enclosure must wear smart attire, which does not include jeans, sportswear or trainers.

"We regret that we cannot make exceptions to this rule, even for people who may have travelled a long distance to enjoy the racing.”