It was smiles all round at Cheltenham today as the Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips and his estranged wife Autumn roared on a winner alongside thousands of happy racegoers.
The couple, who announced their separation last month, looked happy together as they strode into Prestbury Park side-by-side.
It is the first time Autumn, 41, has been seen in public since they announced their split, and appeared to not be wearing a wedding ring.
They were joined in a box by Peter’s mother Princess Anne and together they roared with excitement as a winner romped home.
Although the Princess Royal did appear to be carrying a winter cold as she was pictured blowing her nose at one point.
The famous course is just a short hop from Princess Anne’s Gloucestershire estate Gatcombe Park where the now separated couple continue to live with their two daughters.
Elsewhere more than 60,664 eager punters filled the course defying any fear of coronavirus although that figure was down somewhat from 66,000 last year.
Race chiefs have put in a raft of measures to put punters at ease such as hand sanitising stations and more staff to support cleaning efforts of the 2,200 toilets.
There was also pop-up a pharmacy on site offering punters various medical supplies including Barocca, Anadin, Kleenex, toothpaste, and even glasses.
But fears of the virus were at the back of most people’s minds as they happily quaffed Guinness and placed bets while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Zara Phillips, Carol Vorderman, Jack Whitehall and the England Rugby team.
Bookies expected to take a huge £70m in bets today alone but are expecting to to see an astonishing £35,000 gambled per second while the industry as a whole looks set to sweep £300m with £30million being bet on Friday’s prestigious Gold Cup,
Today hot favourite Rachael Blackmore, who was tipped to become the first female jockey to win top jockey during the week, started badly with a fall in the first of her four races.
She rallied to win the third only to come well behind in her final ride of the day but could still pull off the feat in her remaining races this week.
Even more glamour is expected to be added to the course today with Ladies Day where women dress to impress in stylish and glamorous outfits.
As well as prizes for the racing, there are awards for best dressed lady, best accessories and best hat.
On the course punters will be looking for a real life fairytale in the form Décor Irlandais who was bought for a bargain basement £1,000 and could win at Cheltenham later in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Trainer Noel Kelly said: “Cheltenham means everything to us. All the time in your life you’re always looking at the Cheltenham races. And for the likes of us, a small yard and small owners, we can’t wait for Cheltenham.
"Cheltenham is a massive thing for us.
“I bought her for a thousand pounds. You don’t get as many horses as lucky as him coming into the yard that head to Cheltenham for that type of money.”
Owner Caroline Devine said “I just love horseracing. If I could afford it, I would go every day of the week! It’s just unbelievable to say that.
“You have a horse running at Cheltenham. I can’t wait now to just get there and see what the whole atmosphere is like.”
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