Cheltenham punters arrive at races SOAKED as girls courageous washout

THOUSANDS of fans are arriving at a washed out Cheltenham Festival this morning as Storm Gareth wreaks havoc on the opening day.

Spectators are braving heavy rain and 55mph winds to back booze, place bets and go all out at the major four-day jump racing fest.

Race-goers have been pictured arming themselves with umbrellas as they battle against the elements at the Cotswolds venue.

Some are going to extreme lengths to protect themselves from the muddy fields that have been soaked in rain all morning.

Ladies have been pictured wrapping plastic bags around their heels and holding their coats up aloft as the heavens continue to open.

Celebrities have been pictured arriving at the annual spectacular – including Made in Chelsea’s Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo and Countdown’s Carol Vorderman.

Singer Bonnie Tyler has been spotted too, along with ex-rugby player Jason Leonard and golfer Lee Westwood.

Daily Star Online warned earlier how Storm Gateth was set to sweep Britain today – with a weather warning hanging over the racecourse in Gloucestershire.

Horses are expected to run on soft ground,  with a 90% chance of a downfall before the first race today at 1.30pm

Tomorrow will see the ladies turn out in force on Ladies Day in the run-up to the crescendo that is the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

But with heavy rain forecast all week festival-goers are set for a soaking that could spark shock results at the races.