UK racecourses tour
I’ve always had an interest in horseracing from childhood. However, the older I’ve become, the deeper I’ve fallen in love with the sport.
My horseracing adoration is complex, as there are more layers to it than an onion.
It starts with the planning. Which racecourse, how to get there, should I stay over, could I attend multi-meetings on consecutive days in the region?
Then it’s the anticipation of the raceday(s). Every UK track is unique. Am I going to any of the large racecourses with all their finery and facilities? Or perhaps a medium-sized course with its intimacy, yet retaining different services for every type of customer? Will it be a small track, quintessentially local, outsiders warmly welcomed but retains a strong parochial character with offerings to match?
On raceday, the pulse quickens, the breath shortens and the excitement peaks. To be able to take your time to study these magnificent creatures in the pre- & parade rings, to chat with complete strangers that share the same passion for horseracing as you, the ability to check the form guide for every race and make considered decisions in your own time. No manager to breath down your neck, no director to tell you what to do. Horseracing at its purest, is an unhurried, priceless, and simple pleasure.
Then for responsible people like me, the zenith of the experience. The betting. You know your limits and you know what you can afford to lose. You’ve already worked out your race selections. You also know how diligently you have worked for that money. You aren’t letting a penny go to the (mostly very friendly) on-course bookmakers until you have shopped around. You always walk around and check all their boards (mainly electronic displays these days) for the best price for your chosen horse. You walk up, be polite, place your bet and crucially check your receipt to confirm 100% accuracy before you take your leave from that bookie.
It’s race time! What I absolute love, is the variety of race distances, conditions, age restrictions, weight allowances, trainers, owners & jockeys which ensures that racing is never boring. Whilst that can be daunting at first, the more time you invest in learning, the more enjoyable your racedays are.
I’m so lucky in that my partner loves the whole experience as much as I do. That is why we have currently visited 42 of the 61 UK racecourses, and are determined to complete the full set. The heady combination of idiosyncratic tracks, different locations, topography, and facilities stimulate our senses like no other leisure activity.
There are only two of us (and on occasion, our two nephews). We know that we are not going to change to UK horseracing industry. However, if we continue to invest in the courses as customers and be constructively positive about the sport in all our contacts and dealings with people – familiar to us or not – then we are happy that we are doing our bit to improve this wonderfully inclusive sport. Prince, princess, or pauper, you are all welcome at the races.