Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - A day at the races Part 1

A day out with my family.

Well, we got to the races early, no problems on the way, and the sun decided to make an appearance. 

Our first point of call was to purchase a race card. Anticipation running high. Would we pay for the day - one good win will save the day! 

On the contrary, going racing can be a great family day out. It can be fun and interesting for kids and first-time racegoers alike. 

There is so much to take in and learn. The number of times people have approached me on course or in the stands to help explain something in the race cards they just don’t get or understand. 

We’ve got our information book (race card), now we're off to find a nice place to sit and enjoy a drink, a cup of tea for me, coffee for Nan (whose doing all the studying), and a fruit shoot for our little granddaughter. It's her first time at Uttoxeter. Of course, the majority of the crowd go for something a wee bit stronger. 

The first race is approaching and we make our way to the parade ring, there is a pre-parade ring where you can see the saddling area. I would suggest on your first visit to try it out. As the horses leave the pre-parade ring one by one they enter the Parade ring proper. The area is full of people holding race cards looking at each runner. ''He’s big and looks ready, doesn’t she look superb,'' you hear all kinds of comments. 

The mums and dads asking their children which one they fancy. The younger children choose a number, number six seems a good choice. As number six passes by you hear the cry: “Here’s yours Sarah” “Oh mum, is that mine, the white one” “Yes Sarah, but they call it a grey. It's a little bit confusing if the horse has white hair but the skin of the horse is black it is called a grey, to be called a white horse the skin would be pink ” 

On this first day at Uttoxeter with my granddaughter, she was only three, made me smile. I did as all the others and asked her which horse she wanted “I want number eight, the one with a plaster on his nose” of course it was a noseband. She followed up with “has he been fighting?”

In the parade ring are all the owners and connections proudly eyeing their charges. The jockeys arrive in their owner's colours. On an educational point, all this can be made interesting when explained to a child, the why and how owners choose the colours, how they even choose the horses name. The history, there is so much more than placing a bet, watch the race win or lose. Back to the jockeys having entered the parade ring, making their way over to the owners, shaking of hands, last minute instructions from the trainer. Then the bell is rung and “jockeys mount” is called. 

One by one the horse and jockey go through the gates to enter the course and canter to post. All the racegoers walk to find their watching point, last minute bets are struck. We’re getting close to “off” time one last chance to see your horse canter past the stands. There’s a buzz going around the course everyone is ready “They’re OFF is heard the crowd roar. 

Next time the race itself. 

God bless. In memory to Eric A. who sadly passed away April 2019. A lovely man who will be sadly missed. Condolences to family and friends.