A Day At The Races.

1 The racecourse and all its glory.

2 New stands and walkway.

3 Overlooking winner's enclosure and weighing room.

4 Overlooking parade ring.

5 Overlooking the course and' Best Mate' enclosure.

6 Going out onto the course.

7 The big winner "Smad Lane " comes back.

8 Coming back to the applause.

9  The infamous buffalo coat still on show.

Yesterday d.  and I went to Cheltenham Races. It was Festival Trials day; being the last chance for the horses to test themselves on the course before the big festival in March.

Also for one admission price ,one has access to virtually all parts of the ground, saving the corporate boxes and restaurants.

Neither of us had been for a few years and I was keen to view the recently built new stand and walkway (pic 2 ) , allowing through passage to the paddock .

The day started with a scare, due to 15mm of rain being dumped upon the course during the night. Parts of the course were waterlogged and a ten 'o clock inspection was called for.

As a result of this inspection racing got the all-clear, but a fence,  in the home straight was dolled off and not jumped.

I was hoping during the afternoon to cross the course between races to view up close the last fence, but the ground conditions prevented this from happening.

By the time we arrived the sun was out. The conditions clear and cold, ideal for photographs.
We joined the throng by the entrance hall.   d had her handbag searched. Wine gums were discovered. " you can't bring those sweets in here, " said the security man. 
" But it's for my Dad, whose diabetic, " said d disbelievingly .

Words were spoken and a 'senior ' man waved us through. Ridiculous or what?

Joining the queue for tickets we waited patiently. It was d who noticed that everyone around her apparently had tickets in their hands. Warning bells sounded.

"Oh no " said a guard " you can't buy tickets here. You will have to go back until you see a mobile ticket office in front of you."

So we trotted back until the caravan was spotted, where guess what, we joined another queue. If that wasn't bad enough I saw the price for admission was £30. When I had previously looked online at the Cheltenham Races website two days ago, it had said £25.

This struck me as odd. I was not a happy bunny.

Anyway, after running the security gauntlet again, we managed to gain access to the course.
What a spectacle it looked ( see photo 1 ) nestling in the bowl of Cleve Hill. A sight to gladden the eyes and quicken the pulses. It was good to be in Tattersalls in order to gain  elevation over the course. I looked across the track to the  cheaper Best Mate enclosure,  ( photo 5 )  where I will be heading on my next visit. At half the price and arguably better viewing, with less walking, it takes some beating.
Interestingly, it is already sold out for Gold Cup day.

But we were here in ' Tatts' to view the extra facilities, especially the overhead walkway, which  allows progress from the new stand to overlook the paddock area. which  certainly gives a new perspective and allows great views to paddock, winners' enclosure and weighing room.  ( photos  3 and 4 )

Very impressive indeed; although I thought it was  originally going to be a covered walkway, in order to shelter the public from inclement conditions. Perhaps this will happen at a future time.

The rest of the afternoon went smoothly. The racing was sublime. What magnificent creatures they are.
The grey ' Smad Lane' won the big 'chase and  led from start to finish ( photo 7 ). I naturally backed the second- oh well; but d had a winner and dutifully joined a bookies queue, for the right reason, the payout!

We had a good view of the horses going out to post and returning from their exertions. ( photos 6 and 8 ).
Finally it was great to see the national racing ' treasure ' himself, John McCririck ( Big Mac ) at the races, still resplendent in his 'buffalo' coat and deer-stalker.( photo 9)

A good end to a busy, yet tiring day.


Well welcome to February , a' tricky chap' of a month, especially this leap year.
Oh well enjoy and endure, 
Cheerio for now


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