Top 10 ways to spend your time at the Greatest show on Turf
I am sadly only going to one day of the festival this year. I normally do all four if I can. Unfortunately this year and last my turn out has been less than satisfactory.
Last year I only went to the Gold Cup because I had the small problem of a hefty 15,000-word dissertation to contend with. This year I am on a masters and I’m not sure taking four days off for horse racing will really cut it. Which is a shame
But in my absence I thought I would give you lucky people who have the privilege to attend the best sporting event of the calendar some pointers of how best to spend your time.
1. Make sure you pay a visit to the pre-parade ring. There is nothing better than seeing the trainers final prep before the big race in the saddling enclosure. You catch a glimpse of the some weird and wonderful routines each trainer has. But also to see the horses before they come out in front of the big crowds it can really give you some good inspiration in terms of betting.
2. Watch the Cross-Country race from the middle of the course. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching the chaotic events of the cross-country race unfold before your very eyes. If you go to the centre of the course to enjoy this spectacle you can get so close that you may even have splatterings of mud on you when you return to the centre. There is even a bookie over there in case you want a cheeky bet.
3. Watch the Gold Cup from the lawn. There is no better place in terms of atmosphere. But a warning…before you have a rant about a horse that may have lost you a packet have a look round first. Often many of the trainers watch from the lawn so it’s likely you will be rubbing shoulders with racing royalty.
4. Spend some time in the fun areas of the course. Go and spend your winnings in the Guinness Village. The Guinness might be overpriced but it still tastes just as good. The Arkle bar is a good place to quench your thirst and the good news is you’re only a stones throw away from the winning post.
5. Have a wonder round the Hall of Fame. This is a great museum right on your doorstep. Wonder through the halls where you are surrounded by colours of former Gold Cup winners right from Red Splash in 1924 taking you all the way up to Synchronised in 2012. This is great place to pass the time if the weather is bad, but also if you just have a free moment.
6. Have your picture taken with the various statues dotted around the course. You have a plethora of greats from old and new. Have a picture snapped with the great Golden Miller or the beautiful mare Dawn Run.
7. Have a bet on a horse just because you like the name. I went to the festival one year with a group of friends who did not know a huge amount about racing. One friend placed a bet on Bertie’s Dream at 33-1 and came away 80 quid better off.
8. Go to the Best Mate statue. Every year there is a band around the 3 times Gold cup winner Best Mate’s statue. They normally have a poem read out about his wins. It’s a nice way to spend some time while waiting around for the next race.
9. Hit the shops. This is a good way to spend time waiting at the end of the day if you hate traffic jams. Wonder aimlessly through the shopping district. But men are warned if they take along their wives or girlfriends, it’s unlikely you will leave with the day’s winnings!
10. Finally…Make sure you do enjoy every race of the meeting whether they be Grade One’s, Handicaps or Amateur races because it truly is the Greatest show on Turf….