Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A day at the races

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend York Races Ladies' Day last week. It's quite a while since I went to the races, but it's always a fabulous day out and this was no exception.

The whole subject of horse racing is very nostalgic for me - my Dad was keen on the horses and was always studying the form on a Saturday. He liked to have a flutter and we always enjoyed the big races as a family - the Grand National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, etc. - but always on the telly, never at a race course. I've been to race days at Aintree since then, but this was my first visit to York.

I invited my very lovely friend Caroline to come with me because I knew we'd have a lot of fun and, after some discussion about the finer details* (Just how dressy is Ladies' Day? Knee length or maxi dress? Hat or fascinator? Take the train or drive? Pink champagne or sparkling wine?) we were excited about going.

My invitation came from Jaguar cars who were sponsoring one of the races and had some of their luxury cars on display, in particular their new XF Sportbrake estate car. Didn't know Jaguar did estate cars? No, neither did I.

The new Jaguar XF Sportbrake estate car.
If you're looking for inspiration for my Christmas present,
look no further. I don't mind which colour.
We had a modest bet on each of the six races but for the Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes there was one horse that seemed perfect for a joint flutter.  'All fur coat and no knickers' is a very northern expression and was just right for a Geordie and a Scouser. Unfortunately, it wasn't placed but not to worry as Caroline had backed the winner and won a very tidy sum.

There's something very unique about the atmosphere on a race day.  All of the different elements combine to make a really special event: the betting systems, the fashions, hats, the excitement and (hopefully) picking up a few bob from the bookies and best of all enjoying the equine beauty and power at close range and the roar of the crowd as the horses near the finish line.

We had a really enjoyable day despite dodging the rain and even managed to come home with some winnings. We're already planning our next trip!


*My first reaction after being invited was "Yes!" quickly followed by "What on earth am I going to wear?"

That problem was quickly resolved by the lovely people at Boden who not only made some suggestions, but sent me their beautiful Poppy dress to wear. I complemented it with a fascinator rather than a hat and black wedges and was more dressed up than I had been in ages.

I'm glad I made the effort because Ladies' Day was a fabulous, colourful display of beautiful hats and fashions and everyone scrubbed up very well, including me. Thank you Boden!

Disclosure: in case you hadn't noticed this post is sponsored. However, we supplied our own pink champagne.