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Dr John Hawkins

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Cheltenham Festival - Ladies Day

Posted on 2012/03/25 11:32:03 (March 2012).

[Wednesday 14th March 2012]
Ever on the look out for more excuses to wear my suit, and to mingle with the tweed wearing classes, I had on a bit of a whim booked for Chie and I to attend the Cheltenham Festival today. I suppose it was a sort of a birthday outing as well, albeit the day before the actual day. A friend from work was also keen to go, and so it made for rather a nice day out.

We got the coach on the way there, it wouldn't really have been my first choice, but it was by far the most convenient - we can walk to Victoria Coach station, and from there it took us directly to the racecourse. This was a slight concern as it seemed like lots of the other people on the coach weren't really dressed up at all - but then I reassured myself that, being on a coach in the first place, we were observing a somewhat biased sample.

The Festival does seem to attract a very broad spectrum of visitors, and is a clear reminder that the class system is still very much with us. There are three main enclosures (the "Best Mates", the Tattersalls and the Club enclosure) and then beyond that there are even more echelons of restaurants and private boxes, some of them charging astronomical fees. We went for the Club enclosure which was the most expensive of the three enclosures, but still seemed "cheap" compared to the exorbitant fees paid for a table in one of the restaurants, or a private box. Even within the Club enclosure there seemed to be multiple choices of venue for refreshments which were clearly aimed at different demographics - the proportion of tweeds and fancy hats was significantly higher in the Golden Miller bar (serving almost exclusively Champagne) than it was in the Arkle bar (more a Guinness sort of place). I could quite happily have ignored the horse racing altogether and just spent the whole day engaged in social observation - I found it quite fascinating.

Of course, since we were here we thought we ought to have a flutter. That word is of course used by people who are trying to imply they aren't really taking it seriously, but I for one wasn't prepared to just throw money away with at least an allusion to having made an informed choice. So, like many other race goers (and apparently the Queen, every day) I'd bought a copy of the Racing Post this morning, and had picked all the horses I was going to bet on based on that. All of my bets were very small, but I managed to pick winners in four our of the six races, and so came away with a "profit" of 90, with which I was rather pleased. This just about covered the Champagne bill for the day.

So it was rather a fun day out. Although I have to admit it playing a bit on my conscience as a vegetarian - it is pretty dangerous for the horses of course. For that reason I'm not sure if I'd go again.

We got a lift with my friend from work on the way back, and stopped off for dinner at a little country pub called the Royal Oak, in Andoversford.



Comment 1

I have to hand it to you, John-me-boy. You're one dapper mother fucker.

Posted by Rob Lang at 2012/03/29 16:50:44.

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