Cheltenham Racecourse Ladies Day

Ladies Day at Cheltenham races is all about dressing up and pulling out all of the stops to look fabulous, socialising, spending and having a great time. Whether you want to place a few penny bets or spend thousands, there are row upon row of bookies waiting to take your stake, hats flying, fists pumping and crowds cheering as hooves stamp past and cameras spin around the course catching every spine-tingling second of the ecstatic action.

Cheltenham Racecourse Ladies Day

Cheltenham Racecourse Ladies Day

I know very little about horse racing, and have the worst luck with gambling and betting, hence why I never do it. I also never play the lottery and have only ever won £1.00 on a scratchcard. I usually place a couple of pounds bet on a horse each year for the grand national, choosing my rider purely based on their name which is often in favour of my children, a pet or simply because it sounds fun. Which probably explains why I usually always lose!

I arrived around 10:30am so that I could park in one of the Cheltenham Racecourse car parks which cost £10.00 per car for the day and is the closest you can get to the track. I had a Club Enclosure pass costing £75.00 allowing the widest choice of viewing and refreshment options, including access to the main grandstand viewing steps and lawn in the Paddock and Winners Enclosure viewing steps to study the horses pre and post-race, the centre of the course by the final fence with weather permitting, a wide choice of bars, betting and eating options and all the bookmakers in the betting ring, extensive totepool betting facilities, The Centaur and the Hall of Fame and a number of trade stands. Other ticket options available include the Tattersalls costing £49.00 and the Best Mate costing £35.00.

When placing my bets this time I employed alternative tactics, and before heading to the kiosk I asked a friend to give me a heads up on who should win, and I have absolutely no idea how he decided, but he text me over a list of four names and I held my phone up to the bookkeeper behind the glass who printed out my race slips. She advised me if I wanted to bet on a horse from each race I’d need to pick an additional three, for which I had a peek in the paper and chose my three favourite names. Rather than betting on the horses to win, I chose to bet each way which meant that I would get a payout if they came in any of the first four places. It made my final win amount less than that of a straight win bet, but greatly improved my odds. We all have to start somewhere don’t we!

There were seven races in total across the afternoon, starting with the first race at 13:30 and the last at 17:15. The seven horses I chose were:

Race 1: Nicholas Canyon (winner)
Race 2: Kings Palace (winner)
Race 3: Aux Petits Soins
Race 4: Sprinter Sacre
Race 5: Uncle Junior (winner)
Race 6: The Saint James (winner)
Race 7: Wait For Me (winner)

Of the seven horses I bet, somehow five of them got a place and I got all of my money that I bet back and then some! The thrill of having a horse come in is insane, as the horses pelt around the track large screens display the numbers in the first four places which change rapidly as they jump hedges, ease around corners and go guns blazing down the straight. One minute your horse could be first and the next last, it can all change so easily. Some horses fall, some are non-runners, some rogue runners jumping across the track without their jockey and others struggle to keep up with the rest. But regardless of where your horse comes the sea of people all cheering, shouting and clapping creates such a hair raising atmosphere.

I wouldn’t normally stand in a crowd and scream and shout, but I found myself teetering in heels alongside the race track waving my betting slip and cheering “Come on Uncle Junior! Give it some boy!” as I was swept away by the sheer excitement of thousands of people doing the same. Inbetween races there are twenty or so minutes to go and put on another bet, fetch a coffee or visit the toilets. I enjoyed many a green tea and sugar doughnut sitting out on the terrace, comparing bets with fellow racegoers and speed drinking double vodkas before heading back to the track as no drinks are allowed outside of the bars.

Despite knowing nothing about horse racing before I came to Cheltenham, I learned so much in just one afternoon, and found myself chatting feverishly to whoever I stood next to because everybody was so cheerful and welcoming. I was fascinated to discover the jockeys are weighed before racing for which lead is used to weigh down the horse to ensure a fair race and handicap for all. The majority of the horses were male and between five to ten years old, and jockeys pocket around £40,000 for coming first place in a race.

For somebody who has always had the worst luck with gambling I had such a fantastic day, didn’t stop smiling and laughing the entire time, met some amazing people, got into the spirit of the event and came home with more money than what I went out with. Now that’s certainly a turn out for the books!
Twitter: @CheltenhamRaces
Facebook: /thehomeofjumpracing


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Tracy Kiss

Social influencer, Bodybuilder, Mother, Vegan
London, UK

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