Whilst we were staying in our beautiful Dream Lodge at The Sanctuary we were invited to spend the day at Newbury Racecourse for Betfair Super Saturday. I don’t know much (or anything) about horse racing, but here are a few things I have picked up since spending the day at Newbury Racecourse…
1) Everybody you see is in a great mood, looking dapper & ready to enjoy the day. The atmosphere is brilliant.
2) It is ridiculously good fun reading through the book & picking your ‘winners’ – whether you follow the tips like Roy, or have a flutter based on names you think are charming like me, you really don’t need to know anything at all to get involved and have some fun
3) Seeing your horse win and then collecting the substantial sum of £10 will leave you giddy, feeling rich & like it should obviously be spent on fizz.
4) Children are made to feel so welcome and part of the day – the staff at Newbury racecourse were amazing with the girls. I would not hesitate in taking them back to Newbury for the day.
5) It would be nice if it was sunny, but if you are spending the day in a restaurant and only have to go outside for the races the weather doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to your enjoyment of the day.
The ground was soft because of the weather, so not ideal racing conditions, but it was lovely to see all of the horses and riders come back safely and in one piece. The rain didn’t stop them doing their job or us having a ball.
We arrived at the racecourse at about 12.00pm (gates open at 11.00am), accepted our Betfair scarfs as souvenir gifts and headed straight to The Racegoers Restaurant where we were spending the day. Within a minute of arriving at our table, a lovely waitress came and took our drinks orders, cooed over the girls and reassured us that there was no need to rush for food allowing us to sit back and relax for an hour or so before ordering.
The first race was at 1.30pm so being able to settle in first was perfect. Roy was able to explain to Bella what was going on, and I could begin emptying my suitcase worth of stuff I had brought along to bribe Penny with. The restaurant was full, the atmosphere was buzzing, and the staff were brilliantly attentive.
Bella’s excitement at picking horses was off the scale, and Penny was a happy little butterbean because a hen from a party had kindly given her a balloon to play with.
Before each race we would wrap up warm and head out to the balcony overlooking the course – a perfect viewing spot to enjoy the races. When we would return to our table, the staff were always on hand to see if we needed a top up or were ready to order our food.
Our friends arrived about an hour after us and after they had settled in we ordered our food. Penny had been eating consistently up until this point from her lunchbox while catching up on a bit of Peppa Pig so we thought this would be the best time for Roy to walk her to the on-site nursery for a couple of hours play.
She’s a confident and independent soul & she happily ran off playing as soon as she arrived. We left clear instructions that if she gets upset or goes quiet at all, to please just call us and we would pop back. We were not at all surprised that she stayed the 2 hour duration (which is the childcare you can get for free on your race day)
This meant we were all able to enjoy our meal without a toddler cruising from lap to lap, which I was very happy about as the food was delicious! You could choose between duck liver parfait and spiced butternut squash soup for the starter, the soup was perfect for a blustery day. A couple of us had roast fillet of Scottish salmon for main which melted in my mouth, and a couple had supreme of corn fed chicken.
Bella had sausage, mash and beans. She made a good attempt at it, but the portion size was very generous. For dessert it was either raspberry & vanilla cheesecake or spiced toffee and milk tart. All of which left spotlessly clean plates.
Bella ordered the coffee tart for dessert and the waiter was concerned it might be too rich for her, so he very kindly asked the kitchen to prepare her a fruit salad as well. This was totally unexpected and such a sweet gesture. She loved the dessert, and she loved the fruit salad so she happily ate both.
We finished our food and wrapped up ready for the next race. Seeing the huge field packed with horses for the 5th race, all out there doing their job and seemingly loving every minute was quite a spectacle and the cheers as they crossed the finish line left us all buzzing with excitement… even if we weren’t actually winning.
Towards the end of the afternoon we grabbed our brollies and took Bella to see the winners at the parade ring. We wanted her to feel the magic and the excitement up close. It was worth it as the horses were absolutely beautiful. They were the picture of strength and athleticism and it was a great experience watching them parade.
The day was such a success it’s made me, my family and friends alike all very excited to visit Newbury Racecourse again. They have a great calendar of events with race days every month, so if you are looking for a celebration with a difference pop along to their website and see what takes your fancy.