Not as a jockey, but as a spectator who has a little passion for betting on a few horses.
I was introduced to it a couple of years ago, and have absolutely fell in love with it. I will be up on a Saturday morning to watch the pundits on Channel 4 discuss the upcoming races, and then I am straight onto my Racing Post app to place a few bets. Fortunately, now I have a new phone it is even easier (though I don't know whether that is a good thing for my bank manager!).
The weekend started with us heading out into the East Sussex countryside to remind myself what freshair was like again, and explore Devils Dyke. This is probably one of the nicest places in the area, with views across the whole county and little tracks that keep you walking for hours, before heading back to catch some of the racing on TV.
We practiced our mooing with these guys
Then stopped for a break to take in the views.
We made friends with 4 horses who were in adjoining fields... Our Neyying was up to scratch too.
Within horse racing, the start of the jump season has just kicked off. For those who don't know, the season is split into the flat races (like Ascot), and jump season. The jump season is so much more exciting simply because you are gasping at how your horse came thisclose to not getting over a jump, or powering away from the field in the final furlong to win.
As we braced the wind and rain, we headed to Plumpton Racecourse for their first jump meet of the season. Plumpton is one of my favourite racecourses, due to the countryside location and locals that support the sport. You get a real sense of tradition, and the intimate venue makes you really feel part of the action.
So, with our open wallets and Ascot umbrella, we cheered, shouted and watch the odds go in and out, trying to decide when will be best to bet. Afterall, it's all about getting the best odds and winning, even if the boards hadn't been turned on yet...
The great thing about horse racing is you can watch the horses parade around the circle before the race. A handy tip, the best looking ones dont always win the race, the race card can give you tips on form and who is riding which horse.
Just don't make the mistake that a lady was, and ticking off each horse that she liked the look of, before wandering to place her bets.
After a bit of nail biting, deciding when the best moment to bet was so we could get the best odds, the racing started. With 8 races taking place, the odds changed from small (like 2-1) to large (like 100-1). The larger odds are the one who probably wouldnt win, but anything is possible, especially with different ground conditions.
With the race including jumps, the jockey sometimes comes unseated, or the horse falls. When that happens, its game over. The excitement and cheering really starts as the horses run past the grandstand, or just recovered from a near fall!
A quick pose and tweet to the racecourse twitter. Follow me here.
After the 8 races had came to an end, we counted up our winnings and headed back to the car. Our wallets a little heavier, our jeans a lot wetter, and a pocket full of betting slips.
All in all, another great day at the races!
Fortunately, a lot of the courses around the UK are full of spectators who enjoy the day and care about the horses welfare. Ascot day (with the drunken girls passed out on the floor) has given the feel of an excuse to get pissed up. However, go to a horse racing course and you will see that this is far from the truth. They are full of people who are genuinly interested in the sport, and enjoy the tradition and autenticity that it provides! Find out more at the British Horse Racing Authority.
Just remember your wellies on a rainy day!