Downpatrick Races

On Bank Holiday Monday, as a little extra birthday treat, Mum took me to the races at Downpatrick Race Course. Now, how should I describe my day? On the whole I enjoyed it.

I liked the general atmosphere of the place. And since it was Ladies’ Day, there was no paucity of ladies dressed up to the nines. There was no barrier or exclusive box to separate the nobs from the hoi-polloi and the ladies were free to circulate among the riff-raff.

Two things made it a less than ideal day for them. First was the weather, an overcast and blustery day with temperatures struggling to get above 15°C. Not what one would expect at Epsom or Royal Ascot. The other was their footwear. Some arbitrary and downright stupid rule dictates that ladies must wear high-heel pumps at all times, whether on solid concrete, on a deep gravel surface or on soft turf. It’s especially hard on ladies who don’t normally wear high heels. They don’t feel good, and, as I say, if you don’t feel good, you’re not going to look good.

I liked watching the races, but I’ve been reminded why I don’t gamble. If the horse you back doesn’t come anywhere in the race then your money is gone. And then there’s all the terminology and all the rules that come with it, odds, totes, placepots… I’ve never been interested and I’m not interested now. I’m well aware that gambling is endemic to racing. One can’t exist without the other, but there are so many better things to fritter away your precious money on, such as food.

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