On Wednesday evening, despite my lack of motivation to do much at all after a hard, long slog at work, my partner and I threw ourselves among the Cheltenham traffic and headed to the racecourse for the last meet of the season.
The weather has been notoriously temperamental for the last few days, metamorphosing from stunning sunlight burning our retinas to clouds so grey they’d give the Fifty Shades franchise a run for their money, and then to snowflakes the size of my fists before chucking in torrents of rain for good measure. This would be enough for any hardy person to keep their coats safely hung on their hooks as they hibernate away from it all indoors, and on a school night, too!
Alas, what a lovely sight though, to see so many of us sticking it to the rain and showering support to our British tradition of horse racing.
We live in a time of extreme social media use. Fantastic, to be sure, when it comes to everyday folk, like myself, having a platform to project their voice. But with that also comes the vast publication of negativity and pessimism, such as those intent on reeking havoc and destruction of our age-old British traditions. Horse racing has been one of those under fire in the last few months (well, years) the usual jibes at cruelty to horses, danger to jockeys etc. etc.
The turn out to the meet on Wednesday evening, even in poor conditions, proved to be a hurrah! for the noble sport, and the sun even eventually came to join the crowd and watch along.
The sport can be dated back to Egyptian times and Anglo-Saxon times, race horses were given as gifts to royalty because of the high esteem they held and James I made Newmarket the racing hub it has been for hundreds of years.
Horse racing isn’t just a hub for gambling, it’s a social scene for friends old and new, from all walks of life to get together. There’s food, auctions, shopping (festival week in particular is an Aladdin’s cave with brands such as Fairfax and Favor, Holland Cooper, Timothy Foxx, HiHo Silver to name but a few) and, of course, champagne. It is a celebration after all, not a condemnation.
It may be the end of a season, but there’s plenty of other Great British traditions in the area to tide us over until the October opening meet. Horse trials, country fairs, polo… let the bad press commence, does it mean anything to us anyway?