forrest boy

A day at the races

forrest boy

Yesterday I went to the races at Great Yarmouth, a seaside town on the north east coast of England about 3 hours from London.We’re visiting the inlaws staying at Bury St Edmunds , 2 hours from London and about 15 miles from Newmarket.
I managed to persuade my better half that Easter Monday at Yarmouth races might be my only chance to see horseracing on this side of the world. So we drove the hour and half to Great Yarmouth but first we visited the town which can be described in one word- tacky. Amusement parlours by the dozens with names such as Ceasar’s Fun Palace, takeaway joints selling overpriced hot dogs – tailor made for tourists like me.
Anyway we get to the racecourse and enter the one lane car park, bumper to bumper with the overriding thought of how are we going to get out of this place. £13 ( roughly A$26 )at the gate seemed a bit steep especially as the standard of horse wasn’t terribly exciting. Biggest purse for any race was about £3000.Caravans parked in the middle of the track – nice way for the club to earn a few quid though I couldn’t imagine it at Ballarat or Bendigo.
Bookies were in the open in front of the grandstand ( no seats in the grandstand either )Didn’t have a clue about the form so took the safe option and backed Frankie Dettori’s mount in the first. It ran nowhere which was a sign of things to come. You may have seen the english races on Sky and there is a man in a long white coat similar to the old VFL goal umpires standing on the track about 200 yards in front of the barriers. My missus was terribly worried he’d get trampled by the horses but thankfully he made it off in time. I think he might signal if it’s a false start but maybe Rex or Patsy could help there. Off for a beer and a choice between John Smiths Bitter which looked like a cross between Coopers Pale Ale and sludge or Fosters. Naturally enough I went for the John Smiths and it was actually quite good.
At the back of the grandstand my missus lined up for coffee. A spring day in Great Yarmouth was colder than any winters day in Melbourne. I was amazed to see the jockeys walk through the crowd to the weighing room. We had to make way for Jamie Spencer to pass by – just as well he got the favourite up or I couldn’t imagine the reception he may have received.
Other things I saw – the course broadcaster sending happy birthday greetings over the P.A, childrens races called by the course broadcaster ( boy, girl, girl, boy, boy , it’s the boy just in front etc ,he got more exited calling the kids ). a crowd of about 3 or 4000 rugged up against the cold reminding me of the old Olympic Park dogs in the middle of winter , races run every 30 minutes and competitive horse racing .It seemed to be a case of lets get on with the day and have a good time while we’re at it. Whilst none of the horses will get within a bulls roar of Royal Ascot and we didn't back a winner I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. As a sign on a bookies stand said- Remember a bad day at the races is better than a good day at work.
P.S we left after the second last to beat the car park jam . Unfortunately it seemed as though everyone else did as well.

zabenz

forrest boy

l noticed that Zabenz is running in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday. He's come a long way since winning the Grand National Hurdle at Flemington in 2002. Hope he makes it to the finish line safely.

Nathan Tinkler

forrest boy

Better watch out Anthony!
How long before Nathan Tinkler takes out an owner/trainer licence?

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