A consultant surgeon, Rebecca Dunlop, has warned racegoers that they shouldn’t wrap dog-leashes around their fingers for fear that they could incur serious hand injuries. Thousands of people could be at risk from lacerations, friction burns, fractures and ligament injuries. Assuming of course, they own a dog.
Maybe she was warning all dog-owners, not just racegoers, because when I looked further into the story it materialised that Rebecca Dunlop wields her scalpel in the hospitals of Cornwall and she’s witnessed 30 dog-related hand injuries in the last year. But in any case, the advice is relevant because one of the most frequently asked question at racecourses during the lead-up to Whit Holiday Weekend is: Can I bring my dog?
The answer at Kelso, where we race on Sunday, and at Cartmel where they race on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday is: Yes! As long as you keep it on a leash.
But with so much food being consumed on the racecourse, including our famous Yorkshire Pudding wraps at Kelso (the Kelsae Yorkie) and the picnics at Cartmel, those leashes are constantly strained.
The simple turning of a sausage on the BBQ in the trackside parking area can cause a major incident, with dogs leaping wildly in unexpected directions. So to avoid dislocating your fingers, the advice is to grip your dog-lead firmly, but don’t wrap it around your fingers. And if you have one of those extendable dog-leads, don’t allow it to get too long as it’ll simply wrap around the legs of other racegoers, which will create carnage.
Following the question about dogs, the next most frequently asked is: What’s the dress code? Which is topical because the English Bowling Federation has just announced that it is going to allow players to wear shorts for the first time, instead of long trousers. So if the EBF can change their dress code after 2,000 years of action on Britain’s finest lawns, then surely anything goes. Or almost anything, because apparently the relaxation of the rules applies only to men and not to women.
Racecourses tend not to be quite so strict – but remember that the Kelso meeting on Sunday is Ladies Day, so there are some great prizes for the best dressed lady, the most stylish man, the best dressed couple and the racegoer wearing the best hat. Cartmel’s Ladies Night is on Wednesday, but if you’re planning on attending the fixtures there on either Saturday or Monday, the dress code is more relaxed – make sure that you do at least put on some clothes, because ‘naked’ isn’t a look that tends to impress the racecourse gate-staff. If you’re dining in any of the restaurants or hospitality areas then you’ll fit in best if you’re smartly dressed.
But most important of all, dress appropriately for the conditions. If it looks like rain, bring a coat and some sensible flat shoes or boots; there’s nothing sadder than watching racegoers getting stuck in their high-heels, male or female. If it’s sunny, bring sunglasses and a hat.
The other question that everyone asks is: Can you give me a winner?
To which the answer is: Naturally!
Look no further than Morning Royalty, the James Moffatt trained course specialist at Cartmel on Saturday. Double up with Cultram Abbey, the Kelso specialist, running here on Sunday. Go on! Let yourself off the leash, bring a spare pair of shoes and fill your boots.