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The Weekly Blog

Life’s a Picnic at the Races

Life’s a picnic. As soon as we’re old enough to cut the parental apron strings, we pick up our hampers and venture out into the World – never entirely sure what the contents might be until lunch time.

There’ll be treats, of course, like Mars Bar crispy cakes and days out at the Races. We know they’ll be there because, very often, we’ve prepared for them ourselves and have been looking forward to them for a long time in advance. If you prepare early enough, you might even have purchased your race tickets at a bargain price – here at Kelso Racecourse, we’ve recently put 3,000 tickets on sale at a discount of £10 per ticket (hurry while stocks last).

Sometimes there are treats that have been inserted into our hamper by others – like a surprise birthday party organised by friends or family. Yes – hospitality facilities are available at your local racecourse for this purpose too. Book now for 2019!

There’ll also be days when we eagerly unwrap our sandwiches and take a big bite, only to discover that we’ve allowed a bit of grit (or sand from the beach) to get into the filling. It’s surprising how even a tiny irritation can spoil an entire day – according to some readers, the form of my weekly selections (this Saturday’s is Rashee at Perth) has spoilt their whole year. But that’s life – or picnics. Grit happens! There’s some consolation in the fact that, in almost all such cases, the situation can be improved by ensuring that there is always a small bottle, of decent Malt Whisky, hidden somewhere in the bottom of the hamper.

Everyone knows that the biggest picnic in the whole World happens at Cartmel every August Bank Holiday weekend. By definition, all life is there. The racecourse is a cauldron of bubbly fun with racegoers celebrating every event that you can think of: birthdays, anniversaries and wakes. Sometimes it’s just about getting together with old friends. And just as often, it’s about making new ones – as neighbouring picnickers lend each other bottle-openers or exchange recipes for coronation chicken.

From September this year, we’re going to bring just a little bit of Cartmel to Kelso Racecourse. We’re introducing a new picnic parking area in the home straight, about a furlong down from the finishing post. For the first time in many years, racegoers will be permitted to park near the running rail and enjoy a picnic before the racing starts.

The picnic enclosure, the only space on the racecourse in which racegoers are allowed to bring their own hampers, will be open on all race-days. And while some people have questioned whether there’d be any demand during the Winter, I’m already dreaming about turkey sandwiches at our festive meeting on 29th December – just one of those predicable elements of the life’s great picnic.

Parking spaces should be booked in advance, either online or by calling the racecourse office. Come and try it – because if you’re not picnicking, you ain’t living…

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