A Day at the Races - Sandown Park Elmbridge Community Raceday

Sandown Park, famous around the world for hosting the notorious Coral-Eclipse and equally famous for being the Queen’s mother’s favourite racecourse, was our place of residence yesterday afternoon for the Elmbridge Community Raceday.

Transport to the racecourse is easily accessible from London. Direct trains from Waterloo go to Esher. From Esher station it is a short walk (around 10 minutes or so) to the racecourse itself. Likewise, for those who decide to drive there is plenty of parking in the course itself.

The day started off the way every race day should do “2 pints of Doom Bar, please”. I was pleasantly surprised that sandown now has an ale bar, propped up in the center of the main hall. As far as I know this is a unique addition to any racecourse I have been to, and a welcome one at that. The bar itself sells a variety of ales, one for everyone's tastes. Prices tend to be consistent with every racecourse.

As my colleague and I nursed our first pints of bitter we proceeded to sit by the parade ring. Pulling out our race card we were determined to pick the winners! Racing Breaks ambassador Jim Crowley was riding in the first on May Girl (6/1). Having done our further research we were confident of it’s potential and proceeded to back it. £5ew returned potential winnings of £35!


This short 5f sprint was over in a flash (quite literally, it was a photo finish). Jim had done it yet again! A few scattered cheers went up as the decision was announced over the PA system. Clearly, not a popular horse to back with the punters. This called for a celebratory glass of champagne.


The next race featured the highly rated Joshua Reynolds. Initially backing this favourite, I decided to change my mind very last minute. Terrible mistake. Instead, I lumped my previous winnings on Duke Of Bronte off the advice of one of my other colleagues via a Whatsapp message. In the end, Joshua Reynolds cruised home for the win with Duke Of Bronte probably still running around the track as I type. Moral of the story? Never listen to your work colleagues.

And this was a sign of things to come. Having tasted initial success in the first, the third, fourth and fifth all followed the theme of the second. Backing the wrong horse. It wasn’t until the sixth when we finally called the next winner (Finale, 11/10). Pun fully intended. Although, the little money we won on this horse was all wasted backing Alemaratalyoum (9/4) in the last.

Despite turning our pockets out only for dust and moths to fly away, we left Sandown in high spirits. Just like the Queen's mother, Sandown is one of my favourite racecourse and one I cannot wait to attend again on the 10th August for an evening at the races with Olly Murs. I just hope next time I can back some more winners.

Sam Hitchmough