A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the races at Newbury Racecourse for the Al Shaqab Lockinge Day. I took along my friend and fellow blogger Kim from Romanov’s Views. We made a real day of it and set off nice and early for the 4 hour drive down. The train times were hit and miss and we would have missed the chance to be there on time and we would have had to leave really early too so driving was the easiest way.
Newbury Racecourse is indeed a day out that cannot be topped. Spending time with friends over great food and drink and having fun watching some fantastic equine action. Centred around the £350,000 Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes will be an outstanding seven-race card worth a total of £750,000.
After nearly 4 hours of driving, we arrived nice and early and made our way to the Fred Winter Suite as VIP guests. I felt very privileged to be invited into this room and it was absolutely beautiful. We arrived quite early behind a girl who I assumed was another blogger and were given the choice of rosé champagne or virgin cocktails. As I was driving I went for a virgin mohito which was delicious. Kim went for a pomegranate cocktail which was really fruity and she enjoyed it.
The minute our drinks got low, we were immediately topped up with more. We decided to stand out on the balcony and the sun was beaming down on us. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it was funny to hear that it was cold and wet back home! The suite got quite busy but we still managed to keep our places on the balcony and had a great view of the racecourse.
Food was served all day by waiters and waitresses that brought round trays of small food to try. There were plenty of gluten free options available too and staff were happy to find out what food were safe for Kim to eat as a coeliac. I tried so many different things. This was a tuna nicoise bowl which was delicious. We also had tandoori mango chicken with fried pita bread pieces, hoisin duck with noodles, oyster mushroom risotto and a beetroot and feta salad. Food was plentiful and the staff were bringing it round frequently.
Later on in the day, desserts were brought round. My favourite was this gorgeous chocolate brownie with clotted cream and a raspberry garnish. It was probably the best brownie I have ever had and tasted really fresh. I also had a mini crème brule. Kim could only have the crème brule and the eaton mess so she took a couple of bowls of each of those. There were also mini cupcakes!
We had such a great view of the racecourse from the balcony but later on in the day we decided to venture downstairs onto the grassed area right in front of the course. We had a walk around and saw some of the race horses up close and personal after they had made it into the top 3 of that particular race. They were so elegant and graceful and very well looked after.
We decided on the day that we wanted to make some bets, but had no idea what we were doing. Thankfully the man explained it to us and made it sort of clear and we decided to place £3 on an accumulator which would yield us great winnings. After the first race we were still in with a chance as our horse came second but after that it all went wrong. We didn’t mind too much as it meant we could leave whenever we wanted. The atmosphere when a race was on was absolutely amazing. People were cheering and shouting and there was a real buzz about the place. After the races there was live music but unfortunately with such a long journey home we had to leave before it started.
Overall I had a fantastic time at the races and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back. I was extremely lucky to be given the VIP treatment and this made the experience all the more fantastic. Thank you to Kim from Romanov’s Views for coming with me (and for some of the photos of us used in this post!) and to Newbury Racecourse for having us!
*I was provided with 2 tickets and travel expenses in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.