A bracing wind and cold temperatures this time of year do not stop the hardiest of horse racing fans from going along to a local raceday meeting.
Racing anoraks, pensioners, racehorse owners and families rub shoulders across the UK and there is no reason why anyone would not enjoy a day out at the races.
Weather aside, a trip to nearby Plumpton Racecourse is easy to organise. The London Victoria train from Eastbourne offers a fast way to the East Sussex racetrack.
For just over £10, a return ticket can be purchased and as I’ve seen on previous occasions, the train-travelling racegoers enjoy nothing more than studying the form during the 30 minute journey, which passes in seemingly no time.
On arriving at Plumpton train station, you are greeted by the vision of the white plastic-coated railings alongside brush hurdles and fences as the platform runs alongside the racetrack, so a short three minute walk parallel to the home straight enables racegoers to reach the enclosure gates with ease.
Ticket prices are reasonable and very good value. In fact, you pay half the price and some say, receive double the entertainment when comparing a day at the races to visiting a Premier League or Football League fixture.
Booking in advance is advised, as small savings can be made, while the postage delivery of your ticket enables you to avoid queues when entering the racetrack. Advanced prices for the Grandstand and Paddock enclosure are £14, which includes a free colour race programme listing the day’s runners and riders and free car parking if you wish to travel in that manner, as Plumpton Racecourse is a 45 minute drive from Eastbourne.
Once entering the track, you sense a real anticipation as punters await the opportunity to make a worthwhile profit. However, the experience of going to the races is not all about gambling.
A day at the races offers the opportunity to be within touching distance of some of the most expensive, exhilarating and admirable thoroughbreds in the world.
This is what makes going racing unique and sets it apart from other sports. And Plumpton is the perfect local track to hear the sounds of hooves, screams of jockeys and cheers from the ever-enthusiastic crowds. With such a compact on-course layout, it is simple to walk between facilities and the small pre-parade and much more spacious paddock offer the opportunity for racegoers to see the horse that takes their fancy.
All generations enjoy the close proximity to the horses on offer at Plumpton and the winners enclosure also enables racegoers to applaud race winners and listen to the post-race views of the horse’s trainer, jockey and owners.
Plumpton Racecourse is renowned for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Before even stepping foot on the racecourse, racing commuters spoke freely on the train about the day’s forthcoming events and shared their views on what might lie ahead.
When walking around bars, the Betfred betting shop and in front of the stands, the general public seem to engage and enjoy each other’s company. All genders and ages make the most of their day and mix well in what is a unique yet highly enjoyable atmosphere.
Once the horses leave the paddock and walk out in front of the grandstands, people have no trouble in finding a perching point to view the race.
With three separate stands, it is easy to find a good spot to watch and it is possible to view the majority of the race from the stands as the viewing is superb.
Even so, Plumpton Racecourse provide a big televised screen on the opposite side of the course so that racegoers have the option to either watch every moment on screen or use their own views to watch the race pan out. In between races, the on course facilities, including bars, restaurants and mobile food outlets offer racegoers catering, while multiple toilet facilities are also easily accessible on course.
However, racing enthusiasts will be seen to flock around the paddock in between races as they inspect the next array of horseflesh that greets them.
Themed racedays are extremely popular.
Anglo Irish Raceday, Easter Sunday and Monday Family Fundays, Rock and Roll Racenight and Ladies Day coming to Plumpton before the track shuts down for its annual summer break before re-opening towards the end of September.
Easy and cheap access, picturesque views and a unique experience like no other, Eastbourne citizens should take every opportunity to go along to a raceday at Plumpton in the near future, as the well-organised local track offers an excellent day out and deserves to be supported by those who live in the local area.