We have been to hell and back for the past year or so but there is light at the end of the tunnel. It feels like an eternity since I personally have been to a racecourse, but restrictions will hopefully loosen before the summer. When that does happen, there are five tracks in Ireland and Britain that I would recommend. Put these five courses on your must-visit list this year.
Brighton: what a view
Brighton Racecourse is one of the most exciting, vibrant, race tracks in England. Its incredible location by the sea is perfect for a great day out with corporate clients, friends or family. It is without doubt one of the most picturesque settings you will see anywhere. It is situated on Whitehawk Hill and dates way back to 1783. The track is quite unique, as it is one of the few British courses not to have a complete circuit. It has an undulating, left-handed, horseshoe-shaped course of one mile four furlongs in length.
Cartmel: bring a picnic
There is a very long tradition of racing at Cartmel. It was all started by the monks from Cartmel Priory way back in the 12th Century. Since 1856, the Whit Holiday Races have been a feature of the Racing Calendar. There are usually nine race days to enjoy each year at Cartmel. The racecourse is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Lakeland fells. On a hot summer’s day, this place is hard to beat. Cartmel is also the home of sticky toffee pudding and there is a michelin star restaurant there. Anyone who likes food and racing will love it here. The track itself is a sharp left-handed circuit that really suits a front runner.
Chester: a touch of class
Established way back in 1539, Chester Racecourse last year celebrated 481 years of racing on the Roodee. This stunning racecourse is now officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the Oldest Racecourse in the world, still in operation. When the weather is good, this place is absolutely beautiful. It is a short walk from the centre of the town and people really dress for the occasion here so get that suit or dress out. Betting here is a lot of fun too – the course is a very sharp left-handed course. You must be drawn low here over sprint trips to have any chance.
Galway: the best place for the craic
If you like a busy betting ring, a good flock of pints and a great atmosphere, then Galway is the place for you. The summer festival at Galway lasts seven days. Ballybrit plays host to an incredible week of racing. After the races, the crowd go straight for the city to have a mental night out. If you are looking for a quiet day at the races, this is not for you. The craic is mighty, the pints flow, the food is great and the people are friendly. On Saturday’s there is a superb deal for the hospitality package. For €85 per person, you get entry, a five course meal with wine, panoramic views of the course and a great bar service.
Killarney: the most beautiful place on earth
Without doubt one of the world’s most picturesque tracks, Killarney is the perfect venue for an evening of summer racing. They host summer festivals in mid-May, mid-July, and there is now a third festival in August after the closure of Tralee racecourse in 2007. Nestled in a comfortable hole close to the nearby lakes and mountains, Killarney has its own micro-climate. When the weather is beautiful, the backdrop of the mountains and lakes in the distance is is spectacular. The town itself is arguably the best town in Ireland and offers incredible options for a drink and a bite to eat. You will bump into a lot of Yanks.