I’ll wear what I want to..
Newbury works hard. Not easy being the one down the road from Ascot. Host a very good winter festival and put up a pile of prize money, not always snapped up by connections. I saw a lot of happy faces in the crowd, yesterday enjoying three cracking handicaps won by the ambulances! They got stuck into the betting with gusto on those.
They’ve introduced a dress code for their members enclosure. Could hardly be described as draconian. Without boring you on the detail, – jeans are out, jacket and slacks are in. You don’t need a tie. Girls aren’t allowed to wear very short skirts. That’s a bit sad as far as I am concerned, I enjoy the view, but I understand the sentiment.
There’s some scruffy urchins about these days. Supermarkets are best, excepting Waitrose, folk there don tiarras to shop. Grungy folk decant from their sofa and strut about the streets. Jeremy Kyle has a lot to answer for. Standards all over the place are slipping and the establishment do not approve!
Most amusing of all – the ranting from certain Racing Journos on the subject. Not for them hard hitting exposes on Godolphin, Field sizes, Levy deals, or the Integrity of Racing. Far more weighty matters such as why can’t they wear their jeans to members. Got it.
There’s a dress code at Ascot – and one at York, another at Goodwood. These have been in place since 1485. But for little Newbury to move to improve standards in their Premier enclosure, that’s apparently beyond the pale. I note with disdain the Racing Post with column after column on the subject. Anything affecting their sponsors barely merits a paragraph. Empty vessels tend to make the most noise. Newbury should take an Ad out in the paper – see what happens to the coverage then.
Anyone considering the long standing members of racetracks? Those happy to make an effort to dress appropriately and are proud to do so. Part of the thousands who walked into Newbury’s Premier Enclosure this week alone looking a million dollars. It’s in no way unreasonable of them to seek an enclosure of like-minded folk. Is their view of no importance, or are we just about the moaners in their jeans? Incidentally, £80 is bog average for a pair of jeans these days. Certainly couldn’t be described as ‘designer’. Members invest annually in the racetrack and seek a certain standard of dress and facilities. If said were interested in joining the Silver Ring so they could dress down, then we wouldn’t have Club enclosures. We have a tiered system in Racing on our Racetracks. I for one am very much in favour of it. I want to be with other smart folk. If people want to wear their jeans to racetracks – they can change outside in their Vauxhalls.
As to the drab penned about brawls in Racetracks. Let’s be honest here folks, this has nothing to do with a dress code. Its about the proliferation of alcohol. Don’t let the facts spoil a good story. I will get to this subject.
Let’s deal with some inaccuracies. Nobody was ‘turned away’. Those without ties were admitted to the Premier. Newbury may have been a bit over bearing in checking attire, but there’s always a teething stage. Nobody was strip searched. Ladies were not required to look Victorian.
Another myth – Racing is too class based. That’s nonsense. I expect to rub shoulders with exhaust fitters, Shop assistants, Poles, MP’s – even Bankers in Members. They let anyone in apparently! Seriously though – you are welcome in any enclosure on any race day, provided you’re prepared to dress appropriately – you don’t have to dress like Basil Fawlty in that ridiculous tweed I believe they should outlaw. 🙂
So speaking as the best dressed Bookmaker in the land, I give the reminder a solid thumbs up. I’d wager Newbury’s Members would too. If a few Hacks don’t get in because they like the on the sofa look to work, no loss, most don’t have a lot to say anyway.
Whilst we’re on the topic of standards, and racetracks looking to improve upon them – I want to expand the topic slightly. I’m in favour of Racetracks smartening the whole experience up and appealing to all denominations. Where I’d roundly criticise tracks is their drinking policy. Or complete lack of.
Racing has become the Kings of the plastic cup. And I do not approve. Even serving their customers bottles of far too often overpriced Champagnes, in a top quality dedicated Bars, in plastic beakers. (York – look away, I don’t include you!) This practice is just unacceptable. Smarten up here guys. You simply cannot expect people who enjoy a fine drink to pay you top dollar so you can save on the washing up. Lame excuses about health and safety won’t wash, along with the plastic. Excessively cheap approach.
Let’s deal with one other red herring here. There’s no health and safety directive on glasses being used in bars, – none. It’s just cheaper to use plastic than wash glasses, which involves staffing and occasional breakages. Betting rings used to be sacrosanct areas for drinkers. Now we’re surrounded by plastic pint toting crowds. Fairly vulgar environment. Some venues have become positively dangerous in their rings. Fights often breaking out uncontrollably for several minutes, whilst security waits on an appropriately trained response team. To boot, health concerns take second place to profit. I wonder at the impact on our well being from drinking out of poor quality plastic, and the long term impact on the environment?
Now I understand why the plastic cup has appeared. Money. No issue with that. Racetracks have to profit like any other business. I’m not objecting to free sales around the tracks in open areas using plastic. I see absolutely no reason however, for those inside the bars to be subjected to these nasty vessels. Especially at £4.50 a pint! We’re not Football- and to continue on this path leads Racing inevitably along the hooligan path the Soccer folk eventually had to tackle.
One last request to my friends running tracks. Want to sell thousands of pints a day? Fine, but for the good of the Sport, spend a lot more money on private security to ensure the safety and well-being of patrons from those whose excesses turn to violence. No track appears immune to that. Adopt a football like scheme to outlaw those who fight from our lovely racetracks. Further, create havens in your tracks for patrons to enjoy – free of plastic and for those smart enough to appreciate it. We’re not all Oiks and we spend a lot of money enjoying our Racing too.