FOR the biggest racing fans there is nothing like the big meetings and festivals so why not convert that passion into a Christmas gift?
You’re not just buying a ticket, you’re buying anticipation and excitement. The option is also there to push the boat out with a hospitality ticket.
Here are three to consider:
Dublin Racing Festival, Leopardstown, February 5th and 6th
This two-day meeting, featuring eight Grade 1 races, goes from strength to strength each year and has proven very popular with Dubliners but also with people travelling in from around the country (and from Britain) to spend one or two nights in the capital.
It’s a cannot-miss for an avid jumps racing fan or a more casual sort, keen for a trip to the capital, with the Luas bringing you from St Stephen’s Green to Leopardstown.
You’ve lots of options with regard to the fancier tickets. It’s €80 for premium level access, which gives spectators excellent views of the track. If you want to push the boat out further there are two types of hospitality packages: Molly Malone’s Banquet at the Pavillion (building opposite the final hurdle) for €150 each or the 1888 Restaurant for €185 each.
Cheltenham Festival, March 15th to 18th
If you know a big jumps racing fan who hasn’t been to Cheltenham, what an opportunity to book them in for an absolute must-go event.
The whole week might not be for everyone so it may be better to select one or two days. It’s remarkable how many people say their favourite day to go is the Tuesday for the Champion Hurdle. It might be a good idea to add on the Wednesday this year also because the Champion Chase is shaping up to be a vintage renewal.
There are three sets of tickets priced at £30, £55 and £80. The recommendation is to go ahead and get an £80 Club Enclosure ticket which allows access to everywhere around the course.
Accommodation wise, you’ll need to be quick to book something in Cheltenham, with lots of hotels likely to sell out but there are also good AirBnB options as well.
Royal Ascot, June 14th to 19th
The initial presumption for some is that the pomp and pageantry that comes with Royal Ascot looks a bit over the top, but it really is a fantastic event with a stunningly unique atmosphere.
The dress code is strict but mostly for the Royal Enclosure, which isn’t an option for the vast majority, so don’t worry about that. Ticket prices range from £32 to £82 and get more expensive as the week goes on, but the racing at the beginning of the week is just as strong.
You may as well make a mini holiday out of it if you’re going over, and spend some time in London, with plenty of train services from the centre of the city out to Ascot (52 minutes from Waterloo Station).