On winning (but mostly losing) at Royal Ascot Ladies Day
A full English breakfast with a side of hash browns and two bottles of prosecco (shared between five others, promise). They do say begin as you mean to go on and this meal seemed the right pitch for my first ever visit to Royal Ascot.
When we left the café, smugly happy with our mature decision to line our stomachs before our race day began, we joined the well-dressed throng headed to the racecourse entrance. We immediately diverged from those of a higher class, and joined the masses in the Village Enclosure. With a perfectly blue sky above and a blanket of glistening emerald grass below, the air crackled with expectation that memories were about to be made, memories that would last a lifetime.
Taking in the surroundings, a plan was quickly established. Booze. Beth. Bets.
The line for the bar was weirdly under control and it took no time at all for us to get our hands on a couple of bottles of rose (this would, of course, never be the case again. The bars would deteriorate to Mad Max-esque scenes within hours). With full glasses, we then found a tiny pocket of space near the racing barrier to clap eyes on Beth, a woman more commonly known as Queen Elizabeth II. And moments later, there she was. Pink suit – it was Ladies Day after all – and sunglasses. SUNGLASSES!
With the formalities over and done with, it was time to get serious about the day’s main events. The racing. With racing guide and pen gripped firmly in hand, I poured over the names of horses, the colours of each jockey and waited for that familiar AHA! moment. The moment when I would know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was my horse. A horse that would bring me glory and winnings. And within moments, I had it. I knew this was it. I peeled myself away from the group, placed my bet and held my breath. I then watched as the race began, horses thundering down the straight, bellowing cheers filling the air.
Lost. Completely lost. Came last. The rest of the day was a messy blur of booze, booze, some bets, winning one race, a cute boy (maybe?), some dancing (possibly?) and waking the next morning knowing I definitely DID ASCOT.
Can’t remember much.
But the full English breakfast with a side of hash browns was delicious.