Last Thursday I mentioned that we had arranged a very special day out on bank holiday Monday. I promise you I would post about it today, so here I am. True to my word.
A Day at the Races
Where is our racecourse? We had a day at the races at……
No, not Ascot! Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Despite being located in a suburb called Ascot and the race course entrance being a matter of 20 feet from the station platform, the Australians decided to call it “Eagle Farm Racecourse”.
We had been looking forward to this day for a few weeks now having planned it all in advance. We were all going to the races on bank holiday Easter Monday. In much the same way that Ascot has “Ladies Day” our racecourse was having a “Family Day”. There would be candle making, face painting, clowns and storytelling for the children as well as the usual beer and betting for us adults.
The gates were to open at 10:30 a.m. and the first race was scheduled for 11.40. So we arranged to leave at around 10 o’clock. It was sunny with clear skies when I got up, but by the time all seven of us had installed ourselves into the car at nearly half past 10, clouds had appeared and the first raindrops fell. Hmmm. Which way would the weather go?
As we got closer to our destination, the clouds got darker and the rain heavier. By the time we arrived at the racecourse it was torrential. But not to worry! The course had a grandstand with a roof. So we each paid our $15 entrance fee, the kids were free.
By the time we got to the grandstand the first race was about to start, so we had no time to place any bets. We just about managed to skim over the runners before the off and I know for sure I would have backed “American Gangster” and so would have my friend, Ben.
Ben and I had spent yesterday afternoon, over our post egg hunt barbecue and beer, discussing (among other things) music from the film “Once Upon a Time in America” – which is, of course, is about American gangsters.
It came second at 10 to one. I’m glad it didn’t win. I would have been sore.
Immediately after the race I noticed the stewards were inspecting the course……
….. and at precisely 11:54 a.m. there was an announcement over the Tannoy. “After inspection of the course and following discussions with the riders involved in the first race, at precisely 11:54 a.m. the stewards agreed to abandon the rest of the day’s racing”.
He then continued to repeat this sentence about six times…. “Today’s racing was abandoned at 11:54 a.m.” which is why I know for sure it was at precisely 11:54 a.m. and probably why you know for sure now too.
Just after the announcement I heard somebody say in a very English accent “this would never have happened in England”. Another guy walking past, without breaking his stride, without glancing left or right and in a very Australian accent said “Well go back to England then.” That amused me. It was delivered with comic timing, not aggression. Australians are very proud of their country.
It was a great shame. As I said, we had been looking forward to this for some time. But the venue look good and was easy to get to. So we will return to Eagle Farm Racecourse, weather permitting.
I still think I live in paradise. But it appears that paradise may also choose, occasionally, to have a day off. And like us, it might just choose a bank holiday Monday.