Dick’s group take a gamble on a day at the races

When, in 1711, Queen Anne spotted a prime stretch of Berkshire countryside within easy reach of Windsor Castle, she thought it would make an ideal racecourse.

The group posing on the rostrum with Kelly (far left).

The group posing on the rostrum with Kelly (far left).

Nearly 300 years later, 49 members of the Bexhill and District Gardens and Allotments Society from East Sussex discovered how far-sighted the Queen had been during her ride through Windsor Forest, enjoying one of their last day trips of the year to Ascot Racecourse back in November 2010.
Chairman Dick Lancaster organised the visit, which started with an in-depth tour of the facilities with Ascot’s senior group sales executive, Kelly Charles. From the striking statue of 2005 Vodafone Derby Stakes winner, Motivator, the visitors moved to the manicured lawn of the parade ring and then indoors to the racecourse’s £200 million Grandstand, opened in 2006. Dick says, “Our Premier admission badges took us past the weighing-in room and stewards’ inquiry area up to level two where we passed the Royal Box with its lavish 16-place dining area manned by palace staff.”
A pleasantly sunny autumn day, the members were able to enjoy the horseracing before adjourning to the Horsewalk dining area for an “excellent” afternoon tea. Dick remarks, “We enjoyed uninterrupted views of the racecourse and Crown Estates-owned countryside from the Grandstand’s terraces.”
He continues, “Talk on the journey home was of the history, tradition and facilities enjoyed – and whether those who had placed bets had smiles on their faces…” Dick adds, “The Friday evening crawl is not the best time to experience the delights of the M25, but coach driver Jacquie of Rambler in Hastings got us safely to the finishing post at the end of a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable day”.