Our wonderful race day coordinator (Beth) had organised a mini bus to take us down to the borders for midday and arriving just in time to place our bets for the first race at 12.30pm. As a race day virgin the ins and outs of the day had to be explained to me by one of the more experienced members of our group.
Having bought our race book we decided to do group betting and put a tenner into the kitty. Our small group of 4 started checking out the first race and with our combined knowledge of the horse race world chose Last Samuri, because it is a Scoobydoo film that Lesley's youngest watches and Heart Dancer because we liked the name. We watched with bated breath as the horses thundered past for the 2nd time and whooped with joy when the Last Samuri won! We scored £9.50 and were thrilled.
With our pockets bulging with our winnings we once again had a very in-depth conversation about the horses, jockeys and trainers but in the end went back to the "cool name" and "those silk colours are pretty" way of deciding.
I had been given a few pennies to put on some bets for a friend and there was much excitement when one of those horses ran past in the winning position, but sadly was pipped at the post.
It wasn't until race 5 that we got our next win with a horse called Swift Arrow, bagging a whole £30.
That sadly was our last win of the day but meant that we broke even at the end of the day.
In order to try and blend in to the horse crowd I resurrected my very old Barbour jacket, which I don't think has been out the wardrobe since high school. It would seem that tweed is still the order of the day with the country crowd, but I think I blended in reasonably well. My main concern was staying warm on what turned out to be a very cold but crisp November day. I was glad I put my thermals on, it took a few coffees and red wines to keep them chills at bay.
The day was finished with a lovely dinner in town. Although no big winners on the day, most people broke even. Maybe the next time!
Welcome to the paddock.
One out of three remembered sunglasses.
Gee gee riders.
A light lunch.
Lovely evening clouds.
All photographs by Caroline Harvey.