Thursday, 14 May 2015

The Best Job in the World

Running a racecourse is probably the best job in the world. Probably. I wouldn’t mind working in a sweet shop either… or possibly being the chief duvet-tester for John Lewis… or the chief water-shoot tester for First Choice Holidays. 

I love racecourses: I love the smell of the fresh cut grass as we approach raceday; the smell of the breakfast barbecues lit by the first racegoers arriving on Bank Holiday; even the smell of the manure left by the horses in the parade ring after each race. The shouts, the cheers, the fairground music and the happy chatter of friends and family as they argue over the last sausage on the griddle.  

Our first fixture of the season is just over a week away and the office has never been busier, but I have no regrets. Well almost none. I’m a bit sad that the BBC has only just got around to launching a Young Dancer of the Year competition. I could have been a contender.  

I have no formal training, but no one who has ever witnessed one of my ballet performances has ever forgotten it. Some of them are still laughing – which is a trifle unfair. The BBC didn’t actually have a category for bebop-fusion-funk-dad-dance, but I think it might have gone down well with the judges. It’s just a shame that I wouldn’t have qualified on the age front. 

There are no other regrets. Not serious ones anyway. I suppose I could have had a bit more money on Darna when he won the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at Cheltenham in March, but that’s just me being greedy. I’ll have a couple of quid on this week’s selection (Master Of The Game at Market Rasen, on Sunday) instead.  

We’ve got a great season ahead and I am really looking forward to it. We’re offering more prize money than we’ve ever had before – more than £407,000 in total for the eight racedays. Fortunately Cartmel Racecourse has the support of some great sponsors. Some of them, like Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, Hadwins Audi and many others (space prohibits me from mentioning them all right here) have been attending for many years.  

But there are new sponsors too. Coral bookmakers, who have been absent for a while, are the most prevalent bookmaker on our local high-streets; then there’s Oakmere Homes who are supporting our two brand new £20,000 feature races in June.

Banks Lyon Jewellers, too, are joining the fray - on our most valuable fixture of the season in July. Banks Lyon Jewellers, the Lancaster-based luxury watch and jewellery retailer are offering a £5,000 diamond necklace to the winning jockey of the Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle – which at £10,000 is the most valuable National Hunt race in the UK for female jockeys. 

So much to look  forward to. So little time until the start of the new season. So much excitement. So - why do I still wonder if there is a job available tasting Sticky Toffee Pudding in the Village Shop in Cartmel?

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