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Royal Ascot

On both Wednesday and Thursday I watched on TV the horse racing at Ascot. This I did with a certain degree of sad nostalgia as Ladies Day (Thursday) was one of our few regular family outings.

My father, a conscientious doctor, would do his morning surgery which made for a late start.

My mother, elegantly dressed in her new outfit with extravagant hat, would prepare a delicious picnic of fresh salmon.

Because of the late start we would invariably be stuck in a long traffic queue waiting to get into a car park. Invariably too I would lose money betting.

We would always see one exotic friend of my parents – a gay Anglo-Indian who owned properties and a night club.

He would never watch the racing but could be found dispensing champagne in the Mill Reef Bar and afterwards in number one car park.

To be honest, I never really enjoyed the day. Neither the turf nor the flummery float my boat and we got home exhausted.

Nonetheless when I watch the royals arrive in their coach and horses I feel reminiscently sad.

On Wednesday one headline ran “Long may she rain over you” as it was waterlogged

. Yesterday was more appealing. Frankie Dettori, always the man for the big occasion, had the first four winners including Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.

Even a novice like me could appreciate the skill in holding the horse back in the final straight till an opening appeared.

Rather like F1 you wonder who is responsible for winning: the horse, jockey or trainer.

Talking of trainers I have known John Gosden and his wife Rachel, who was at university with me, all my life and witnessed from afar his ascendancy to the highest echelons of Group One racing. I had a brief fling with ownership via a syndicate but was put off by the far away locations of most courses, the paltry prize money and the cost.

Perhaps it’s my age but these days I’m in the TV-watching camp in the Great Debate.

At 5-35pm, after the last race I can do my crossword over gin and Fevertree tonic, without the faf of contemplating a 2 hour car journey home.

About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts