There are many Ladies Days held up and down the country, most of which are paired with decent quality racing action. However, there aren’t too many courses which stage their Ladies Day on the biggest and best day of their entire racing year.
The Berkshire venue of Newbury is one track that does fall into that select band, with its annual Ladies Day fixture in May featuring the track’s flagship Group 1 event of the Lockinge Stakes. High class on and off the track, with a whole host of additional entertainment on offer to boot, this springtime sizzler of a meeting is well worth a look.
Newbury Ladies is held on the closing day of the track’s two-day Lockinge meeting in mid-May each year. Taking place on a punter-friendly Saturday afternoon in the middle of spring, this fixture is easily the venue’s biggest, and most well-attended meeting of the season.
In addition to providing the opportunity to don your finest frock, enjoy excellent food and drink, and a buzzing post-race party, the action on the track isn’t too bad either. The first of seven cracking contests typically gets underway at 1:35pm, with the last commencing shortly after 5pm. For those looking to arrive early, take in the scenery, and grab a drink, gates open at 11am.
Newbury keeps things nice and simple on the ticketing front, with just the two main enclosures from which to choose:
From £36 – Located alongside the home straight, this area affords great views of the racing and features a seated section of the grandstand and covered standing areas – both of which are available on a first come first served basis. Bars and a range of catering options are found throughout, including a popular Fish and Chip Shop – lovely with a glass of fizz!
From £49.50 – Dead in line with the winning post, the more luxurious of the track’s two enclosures provides the very best views of the action. A Champagne Hall & Wine Cellar, and Brasserie, feature amongst a range of higher-end food and drink options.
From £55-£153.33 – Those seeking the swankiest Ladies Day experience may wish to consider the wide selection of hospitality packages available. Offering everything from cocktails on arrival to inclusive drinks packages, bistro lunches to gourmet meals, reserved seating to private booths, and plenty more besides, these rate a popular option with groups and parties celebrating a special occasion. See the hospitality section of the track’s official website for the full details.
The prices quoted above refer to a single adult ticket when bought in advance. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 15% discount per ticket when purchasing their tickets in advance of the meeting. The perfect reason to get the girls together and try something a little different.
Whilst it is easy to get completely sucked into the off-track entertainment on Ladies Day, the quality of the racing itself more than matches the high standard of the facilities in the stands. Whether you are a racing expert or a total newbie, this means the day is perfect and you’ll have the chance to see some truly top-class racing.
Of the seven contests on offer over the course of the day, four are rated at Listed class or above, signifying events of real importance on the British calendar. Easily the biggest buzz of the day will be created ahead of the feature event of the Lockinge Stakes, which regularly attracts a field of the highest-rated runners in Britain and Ireland.
Elsewhere on the card, expect a flurry of activity in the betting ring before the major handicap of the London Gold Cup. The day then concludes with a contest befitting the theme of the day, with the closing race of the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes being restricted to female performers.
They have been racing in this corner of Berkshire for over 200 years now, with tales of early events in the area dating all the way back to 1805. However, it wasn’t until 1905 that the current track opened for the first time, thanks in no small part to the support of the racing-mad monarch King Edward VII.
Staging both flat and National Hunt (jumps) contests, the track is open right throughout the year. Whilst recognising its heritage, these days the course is a thoroughly modern venue in terms of the facilities on offer. Opened in 1992 by another royal racing fan, Queen Elizabeth II, the impressive Berkshire Stand provides the track’s imposing centrepiece. With more recent upgrades including £6.5m in improvements to the Berkshire Stand and Pall Mall Stands, Newbury Racecourse is now a truly top top-class venue, staging not only racing but also some decent live music events as well. Westlife, Olly Murs, and Sir Tom Jones are among those to have performed at the track in recent years.
Combining rich history with 21st-century facilities, all against the backdrop of the beautiful Berkshire countryside, Newbury offers an excellent day out no matter which area of the track you choose to attend. It is nevertheless nice to know a little of what lies in store when booking those tickets. Here we pick out a selection of the highlights found in each of the two main enclosures.
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