Best Day Ever

A Horse's Gamble in Windsor

by Melanie Dunea

Any day at any horse race is a thrill. Photo: Jessica M. Cross / Flickr

WINDSOR, England – I love a day trip from London. It's a chance to see the green countryside and the delicate little lambs that adorn that countryside.

When tickets arrived for a Saturday at the Royal Windsor Racecourse, my heart skipped a beat. No, it's not as fabulous as Ascot, but it's a chance to dress up and gamble!

Windsor is a lovely town. The crown jewel is Windsor Castle; Eton College is a nice second. The grand castle is one of the Queen's official residences, and it's awe-striking to see it in the middle of the little town. Sadly, I had no time to tour the castle. The races were starting at 14:25, and bets had to be placed.

It was one of those rare English days — sunshine, a crisp breeze, and fascinators abounding. People were really dressed. I was happy we opted for Club Enclosure tickets. Since the races last just a few minutes, you really need to be in a prime position. The horses had amazing names: Addictive Dream, Crowns Choice, Mon Cadeau, Magicalmysterytour. It was hard to pick. Armed with a Pimms Cup, I placed my first bet for £10.

I kid you not, I won. Then I bet £20, and I won. Feeling full of confidence, I kept betting and upping the ante. Of course, no surprise: I lost misearbly.

Fortunately, I had set aside just enough cash to take the French Brothers river ferry back from the Racecourse to the town center. The sun was setting, the scenery was divine. What I was thinking about was how I could have placed my bets so much better. Next time.


How to Get There

Train: Take the National Rail Service to Windsor & Eton Central from Paddington (about 35 minutes) or Waterloo (about 1:20 minutes) with a change in Slough.

Bus: Take the Green Line (routes 701 and 702) to Windsor from Victoria Coach Station, London.

Boat: French Brothers river ferry operates between Windsor's town center (opposite Brown's restaurant, a short walk from the train station) and the racetrack.

What to See

Windsor Castle
Eton College
Royal Windsor Racecourse