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Whether you’re single, loved-up, planning a proposal or celebrating your Golden Wedding Anniversary, make the most of what the Valentine’s week has to offer, with fabulous racing-themed gifts, opportunities and days out:
Why a day at the races makes a great Valentine’s Day treat
Whether you’re in an established couple, on a first date or out with friends, a day at the races provides you with:
- A set itinerary – so everyone knows what to expect, and there’s always something to see and do
- All-day action – so you will never run out of things to talk about
- Something for all levels – go posh or go casual, eat in a restaurant or simply grab drinks in a bar; you can tailor your day to suit
- Something men enjoy as much as women
- A great atmosphere – it’s readymade so there’s nothing you need to do other than show up!
Racing Valentine’s gifts
Whether you’re planning something special or simply love to go racing, here are some fun Valentine’s weekend suggestions:
- Feel the love at Ascot Racecourse as they celebrate 50 years of Jumps racing on Valentine’s Day: enjoy a full day of exciting racing at Ascot Racecourse for FREE. To claim your complimentary Grandstand Admission tickets you need to book in advance at www.ascot.co.uk
- Get some great tips for the Cheltenham Festival while treating your loved one to a terrific day out: Wincanton Racecourse is hosting Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle Raceday on Valentine’s Day with tickets start from £16 – book online wincantonracecourse.co.uk or 0844 579 3014. Gates open at 11am on Saturday, 14th February.
- Lingfield Racecourse‘s Valentine’s Raceday takes place on the all-weather track on Saturday 14th February and features some great racing to brighten up the day. Gates open 11.55am and first race at 1.25pm. See www.lingfieldpark.co.uk for further information.
- Why not spend a romantic racing weekend under canvas: Fakenham Racecourse offers complimentary Course Enclosure tickets for each guest who stays a minimum of two nights at their caravan and camp site (in the centre of the course!). With racing on Friday 13th February (first race 1.15pm) it’s the perfect excuse to set up your pitch! Book now on www.fakenhamracecourse.co.uk
- And if you can’t make it to the races on Valentine’s Day, why not buy tickets for the races another time – Redcar Racecourse offers Gift Vouchers (see www.redcarracing.co.uk) that can be fully personalised for your recipient and are valid for 12 months; or all courses offer tickets in advance (many offer special discounts and packages for advance bookings).
Simple tricks to make the most of your treat
As well as making sure you know where you are going, there are several ways you can make the most of your visit:
- Consider upgrading your tickets to include a meal or afternoon tea
- Buy your partner a racecard when you arrive so you can keep track of what’s on when throughout the day
- Provide a betting budget and invite your partner to make the selections
- Follow the ‘circuit ritual’ for at least one race so you sample every aspect of the racing experience
- Wear layers and comfortable shoes to avoid wardrobe malfunctions (and therefore early home-time)
For seriously special couples
If you’re planning something a Bit Special for Valentine’s Day (or indeed any romantic milestone) here’s how you could really mark the occasion:
- Sponsor a race in your loved one’s name – such as the E.b.f. Harry & Doreen Chapman Golden Wedding Anniversary Maiden Stakes and the Caroline Louise Will You Marry Me Maiden Stakes that took place at Pontefract. Prices start from £500 at www.pontefract-races.co.uk or £300 at www.stratfordracecourse.net for example and packages include presenting winners with their prize and choosing the Best Turned Out winner.
- Book a table or hospitality box/suite to invite friends and family as your guests for your surprise announcement. Alternatively, propose during a Romantic Meal for Two at Goodwood Racecourse‘s Richmond Arms restaurant (offer runs from Friday 13th–Sunday 15th February) to share a delicious four-course tasting menu made with award-winning Estate-reared produce. Priced at £49 per person including a glass of champagne, or pair each course with a glass of wine for £89 per person. See www.goodwood.com for further information.
- Place an advertisement in the racecard (e.g. containing your marriage proposal or announcing your wedding anniversary etc – prices start from £125 for a full page ad at Towcester www.towcester-racecourse.co.uk)
- Book a hospitality suite at the racecourse for a surprise raceday wedding!
- Make your loved one a racehorse owner: kayfaramisracing.com offers membership from just £50, with regular stable visits, owners’ badges to the races and a share in any prize money.
If you prefer to enjoy Valentine’s on your own or with a bunch of friends, there’s still plenty of fun to be had!
- Pamper yourself with a makeover: who needs Gok when you can spend a day with fashion guru and personal stylist Karen Grace?
- Treat yourself to some jewellery from JeDeCo – Jewellery Designers Collective – who will donate 15% of all sales (until 15th February) to the British Heart Foundation. See their collection at www.jedeco.co.uk or visit their OXO Tower studio gallery. Every purchase will also be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a handmade heart ornament.
- Take the plunge: sign up for our Racing Hearts to find new dates and mates!
Whatever you decide, we hope you enjoy your day and if you didn’t manage to organise the special extras this year – there’s always next year!
Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there’s a lot more to learn…