It was finally the weekend and we were on our way to the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa. I had looked forward to the day all week. It was 14th October, the second day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket Racecourses. We reached our destination a little before 10 in the morning, and just in time as well as our guide for the Discover Newmarket Tour was due to pick us up at 10 am. Discover Newmarket delivers a range of tours for groups and individuals to go behind the scenes at the Home of Horseracing. I was excited and looking forward to the Short Head Tour and Race Day Tour with Discover Newmarket. Frankie (our tour guide), arrived right on time to pick us up. We dropped our bags at the hotel to be taken to our rooms when ready and began our activities for the day.
Our first stop, the Induna Stables – hardly took 10 minutes to reach. Horse trainer Chris Wall soon joined us to take us on our tour of the place. While showing us around, he explained how everything works at the stables in detail, what the horses eat, how they are kept, what shoes they wear, and their daily routine. It was a new and amazing experience for me to know how things work behind the scenes. I latched on to every detail the trainer explained. The whole affair took around an hour after which we headed for our next stop.
The newly opened National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art spanned five acres in the heart of Newmarket. It consisted of three chief attractions for us, a National Horseracing Museum, a National Art Gallery of British Sporting Art, and a chance to meet former racehorses and find out about what they do after retiring from the tracks. An hour later we finally headed to the Rowley Mile Racecourse, this time with a new guide, Larry. Larry was just as helpful and assistive, and took us behind the scenes of all things racecourse, finally dropping us off at The Champions Gallery Restaurant.
It was thirty past noon and the races were due to start in fifteen minutes. I was getting a funny feeling in my stomach from the excitement and anticipation, but also in part because all the touring had me hungry, my husband’s frequent glances at the time were for the same reason, or perhaps for the races, or maybe both, like me.
The races schedule ran from 12:45 pm onwards for around five hours. The lovely Newmarket Racecourses team had booked lunch for us in the Champions Gallery restaurant, situated on the third floor of the Millennium Grandstand which has a magnificent 360 degree view of the track, and our table was right next to it, where we enjoyed the 4-course VIP dining experience and an afternoon tea later in the afternoon.
Main course at Champions Gallery restaurant
The view of the races as each took off after the other from our table was exhilarating and enough to distract from the lunch. However, the champagne, the Amusse-Bouche, the Indian Fish trio and the Sea bream that I had opted for, and the Pressed Chicken and Partridge and the roasted beef my husband had ordered were excellent enough to have made a mark in our memories despite the very distracting events of the racetrack. The Black Forest Fondant we ordered for dessert lived up to the expectations we’d developed after the lunch as well.
Cheeseboard at Newmarket Racecourse
After dessert, we took to exploring the Racecourse again and went to the Parade Ring to watch the horses from the front of the Grandstand and experience the lively atmosphere. There was also other entertainment, including art exhibitions, bars and restaurants, music, and the chance to experience the flavours of Dubai offered through a Middle Eastern cuisine.
Afternoon Tea at Newmarket Racecourse
It was around 4 pm that we came back to the Champions Gallery for our afternoon tea. After the final race finished, Après Racing began with a DJ set from Vernon Kay.We’d bet on a few races but not won anything, yet the whole experience had been so enjoyable that this didn’t affect our spirits at all.
Parade Ring at Newmarket Racecourse
Bedford Lodge Hotel
Superior King Spacious room, Bedford Lodge Hotel
A good day of dining in style and experiencing horse racing came to an end when we headed back to the hotel. We were offered the Superior King Spacious room at the Bedford Lodge Hotel, the only four red star luxury hotel in Newmarket. Our bags were already there, and the room was just lovely. The bed was king size, the bathroom fit for a king, and almost every technological luxury was available. The mini bar had complimentary mineral water. Complimentary Wi-Fi was excellent, just like the room and facilities. The décor was modern and luxurious, something I wouldn’t have minded getting used to. However, we were only staying the night. The morning came and we had our complimentary breakfast which we thanked the hotel for before heading home.