Valentine’s Day Ideas for Racing Hearts: Whether you’re single, loved-up, planning a proposal or celebrating a wedding anniversary, make the most of what the Valentine’s week has to offer for racegoers.
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 smart 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 Days
Whether you’re planning something special or simply love to go racing, here are some Valentine’s Day packages to treat yourself and/or your loved ones with!
• Saturday 9th February at Uttoxeter is February Hurdle Raceday. A new fixture for 2019, it includes a new feature race that will be “challenging for both horse and jockey”! Book a Valentine’s Package for 2, to dine in style in the glass fronted panoramic restaurant, 1907, with a glass of bubbly on arrival and three-course Valentine’s set menu whilst watching great Racing.
• Tuesday 12th February at Ayr is Valentine’s Day Raceday. With seven races over the jumps, some decent chasers will be competing for the afternoon’s richest prize, with trainers including Lucinda Russell, Martin Todhunter and Mike Smith all likely to have runners.
• Thursday 14th February at Chelmsford City is Valentine’s Evening Racing. Make a night of it with evening racing on the all-weather track and a Valentine’s Special VIP 4 Course Meal (£75) in the Club restaurant, followed by live music from Jason Allen performing swing and lounge classics. Ticket includes Valentine’s Fizz and betting voucher too.
• Thursday 14th February at Fontwell Park is a Winter Racing Afternoon. Enjoy a day out at the UK’s only figure of eight jumps course! Featuring seven races, take a look at the Land & Power Premier Restaurant Package, for £89. Enjoy a three-course meal in the Land & Power Premier Restaurant with incredible views overlooking the Racecourse. You’ll have a Host/Tipster for the day as well as tableside betting, a racecard and much more.
• Thursday 14th February at Kelso is Morebattle Hurdle Day. Named after a village in the Scottish Borders near Kelso, the Morebattle Hurdle is the feature race of the day. Choose from a wide variety of eating and drinking options, from burgers to fine dining, but remember to book in advance for the latter. For the adventurous, picnics are permitted in the car park, (but you can’t bring in any food or drink into the racecourse) – but remember to pack rugs and hot water bottles!
• Thursday 14th February at Leicester is Valentine’s Raceday. Stay out of the cold a romantic two-course Winter Warmer Restaurant Package in the Nelson Suite (£40.95) with views overlooking the racecourse so you can enjoy the day’s racing. The package also includes a glass of pink prosecco on arrival, chocolate covered strawberries and a red rose on the table.
• And if you can’t make it to the races on Valentine’s Day, why not buy tickets for the races another time – the Jockey Club offers Gift Vouchers that can be redeemed at any of its 15 racecourses including Aintree (Grand National perhaps?), Cheltenham (The Festival of course!), Haydock Park (Jess Glynne anyone?), Epsom (The Derby my dear!), Sandown Park (The Eclipse!!) and more.
For real racing hearts there are also some top class meetings taking place on the Valentine’s weekend – perfect if you want to use romance as an excuse to go racing!
• Friday 15th February at Sandown Park is Royal Artillery Gold Cup Day. A seven race card with the Royal Artillery Gold Cup as the highlight of the day. This is one of Sandown Park’s oldest races having been first run in 1878. It has been run at the racecourse every season since 1921. The race is restricted to horses that are owned or have been leased by those who are serving or have served in the Royal Artillery or one of its recognised Establishments or Units. The jockeys must be amateurs and either past or existing members of any of the Armed Forces, making the race unique in every sense. Last year’s winner was Guy Disney on Rathlin Rose – they were also victorious in 2017. The day will also feature The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, whose duties include the firing of Royal Salutes on Royal Anniversaries and State Occasions. Tickets from £16.
• Saturday 16th February at Ascot is the Ascot Chase Raceday. With a prestigious Grade 1 race at its centrepiece, Betfair Ascot Chase Raceday is one of the most important Jumps fixtures on Ascot’s calendar, and provides horses and connections with a chance to fine-tune their preparations for the Cheltenham Festival. Tickets from £20.
• Saturday 16th February at Haydock Park is the Grand National Trial. A great day of sport featuring some of the finest Jump horses. Find out which runners and riders are vying for a place in this year’s Aintree Grand National, as the Grand National Trial takes place again at Haydock Park. Tickets from £10.
• Saturday 16th February at Wincanton is the Kingwell Hurdle Day. Fast, furious and spectacular, since 1961, The Betway Kingwell Hurdle has thrilled and beguiled, a race that attracts the best two-mile hurdlers in the business. In The Betway Kingwell Hurdle they’ll be putting their Championship credentials on the line ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
For a fun family day out…
• Sunday 17th February is Market Rasen’s Love Market Rasen Raceday. Enjoy football activities from Mini Kicks, entertainment from The West Wolds U3A, Market Rasen Primary School Literature Competition Final, De Aston School Art Competition Final, pop up market and much more, whilst taking in the excitement and thrills of a day at the races. Tickets from £10.
And for a seriously special day out…
• Friday 15th February – Hearts Racing Valentine’s Tour. Treat your loved one to an exciting out with Discover Newmarket at the Home of Horseracing. Begin with The Jockey Club Rooms, an exclusive member’s only club that was set up in the 18th century, where you’ll find an impressive collection of sporting art and memorabilia including the works of George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings. Then step up to Warren Hill, where some of the world’s best thoroughbreds take their daily exercise. With the town’s 3,000 equine residents stretching their legs on the gallops each day, it’s quite a sight! Next is a visit to the yard of top trainer James Fanshawe. Explore the famed Pegasus Stables, meet the horses and learn about the yard routines. Enjoy tales of memorable wins and Newmarket happenings! A three-course lunch will be laid on at The Packhorse Inn in Moulton, after which you will be taken to one of Newmarket’s leading Thoroughbred Stud Farms for a tour and the chance to meet some of the top stallions. Tickets for the day cost £150 per person – book early as places are limited.
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 package.
• 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 Moments:
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 (‘No Frills Sponsorship’) or from £400+VAT for the Family & Friends Sponsorship at www.stratfordracecourse.net for example. Packages include presenting winners with their prize and choosing the Best Turned Out winner as well as naming the race and seeing it printed in the racecard.
• Propose during a Romantic Meal for Two at Goodwood’s Bar & Grill (offer runs 14th February from 7pm) to share a mouthwatering three course meal with canapés and a glass of bubbly, from £40 per person. See www.goodwood.com for more information.
• Place an advertisement in the racecard e.g. containing your marriage proposal or announcing your wedding anniversary etc. – prices start from £100 for a full page or £60 for a half page ad at Kelso for example.
• Buy an Annual or Seasonal Membership to your local racecourse – then enjoy the race meetings as your equivalent of ‘date night’ throughout the year.
• Make your loved one a racehorse owner: The British Racing Club offers plenty of opportunities for members to go to the races as an owner. A membership to the British Racing Club costs £150 for six months or £300 all-inclusive for one year and includes interest in a minimum of seven racehorses running frequently on the flat and over jumps as well as various ownership benefits. To buy a gift membership visit www.britishracingclub.co.uk
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!