Gallop to the shops for these great Christmas gifts!
With Christmas closer than you think, we’ve put together a fabulous list of gifts to thrill all your loved ones. Whether it’s something to keep the kids happy or an extra special something for the person who’s impossible to buy for, all your shopping needs are catered for below.
For the book worm…
Frankel: Wonder Horse by Andrew Pennington
Frankel, officially the world’s best racehorse has continued to thrill spectators this year with his superlative performances on the track. So, for those wishing to find out more about the amazing Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt, Frankel: Wonder Horse will be top of their list. Revel in the memories of each of his 14 awe-inspiring wins and read the fascinating recollections of those closest to the horse. The book comes complete with full statistics of his phenomenal career and is illustrated with stunning photographs from the Racing Post's archives.
RRP: £20 www.racingpost.co.uk
My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding
Clare Balding is the darling of British television following her high profile and universally acclaimed role as anchor of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Born into a racing family, her father Ian trained racehorses for the Queen and the incredible Mill Reef. Champion amateur lady jockey herself, Clare has presented racing on the BBC since 1997 but is also famed for her wide-ranging sporting knowledge which has seen her front rugby league, equestrianism and swimming on the TV. My Animals and Other Family recalls Clare’s early years, introducing us to the pets and animals around her, and the life lessons they taught her.
RRP: £20 Viking
For the kids…
If you have a budding young race fan at home, why not sign them up for Ascot’s Fillies and Colts club. It’s free for all children aged sixteen and under and makes for a great stocking filler with a membership pack stocked with a pair of binoculars, a metal membership badge, a pen and welcome booklet. There are also year-round benefits to membership including behind the scenes tours, a chance to meet a jockey, visits to the weighing room and talks from people in the racing industry.
Ascot Colts & Fillies club: www.coltsandfillies.co.uk/clu_contact.html
If you have a kid (young or old) who wants the inside track on racing, then an exclusive, behind the scenes trip to the National stud in racing’s HQ, Newmarket is the answer to your present woes. The Stud’s Thoroughbred breakfast experience offers you three for one access to places you’d never normally be able to see, including a guided visit of Newmarket’s famous training gallops and a tour of a trainer’s yard to give you an amazing insight into the care and attention that goes into training an equine athlete. There’s also a tour of the National Stud itself and a full English breakfast to keep you going. Book to go in the early spring and you may even see some of the new foals.
National Stud Thoroughbred breakfast ½ day: £65 www.nationalstud.co.uk
For the fashionista…
Racing, the most glamorous of sports, has always enjoyed a close association with fashion and none more so than at the five day fashion extravaganza of Royal Ascot. Make sure the lady in your life is suitably attired with a fabulous headpiece from milliner to the Queen, Rachel Trevor Morgan. Prices start from around £250 and there’s a fabulous range to choose from, including intricate headpieces to show-stopping hats.
If you’re looking for something a bit more low key, how about a quintessentially English Panama hat – perfect for those ladies and gents enjoying a summer’s afternoon at the races.
Goodwood panama hats, from £40: http://shop.goodwood.com/collections/panama-hats
And, so that they have somewhere to show off their new, fancy headgear, how about a day out at Ascot itself, fusing top class sporting action and fabulous luxury. The Parade Ring restaurant is located in the heart of the Grandstand, overlooking the Parade Ring and Winners' Enclosure and has exclusive trackside seating adjacent to the Royal Box. You’ll enjoy a glass of champagne on arrival, a four course luncheon, afternoon tea and complimentary bar throughout the day.
Ascot Parade Ring Restaurant package: From £285 per person www.ascot.co.uk
For the travel buff…
What better way to begin a day at the races than a luxurious and stress-free trip to the course, without any of the traffic worries? For a step back in time, book your loved one a trip on a stream train which will whisk away them in comfort and style from picturesque Toddington to the doorstep of Cheltenham, the home of jump racing, all before the first race. They will enjoy first class travel and a stress-free 35 minute journey through the beautiful countryside of the Cotwolds, Malverns and Vale of Evesham pulled by a magnificent steam train locomotive.
Classic Hospitality: From £55pp www.classichospitality.co.uk
For the racing fan…
Know someone who’s always at the races? Why not buy them an annual membership to their local course so that they can indulge in their passion? Members often enjoy access to exclusive facilities, including members’ bars and car parking facilities and at some courses there are reciprocal members’ arrangements allowing you free access to other prestigious courses.
Plus there’s the added bonus of never having to worry about buying tickets again or missing the boat to their favourite meeting because of sell-outs.
For those with a sense of history, you can’t beat an annual badge to Newmarket, racing’s HQ, which enjoys 38 days of top class races each year. Or if your loved one is more of a jumps fan, the Cheltenham badge allows them to take in all 16 days of racing, including all four days of the fabled Festival in March.
To find your local racecourse, visit: www.lovetheraces.com/courses
And, so that they don’t miss out on any of the action, these binoculars mean that they’ll be able to scrutinise each of the horses as they race in crystal clear definition.
Amazon: Pentax 9x28 DCF LV Roof Prism Binocular: from £158
You could also buy them a much coveted subscription to the Racing Post iPad app which combines the newspaper, live news service, access to the Racing Post database and fantastic new organiser. It’s a must have for all racing fans and, at £24.99 a month, it’s cheaper than buying the paper.
iTunes Store: £24.99
Frankel has had his own advert, has had a book written about him and now he has his very own DVD.
The colt named in memory of the great American trainer Bobby Frankel amassed earnings of £3 million in winning ten Group 1 races. He started favourite every time he ran, rewriting records with joyous abandon. From his virtuoso performance in the 2,000 Guineas to his breathtaking sequence of triumphs as a four-year-old, Frankel delivered one sensational performance after another in a career of remarkable consistency. Commissioned by Frankel's breeder, Juddmonte Farms Ltd, this programme features unique and insightful interviews with members of Team Frankel. It documents every one of Frankel's 14 victories in full, in the process recreating his career from its first, formative days. It's an essential Christmas gift for any Frankel Fan!
To get your hands on a copy of the DVD, CLICK HERE.
For the Animal Lover…
HEROS is a fantastic charity that works to re-train and re-home former racehorses. If you have someone who loves animals, why not pay for them become a member of The HEROS Supporters’ Club. You can even choose the size of your donation to suit your purse, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be contributing to the charity’s great work. What’s more, as a member, they’ll receive a members’ pack, be able to look forward to the quarterly newsletters with all the latest updates on the ‘Club Horses’ and will be entitled to a 10% discount to attend any of the charity’s events.
HEROS Supporters’ Club: http://www.heroscharity.org/heros-club/
For someone very special…
Nothing comes close to the thrill and excitement of owning your own racehorse so for that (very) special someone, you can’t do much better than a buying them a racehorse. And, they might not be as expensive as you think. With options to suit all pockets you can start at the top end of the scale and buy a horse outright, or look for something more affordable, such as joining a racing club.
The Racegoers’ Club leases its horses to keep the costs as low as possible and often offers up shares in syndicates with a range of top trainers across the country, making it easy to find a horse near you. Prices typically start from £195 a share.
You can find out more about the different types of ownership, and what to look out for in a future star of the turf by going to www.own1.co.uk
With Christmas fast approaching why not get one job out of the way now and order your Christmas cards from the British Horseracing Education and Standards trust? For more information and to order your cards please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's loads of prizes to be won on lovetheraces.com, and loads of ways to win them, from imparting knowledge to just looking good.