Approx no. of meeting
Rail from London (3 hours, change at Worcester or Newport)
Railway station to Racecourse (1.7 miles)
Taxis – Pre-book is a good idea, hard to get on the day.
Single stand and then a few rows of terraces in front of the Rusty Bridge restaurant. A few Tote outlets and the ubiquitous tic-tac men. A couple of bars and food vans.
We stayed at No. 21 B&B in town which was excellent. There are a number of small B&Bs, pubs with rooms and a premier inn to choose from. I would recommend B&Bs such as No. 21 as they are very friendly and good value.
Dining option on the day we visited, but would have got in free as Arc members.
(1) Return after challenge finished
15th December 2018– Tracks Visited: UK (55), Ireland (3), France (1), Barbados (1)
Madam Hoof and I are getting up into the big numbers in terms of tracks visited and we have learned a few tricks. After a couple of meeting being cancelled due to rain and snow, we take less chances when it comes to being warm and dry. Due to the meeting being the December Christmas Jumper event, we booked the restaurant and this was the right thing to do. I have mentioned the weather much in these reviews and this was only the 5th day of rain in 55 tracks, but what a day. At times it was so torrential, that I swore I could see animals lining up in pairs and a carpenter building something to float. This meant we barely ventured out during the day and so we had to get most of our impressions from our window table in the restaurant.
Now, lets start with the restaurant. The Rusty Bridge, completed in 2016 as part of the ARC refit of the track is a multi-purpose restaurant that probably does as much business as corporate and wedding dining as it does from racing, with there only being 10 scheduled meeting a year. The food was good quality, but what let down the experience was the service. Waiters who struggled to understand us and had even less idea about what service was. The management on the other hand were very nice and amenable. But, guys, if you are going to charge a premium for a window seat, (£105 per head) then it cannot be one by the door with an icing blast every time it opens and then to have the crowd stand outside the window blocking the view. I feel as did other diners next to us, that the pricing was a little disingenuous. Also, the point I make about the venue being multi-purpose is that there were not nearly enough repeater screens to see the action and the racing commentary was too quiet, almost as if the racing were an afterthought. I am sure things were better in the corporate boxes upstairs, but I am not at all convinced the restaurant is value for money.
The track itself produced some exciting racing, as I certainly would not hesitate to return as a punter in the future. Overall the track had great visibility from the stands. The Parade ring location would have created the now oft mentioned tidal flow as people moved from the front to the back of the track between each race, but I think on the day the weather rather made this a moot point.
I wonder how much more ARC are prepared to enhance this track as the new restaurant has already made a difference to the experience, but I imagine a new stand with better capacity and facilities would make this little gem of a course even better.
Thank you for a good day’s racing, but watch the prices in the restaurants and this will put people off if you are not careful.