Approx no. of meetings
Getting there: Rail from London (25 Minutes from Waterloo) – Outside Zone 1-6 so not covered by Oyster.
Esher railway station to Racecourse (10 minute walk)
Taxis. No experience this time, but we have been told you can get them from the other end of the platform
Premier and standard areas in one main and very impressive grandstand plus various corporate boxes, Multiple bars including the Moet and Chandon bar which overlooks the parade ring, restaurants and several tote offices including stand alone and in bars.
We did this event by train, but Sandown Lodge is reasonably priced on site and Esher Place is close by or a more upmarket experience (Race goers get preferential rates).
Annual premier, grandstand, Jump or flat cards available. Single class, discount in advance, but also family area near the track on this day with a special rides for the children and superhero themed exhibits such as the Batmobile. Student and concessions on the day.
(2) Return before challenge complete
August 20th 2016 – UK Tracks Visited (17), Irish tracks visited (3)
Update from 5th January
Well here we are, after two years as members of Lingfield, we have upgraded to Sandown Park. This was our first meeting and no only have I included a couple of extra photos from the jumps meeting, but I would also like to mention the facilities. From the free members car park to the excellent (if a little cramped on a cold day) members lounge. The free coffee was very welcome on a dry January non drinking day. The view from the members seats is excellent and the stewards are excellent at making sure the rules are obeyed. From the rear of the members areas, the walk across to the area above the parade ring and the Rhodedendron horse walk are so easy, it makes viewing the actions and the pre-race build up very easy. There is also a great atmosphere and we spoke to several new member and some of longer standing who were very welcoming. Madam Hoof and I are looking forward to an excellent year as members and to see where this may lead in the future.
August 26th 2016
Even starting the day, Sandown came as a nice surprise as the tickets were purchased by Little Lord Orion and the Lady Lucie as something of a Father’s day present for Sir Hoof. It is a delight to go racing any day, but it is an even bigger delight when someone else is paying. My only trepidation is that it is Superheroes’ Day and after our experience of a couple of tracks on “dressing up” days, I had to amid to being a little nervous. I love the big courses and the large busy meetings, but Madam Hoof and I started this challenge primarily to see the whole spectrum of what exists across this fair land; It’s hard to beat Beverley on a sunny Tuesday afternoon Or Clonmel on a Thursday in October.
When we arrived at Esher station with an ominous sky hanging over us we were praying the weather would hold. The walk from the station is just ten minutes across the track, golf course and go kart areas. As you walk towards it, you can appreciate just how amazing Sandown is. The Grandstand is stunning and it is set in a beautiful area with mature trees and much greenery. It takes a few minutes when you come from this direction to get the lay of the land as the parade ring and the premier areas are predominantly the opposite from which you arrive, (if coming by train).
The track is the best of all worlds in terms of visibility as the entire things can be seen from most places in the grandstand and the grass in front. There is none of the blocked views of a Chester of Cartmel. There are also sufficient repeaters screens to be able to see the action in more detail.
In term of the food and drink, everything was reasonably priced (as a jockey club course is am guessing this is standardised across all their tracks). The champagne bar was always going to be a big draw for madam Hoof, but possibly a better range of beers would be good if you are going to have petty Hitler’s walking around enforcing where alcohol can and can’t be drunk. The seafood sandwiches were very good especially the crab.
In the end, the weather just about held, mostly sun and a bit of drizzle from which we hid under the umbrellas. The return journey (Southern region aside) was just as easy and the track is a joy to get around. The layout, even with the parade ring behind the grandstand is good enough that there was no real issues with the ebb and flow of people between races. We will certainly consider returning again before the end of the challenge as we found the place charming, friendly and lots of fun.