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Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Day At The Races

I’ve only drunk in The Arrol in Central Station twice. And never in the other station boozer, the aptly named Central Bar. No time though, we were off down the coast to the racing. Coffees and the formbook would do for now.
From my memories there was an endearing dinginess to Ayr Racecourse. The refurbishment came around 5years ago, I think, bringing carpets everywhere and bright new, immense toilets. They must turnover 40 blokes a minute. Contrast with the cramped, reeking versions of the last millennium.
We were upstairs in the Club area with access to a gallery overlooking the course and steps down to the turf and the independent bookies. The Horseshoe bar was ours too, but which one that was I’m not sure because there were at least 4 different counters serving alcohol (and some food purveyors). We had grabbed a table and some chairs in the gallery area to serve as our base as people moved between the bars, the bookies, the TV screens, the paddock and the finishing line.
Downstairs is the Grandstand area, basically just a bigger version of the first floor. Gone is the stone/concrete flooring I remember from a couple of visits with my papa. In those days all the lower area consisted of was a roof and little offshoots containing wee bars, and wee bookies. Very interesting places for a young fellow to explore, the sounds, the smells and the throng. People even smoked indoors too.
The only part of the new Ayr racecourse that reminds me of this is just outside one of the main lower doors. Exposed to the elements behind one of the old stands, all that we saw were some forlorn picnic tables and a lonely muffin stall. The entrances to the Creel and Courtyard bars were padlocked. A pity that. The doors to the past locked.
It was a good day though. Not spoiled really by the Fosters-only offerings at the bars and the disappointing appearance of the Champagne Bar and Gardens. Some of us even made a profit after receiving some insider knowledge.
In the 15 minute window we had before our train left for Glasgow I nipped across the road to the something Café for a quick pint, em, review. As you can tell I’d left my notebook behind somewhere so no review and no name for the pub. I promise to be more professional next time. Still, the pint was good, and it wasn’t a Fosters.

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