The sun was shining and thousands turned out dressed in their finest outfits and hats – it was another fantastic Ladies Day at Perth Racecourse!
It was an action-packed race card that didn’t disappoint, and away from the track the main stage in the grandstand area was hosted by the brilliant Stuart Webster who kept the crowd entertained throughout the day. Those in the VIP area in centre course were treated to Gok Wan’s Fashion Brunch Club before the action got underway.
On the track, things started well for the punters as the favourite Enzani romped home, ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson who is known to do well at Perth. The 5/4 favourite got the bookies off to the worst possible start as the six-year-old beat off competition from local trainer Lucinda Russel’s four-year-old Mr. Grumpy. Yours truly had the winner in the first, but sadly it would be the only race I correctly predicted on the day!
After the first race, attention turned back to the main stage as Stuart welcomed our very own Nicki Martin to judge the competition for the Grand Lady, and decide which lucky woman would walk away with a £2,000 prize courtesy of St. John’s Shopping Centre. After much deliberation, Nicki chose Gillian Wilson from Ayrshire as the winner – with tears of joy from Gillian as she accepted the cheque from fashion guru Gok Wan!
The second race was better for the bookmakers as Brian Hughes rode 4/1 shot Baby Bach to victory ahead of the odds-on favourite Rainy City, trained by Paul Nicholls with Sam Twiston-Davies on board. The favourite was one of my tips on the day but as I found out as the action unfolded, my predictions weren’t worth following. In fact, the best tip of the day was the picnic table that toppled three women and their drinks onto the grass!
It was turning out to be a good day for the Irish horses they went three out of three by winning the third race. Like the winning horses in the opening two races, Micky Hammond trained Onlyfoolsownhorses rallied from being pushed along four out to claim victory. The horse was the clear favourite early on and was one I had intended on backing until activity at the betting ring led the six-year-old’s odds to start drifting. He still went off as the favourite, but having touched even-money earlier in the day, the horse went at 9/4. It turns out I should have stuck to my guns and backed him to win! Lesson learnt.
By this point, the crowd were well and truly in the party atmosphere and even a few unwelcome rain drops didn’t put a dampener on anyone’s spirits. The light rain quickly passed and the sunglasses were back on to watch the remainder of the race card.
Richard Johnson rode his second winner of the day on board Don Franco – a popular winner with the Perth crowd. The 4/1 second favourite was the fourth Irish winner from four races and looked relatively comfortable as the seven-year-old led taking the last.
Perhaps the most thrilling race at Ladies Day was the 4:15 Handicap Hurdle – where 6/1 shot Raise A Spark led approaching the last before falling and gifting the race to another Irish horse, Caius Marcius. With Craig Nichol on board, the favourite held off the challenge from my selection Verona Opera to claim the win. Another bad result for the bookies!
The penultimate race saw the first non-Irish winner of the day, with French horse Lou Vert trained by Paul Nicholls taking the prize. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, the horse lead with two to go and looked comfortable in the run-in. The final race would see a return to winning ways for the Irish horses as the 7/4 favourite Gold Chain took the last race of Ladies Day 2017. It would cap a poor day for the bookmakers with another favourite taking first place, but also a bad day for me as I just managed the one winner!
The entertainment wasn’t finished though and Stuart welcomed on to the stage the Take That Tribute Band to officially close the show by serenading the stunning women in the crowd with some of Gary, Mark, Howard, Jason and Robbie’s greatest hits. It was another highly successful Ladies Day for Perth Racecourse and one that will leave everybody excited already for 2018!