With the benefit of hindsight perhaps we should have staked a claim in the area in front of the stage much earlier in the afternoon, but we were having far too much fun watching and betting on the races.
In all my 54 years, I have only been to the races four times, which is a shame cos I really enjoy it. The first time was back in 1984 when I was a hostess on 'The Price is Right'. Central Television had sponsored a race meeting at Nottingham racecourse, so had invited all the 'celebrities' who were working for the channel at the time to go along for the day.
The picture (above left) was in the Nottingham Evening Post and shows me being swept of my feet by boxer Herol 'Bomber' Graham. Either he was a heavyweight or I must have weighed a lot less in those days!!!! I only remember putting money on one horse, which I selected because it had a sheepskin noseband! Unbelievably it was first past the post and I won £20, so I decided to quit while I was ahead.
My next day out at the races was at Lingfield which is not too far from where I live. It was a Crystal Palace Race Day which I had been invited to as I used to do some TV work for them at the time. Lots of the players were there mingling with the crowd but I don't remember backing any winners that day.
The third time I went to the races was very exotic. Ali Keenan and I were with our jewellery buyers on a trip to Hong Kong and we were treated to a night out at Happy Valley racetrack. We were wined and dined in a private box and also had a flutter or two on the horses. The atmosphere was electric as the Chinese love to gamble and place huge bets on the outcome of each race. I think my biggest stake was 10 HK Dollars, which in those days was about £1… last of the big spenders eh!
At Sandown I could not repeat my beginner's luck from Nottingham but I came close. I was going to put money on a 20 – 1 outsider called Hip Hip Hooray, but Daniel suggested I back the favourite instead, and as he had already had a couple of wins I went with his advice. No prizes for guessing which horse won!
We had a thoroughly enjoyable family day out and I must say I was suprised that I wasn't the only family member singing along to the Westlife songs. Dan and Sophie reminded me that for a good couple of years of their school life, every time I picked them up in the car I had Westlife on the CD player. Sophie in particular was word perfect to quite a few of the tracks! My only disappointment? – they didn't do 'Fool Again'… maybe next time.