I’m not big into the gigis myself. My knowledge would be limited. I remember being sent off on assignments to interview people in the horse racing industry when I worked as a sports journalist and winging it; totally winging it.
Every single time I drive across The Curragh with the kids in the car, they are always amazed to see the horses and their ‘jockolies’ (as Sarah calls them!) out and about. So, when I told Aidan we were off to The Curragh to the horse racing last Sunday, he was beside himself with the excitement.
We are forever out and about with the kids at the weekend. I love when all four of us get a fun day out. Some of our favourites are Airfield Estate in Dundrum, Kilruddery House in Bray and Imaginosity in Sandyford. It’s actually quite rare that we stay local in Kildare so on Sunday it was fierce handy to hop in the car and be down at The Curragh for the Keeneland Family Day in five minutes. And sure there was even a lad in a golf buggy in the car park who ferried up to the gate on the course much to the delighted of Aidan and Sarah.
The early bird catches the worm and all that, so we were on site for 12.30pm. I had small and hungry mouths to feed so I figured it would be easier do it before the crowds got in. The burgers from the pop up from The Dew Drop Inn in Kill went down the finest! The small pair had a good old boogie to the live band on stage, while myself and Daddy Chambers sat back and enjoyed the sun for a while.
Of course then came the request from Aidan. “I want to go horse racing,” says he. Luckily it was almost time for the first race. The horses were in the parade ring so we popped over for a look. Himself asked me if he could be the number one horse’s ‘jockoly’ and he was less than impressed when I told him said horse had already sorted a jockoly for the race! Then doesn’t he turn round to me and asked me if I thought he’d be able to run as fast as the horses. No, says I. Well he was outraged! “How am I going to win the horse race then mammy?” he asked. The poor devil actually thought HE was going to be racing the horses! The innocence!
I managed to calm him down by coaxing him over to the Kidzone, which was specially set up for the family day. This year it was all indoors, which I can only assume was due to the construction work going on at the course. There was still plenty to do mind you. The lovely and talented Anita Kinsella was painting faces to beat the band. She transformed Aidan into a terrifying lion, while Sarah sat for ages playing with Play-Doh. The people from the National Reptile Zoo were there too. I can’t say I was impressed but the kids were! They had a feel of a snake, a Bearded Dragon (lizard), a turtle and a tarantula, as I cowered behind them! I wouldn’t be much of a reptile fan to be totally honest. Also in the Kidzone was a magician, a painting station, in fact there was loads to keep them entertained all day.
Once Aidan got over his disappointment, he was keen to get back out to watch the horses and jockolies. In the parade ring I pointed out the one and only Aidan O’Brien to him and he was well impressed that ‘that man is called after me’! After that he wanted all of the ‘Aidan man’s’ horses to win! And he was in luck too, that Aidan man’s horse Sioux Nation won the big one on Sunday, the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes.
Sarah wasn’t as interested in the racing as her big brother but she nearly lost her life with excitement when she turned around to see a life sized Peppa Pig standing behind her. Peppa is her idol you see! Then all these characters started popping out of the woodwork. There was Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol, Elsa from Frozen, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, a Minion, Transformers and Spiderman to name but a few.
The Curragh Racecourse is a local amenity I don’t utilise enough. More family days would be great but considering Aidan actually enjoyed watching the racing I may take him more. Not to any of the big meets mind you, that would be minus craic, but the smaller ones, the quieter ones make for a lovely family day out.