Horsing Around at the races with David Walliams #under18sracefree

Here’s a question for you. Would you consider taking your young family for a day at the races?

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Helen and Izzy are delighted to meet David Walliams at the launch of Great Bristish Racing’s Horsing Around videos, part of its #Under18sRaceFree campaign.

This is what Great British Racing is encouraging families to do. The promotional body has hauled in big names including David Walliams, who needs no introduction, and Billy Jenkins, who plays a very young Prince Charles in The Crown, to make the point that racing makes a great family day out.

To see if I agreed, I was invited along to Sandown Park with Helen and Izzy for the launch of a series of short films called Horsing Around that Walliams and Jenkins have starred in. They’ve been made to promote Great British Racing’s #Under18sRaceFree campaign.

I’ll tell you about Horsing Around in a moment. First of all, let me tackle the question of whether racing is a family activity.

Family day at the races: A good idea?

As you’ve probably figured out from the #Under18sRaceFree name, racecourses are allowing children to attend race fixtures at no charge if accompanied by a fee-paying adult. Over the summer months, there are 200 fixtures taking place at 60 different racecourses at which under 18s can go along at no charge, including more than 50 special family days.

This wasn’t the first time we had attended the races as a family. A few years ago we spent a day at Ascot and vowed to return but we simply never got around to it. On that first occasion, Izzy was still in a buggy and it was a bit tricky as she needed to nap.

Returning with slightly older children, however, was a different matter. While there was no need to find somewhere for an infant to nap, both kids needed entertaining between the races. Would the kids behave themselves inbetween races? Was there enough to keep them entertained? Could I get a decent bite to eat?

I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely convinced there would be enough to keep Helen and Izzy entertained but they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The beauty of a racecourse is that there’s a lot of open space so you can find a spot, pitch up and let the kids run around and burn off energy. On this particular occasion, there was a ‘jockey simulator’ for youngsters to try out and get a sense of what it’s like to ride a horse.

When the racing itself took place, the kids either watched on the big screen or viewed events through binoculars. I think the binoculars themselves are enough to keep little ones entertained for some considerable time!

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What A Welcome ridden by Joey Haynes crosses the line. Pic credit: Imagecomms

While we didn’t experience this ourselves, at most racecourses it is possible for children to meet a racehorse and fairground rides and other entertainments are frequently laid on for younger visitors.

That said, we did get to meet famous jump jockey David Crosse. The point was made to us that racing is a very accessible sport and that kids would be free to chat to jockeys at the races.

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Izzy tries out the horse racing simulator. I must say, I hadn’t apperciated how messy her hair was until I saw this picture! Pic credit: Imagecomms.

I know Mrs Adams and I would enjoy a day at the races. Helen and Izzy had great fun playing with the other kids that were there and there was a lot more going on for their age group than I expected so I’m pretty sure we’ll be back.

What’s more, my great blogging friend Vicki Psarias of the Honestmum blog was also at the races so we got to catch up. Just shows how social a race meet can be!

Horsing Around

As I’ve mentioned, at this particular fixture, Great British Racing launched the Horsing Around series. There will be five short films in total with Billy Jenkins playing the role of David Walliams’ son. Episode one and two have already been released, although we were given a sneaky peek at all five videos in the series.

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Left to right: Billy Jenkins, David Walliams and ITV racing commentator Ed Chamberlin officially launch the Horsing Around series of videos.

The episodes follow the pair as a reluctant Walliams is persuaded to take his enthusiastic son to the races for his birthday. It’s a perfect role for Walliams whose deadpan humour shines through and Jenkins does a great job of showing up his fathers’ ignorance of racing.

I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you everything that happens, but it transpires Walliams is scared of horses. I’ll simply say that by the end of episode five, Walliams has actually met a couple of jockeys and got up close and personal with a racehorse.

I’ve embedded episode one below. Simply click on the video to watch it.

Returning some time soon

We had a great time at Sandown Park. Helen is a huge fan of David Walliams’ books and she and her sister left with signed copies of Billionaire Boy and Rat Burger which both have been reading at bedtime.

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I can’t resist taking a photograph or two while Izzy gets a book signed by David Walliams. Pic credit: Imagecomms.

I know the next visit won’t have the glamour of A-listers like Walliams or Jenkins but we are keen to return. That long six-week summer holiday is on the horizon and I imagine we will make it to a fixture or two. The fact the kids get in for free definitely makes it more appealing.

To find out more about fixtures where children can go for free, please take a look at the Great British Racing website.

Disclosure: This commissioned post was produced in association with Great British Racing. Thoughts and opinions entirely my own. 

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8 Comments

  1. June 1, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Sounds like a great way to spend a family day out!

    • John Adams
      Author
      June 2, 2018 / 5:24 am

      Of it sure was and as you can imagine, the kids were over the moon to meet David Walliams and Billy Jenkins. Not, of course, that that would happen on a typical day at the races! Anyway, there’s lots to do so it’s a great way to spend some time with the family. Definitely one to consider.

  2. June 2, 2018 / 11:57 am

    Oh wow what a cool experience to meet him! Bet the kids loved this day out and a day at the races really can be fun for everyone.

    Laura x

    • John Adams
      Author
      June 3, 2018 / 6:30 am

      Oh they had a truly marvellous time Laura. They can’t wait to get to school and tell their friends.

  3. June 2, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    This sounds like a great day out, John. As you say, future meetings may not have that sprinkle of stardust but the fact that you’d still go again anyway speaks volumes.

    • John Adams
      Author
      June 3, 2018 / 6:31 am

      Sure would David. I think it’s the space of the racecourse that makes it. They can go off and play in green spaces and get food or what have you quite safely. Attractions like fairground rides always increase the appeal.

  4. June 3, 2018 / 6:51 am

    Wonderful to see you and the gang as always! Blogged about our extraordinary evening too. Isn’t David a complete ledge!

    • John Adams
      Author
      June 3, 2018 / 6:54 am

      David is a massive legend. I confess my kids really enjoy Britain’s got Talent, a show I never understood until i saw how it genuinely inspires them. As for his writing, they’re both massive fans. A real talent. Great to catch up with you again Vicki and hope we see each other again soon.