GCA AGM - Ladies Race Day 2009
The fifth annual GCA Ladies Race Day was held earlier than usual this year at Pontefract racecourse in Yorkshire. A decent turnout was achieved by members, quite a considerable achievement in these difficult times. The ladies, as usual, looked fabulous in their racing attire. Well done to everyone for such a lovely effort. Better luck next year gentlemen!
Everyone met for a coffee or even breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Leeds on the Race Day morning. Easy to find said a ‘Mr Keith Shepherd’ but unfortunately an enthusiastic Leeds council had close a critical slip road to repaint the nearby flyover. As a result we kept seeing Debbie Thomas and Elaine Haigh driving over the aforementioned flyover several times before Mr ‘Tom Tom’ Keith talked them down into the hotel. Don’t worry girls it happens to the best of us!
We all eventually left the Crowne Plaza and arrived at the racecourse which is situated half a mile from junction 32 of the infamous M62. We were not quite sure if the bus driver was going to be there when we got back, however, we pressed on regardless. The course and facilities where very pleasant, although a little compact, this made for a friendly atmosphere. The party was met by Julie who once again had performed miracles in organising everything and thus creating a wonderful experience for all. Many thanks again to Julie. Our lounge this year was on the corner with two balconies. One overlooked the Parade Ring with the other the Finishing Post.
The formalities of the day came next with the AGM. Max Rowland, our venerable chairman, took the floor to welcome the GCA members and to introduce Robert Osborne. Robert has taken over from Paul Neale at Kingston Smith. I hope he has been warned about us and we wish him luck as our Secretary General. The re-election took place of Chairman and Deputy (Max and Keith Shepherd) and, much to everyone’s surprise, three new members to join the committee. These were Mark Birks (V Seal), Simon Winfield (MacLellan Rubber) and Simon Carless (WC Munsch). Welcome on board gentleman your help will be very much appreciated by all.
As the AGM was concluded the races finally got underway with the obligatory glass of champagne and as they say “we were off”. Next up was the race day commentator, Graham Orange, who gave a short but knowledgeable presentation of the course and the days racing. Amongst the many interesting facts he enlightened us with was that the first recorded racing was held at Pontefract in 1801. Although it was known that racing was going on from as early as the Civil War. It is the longest continuous circuit in Europe and is a left handed or anti clockwise course. It has an uphill finish and as such suits the strong staying type of horse. Should suit GCA members to a tee. He was extremely accurate with his recommendations with 5 out of 7 of his choices passing the finishing post first. Baltimore Jack, Citrus Star and Theola to name just a few. It’s a pity not all members followed this advice with some people deciding to use more fanciful ways of picking winners with varying degrees of success. Even in the last race there were three horses with diamonds in their name. We all know that diamonds are a girls’ best friend but it was a wise man that picked the winner! (Wiseman Diamond of course).
All in all it was a successful day with all the happy punters departing on the bus (which had miraculously turned up) well fed and watered. Some having gained financially, others not, but all had gained from a most enjoyable experience.
Jill Kirk - GCA Committee