Saturday, 19 May 2007

A Day At The Races

"Don't do it..."

"Don't go.........You'll find out why when you get there"

This is common advice proffered to which I have now learnt to respond, " Have you been there or experienced this yourself?"

Almost invariably the answer is "No... but a friend of mine........."

And so it was when the subject of the Singapore races was raised with an acquaintance of ours. We had thought it might be interesting to go to Kranji and experience the wonders of the Singapore Turf Club. His endorsement was a luke warm at best.

Fortunately we ignored this second hand advice. I should mention at this junction that my wife and I are not what you might term 'hardened punters'. We never place a bet unless it is on a racecourse and our visits to such places are very rare - perhaps once in three years.

When the fire siren in our neighbourhood signalled 11 am (as it does every Saturday) we packed our bottled water and newly-purchased binoculars and headed for the Queenstown MRT station down the road.

Our train took us to Jurong East junction where we changed to the green line and proceeded towards our destination.

Kranji's more sobering claim to fame is the Kranji War Memorial which contains 4,000 graves of servicemen who died under Japanese occupation.

Alighting at the station we confirmed that the racecourse was immediately opposite and linked by a covered way. No exposure to the hot midday sun which was a real plus.

We had a choice of paying a $3 entrance fee or $7 for the air-conditioned, covered stand. I don't have to explain which option we decided upon. Up the escalator and into air conditioned bliss.

I had been concerned that smoking would be allowed in the 2nd storey area but this proved to be an unnecessary worry. We went through the electronic turnstiles and found ourselves seats with a good view of the winning post. Here we paused to do justice to a large bowl of noodles before getting down to studying the form in the racebook we had purchased - another $3 painlessly extracted by a smiling Singaporean vendor.

The facilities were first class with large video screens providing commentary and analysis as well as results - which seldom went our way! Not even a passing thunderstorm changed the odds in our favour and we went home a little lighter in the pocket than when we came.

All in all it was most pleasant day out and an experience that I would recommend to others.

"Have you been there....?"

"Well yes, actually I have"