Smiley button

I can’t remember the last time I went to the races in Sydney and was really looking forward to spending Australia Day at Royal Randwick, until the edict was issued – only the new stand will be open, the Officials Stand will be closed, so I didn’t bother.

Having just moved and in dire need of a relaxing day at the races, I decided to accept the bait to view the new Rosehill Gardens refurbishment.

In short, I have to say, FINALLY, they got it, almost right.

No ifs or buts, a superb effort.

I snapped up a free table in T J’s Champagne Bar, left my form guide and selections for the day, written on notepaper all on the table, indicating that someone was sitting at the table and headed off, starting downstairs, in what I call the dungeon – excellent and well laid out.

Then up the escalator to the betting ring, T J’s Champagne Bar and Members Only area – again, well laid out, spacious and airy. I must admit I expected a much smaller area for the Members Only area. Even the outside area between the main stand and the Pavilion is a great spot.

The next level up was the Bistro and what a difference a hole in a wall makes – straight out into the stand – tops.

I did venture up further and even checked out one of the refurbished private boxes, nothing flash, bit claustrophobic, smaller than Royal Randwick, but probably does the job.

Ok, like everything, there needs to be a bit of tweeking, albeit that it’s a bit late for some things.

I had one major problem and the racegoers around me, no matter where I went, all seemed to have the same problem or comment – monitors.

Monitors are a major problem, both in position and content. Again, I suggest calling on a cross section of racegoers to workshop the problem, everyone likes to see their money go around and at the same time watch betting moves on monitors.

The female racegoers I spoke with had one major complaint – no extra toilets. As we all know, women spend an eternity queueing for the bathroom at venues, so sorry ladies, I guess it’s an occupational hazard.

Returning to my table in T J’s Champagne Bar, I discovered my Herald form, that I had meticulously done the scratchings for, at all venues even bloody Lismore, had been swiped, knocked off, lifted, stolen. I wonder if someone swiped it because after paying for a table, they couldn’t afford to buy a form guide ?! They did however leave my selections notepaper – everyone’s a critic.

Some people overseas may wonder why anyone would bother or, why I would bother writing this, especially racegoers in Hong Kong, used to first class venues.

Well, if you have visited Royal Randwick and experienced the Emperor’s New Clothes Pink Elephant Grandstand, then you would know how much trepidation ATC Members had in awaiting the refurbishment of Rosehill Gardens, especially as the $24million had been allocated years ago.

By the way, any interest paid on that tidy, little sum ?

You may not have noticed, but I have tried, tried so very hard to be positive and upbeat about the refurbishment, so I will simply say, FINALLY, well done ATC Committee and staff.

Norm Snowden

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  1. Norm Snowden says:

    Friends who didn’t attend Saturday’s ATC meeting at Rosehill Gardens to see the refurbishment have contacted me to ask, what makes it so good ? I tried to keep it brief, but beside areas now feeling more spacious and airy, it’s the furnishings. Little things like small wings on chairs making it easier to get in and out and pull the chair in under you. But what I really liked was the little nooks on the two lower floors with furniture making you feel like you’re in a private space, with more lounge type furniture, not to mention a good mixture of wood and metal. The biggest problem is still the fact that race going is an expensive exercise and even with the refurbishment, punters still prefer their club or a TAB. If the ATC refurbish the cost of hospitality, then there is no excuse not to be oncourse. Norm Snowden.

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