27 July 2009 – The Journal (Newcastle publication)
IT was as much about the regalia as the runners for the capacity crowd basking in the splendour of Ladies’ Day. More than 25,000 converged on Newcastle Racecourse with race cards in one hand and their drink of choice in the other.
As promised there was no sign of a stolen hoard of Champagne and spirits interfering with the merriment of the day.
Drinks flowed with ease as winners and losers alike all sought to make the most of the Beeswing-sponsored occasion.
Sublime sunshine beat down on the event taking the chill off ice-cubes as they bobbed in glasses of Pimms and gin and tonics.
Executive Director Mark Spincer said: “With advance ticket sales at a record, we knew we were going to be close to capacity, and that’s the way it has turned out.
“Ladies’ Day at Gosforth Park has been a soaraway success with many thousands of people enjoying a fantastic occasion. Although economic times are hard, everyone has been determined to enjoy themselves.’
The end of the racing failed to spell the end of the day as groups of punters drifted back into the city to celebrate and commiserate.
City centre venues said they had also enjoyed their busiest Saturday of the year so far.
The Pitcher and Piano, on Newcastle’s Quayside has become a firm favourite with race-going crowds. General manager Andrew Shiel-Redfern confirmed it achieved a 10% boost in takings.
He said: “We love Ladies’ Day here, it’s always hugely beneficial to us, especially when the weather’s good.
“I think we still have that kudos of being by the river, which is somewhere everyone wants to head when they move on from the races. I think we’re lucky, even when it gets extremely busy we still manage to maintain a great atmosphere.’