When did you go to your first horse racing meeting? Perhaps you have never been and have no intention about going.
You know, even though it sounds a strange thing to say, going to the races isn't all about betting on the horses or losing your shirt. For many, betting is their priority and good for them. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with gambling as long as you use login and reason (don't drink and bet at the same time, unless it is a drinking competition and you can neck a yard of ale like a Newzealand prop forward.)
I must admit I like a bet. I don't bet for fun as this is my profession along with running umpteen websites. So, horseracing, in many ways, is my life. It doesn't consume every second on the day but it eats up a giant chunk of the working week. However, it isn't a chore because I enjoy what I do for a living.
The first time I went to the races? To be honest, I can't remember what age. No, it wasn't because of a drunken haze. I imagine I was nine or ten years old and went to Great Yarmouth horseracing with my Dad. We used to stay down the road at a caravan park at Caister-on-sea, Norfolk. I'm sure many readers will have a similar experience of being interested in gambling by a relative or friend. (You have them to blame if it has all gone pear-shaped!).
I pride myself on being an educated gambler - who actually wins money. Don't believe all those stories that you cannot beat the bookies. The majority don't but many do. As the travelling French salesman said as he rode his bike: ''Know your onions.''
So here are my 5 Reasons to Go Horse Racing:
1) Even if you are not a gambler, you may be surprised how enjoyable a day at the races can be. Remember, children under 18 go free and if you are a carer looking after a family member or friend you don't need to pay. The spectacle of watching the horses, brightly coloured silks worn by the jockeys is something you don't see every day and it makes for an exciting day. the sound of the horses' hooves rattling down the final furlong, the booming commentary (hopefully mentioning your horse) and the cheer of the crowd. It sure gets the blood pumping through your veins.
2) Autograph hunters, photo with your favourite horse trainer or jockey. Horseracing is all about media and very few people in the racing game will turn down an opportunity to sign a race card, take a snap (photo) or point you in the direction of the bar (joke).
3) The hustle and bustle of the betting ring. There is nothing like placing a bet with a bookmaker on course. Searching for the best price. ''Look, I've seen 11/4 over there, while the others are priced at 5/2''. You don't win if you don't bet. (You don't lose either so remember that part if you are having a day you would rather forget).
4) Celebrity watching. Even at a small horseracing meeting, you can see a celeb or two. They may be from the racing world such as Lester Piggott, or Shiek Mohammed, flying in by helicopter to watch a two-year-old fancy at Great Yarmouth. There is much to see and enjoy. If you go to Chester, the chances are you will see a professional footballer or two. I even heard that Scarlett Johansson was seen at Huntingdon on a cold, winters afternoon.
5) Whether you win or lose at the races you have the opportunity to watch the best horses in the world. Who would forget seeing such brilliant equine specimens as Frankel, the day Dessert Orchid won the Gold Cup. Take a photo, because one day you can look back and say with pride: ''I was there!''