On Tuesday 18th June 2013 I travelled down to London on the bus, then got the train to Kempton Park to meet up with other members of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London for an evening at the races. For the reasonable enough price of £92 we got access to the Royal Box, a decently sized buffet and a free drink upon arrival. There were around 40 of us in attendance, making for a close knit and friendly group who all had a lot of fun and banter together as the evening progressed.

The first race was the 6:10pm – Ladies Day at Kempton Park Apprentice Handicap. I didn’t personally bet on this race, as I had the idea that I would save all my money and only bet on the Wessex Cup, which was the penultimate race of the evening. This idea soon went out of the window when I saw what a good time everyone else was having, and felt quite left out by the fact that they all had a vested interest in the race and I was just passive and not really that bothered. As the advert goes, it matters when there’s money on it. So, by the time it got to the second race – the 6:40pm Betvictor No Lose Hughes Money Back Handicap, I decided to have a little flutter. I put my money on Victorian Number, to win. He came in second. Damn it!

I didn’t fare much better in the next few races either. I earned my money back plus a profit of 30p on Future Reference in the 7:10, then lost more money on Tiger Jim in the 7:40. In the 8:10, literally everyone from our group backed Cockney Bob (because of Bob Ellis), but unfortunately, I’d backed him to win again, and he came second. Ha, it really wasn’t my night for gambling. Next up was the race we were all waiting for, the Silver Blaze Wessex Cup, running at 8:40pm.

Before hand, we all went into the enclosure and had a look at the horses. That was an interesting experience, and quite a privilege. I’ve never actually been that close to a horse before. They really are beautiful creatures. I made sure I had a couple of bets on this race, and they were my largest bets of the night, but they still didn’t get me any closer to a winning horse. I had my money on Spieta and Irene Kennet. Spieta came second. The winner was Thwart, and afterwards we were all in the winner’s enclosure to present the owners with the Wessex Cup and have our photograph taken saying “Sherlock” and “Moriarty” instead of “cheese”.

The final race of the evening, I put some money on North Pole, and actually managed to win a fiver, the most I’d won over the entire night, and although it didn’t make up for the forty pound I’d lost, I had such a brilliant time that I wasn’t the least bit bothered. It was just exciting to be there, to take part, to be with friends and to share in the experience as well as have plenty of interesting conversations about Sherlock Holmes. In between all of the races we found time to savour the buffet, which was a reasonable spread and very tasty, and the drinks weren’t a bad price either considering where we were.

All in all, a great night. I’ll definitely go again next time they run it.