Santa has reindeer, Sandown has horses; that's the way it has always been. But stick on a pair of antlers and who would notice the difference? (If people can mistake a horse for a cow, then it is not really such a far reach).
Okay, maybe gluing on antlers may fall short on a few regulations when it comes to animal welfare, so you might just have to imagine that bit; but things can still be just as festive at Sandown Park on the 6th-7th December, which is when they are holding their annual Tingle Creek Christmas Festival.
Ascot may be the most well known racecourse in Britain, but Sandown Park has a distinguished history of its own, having seen legendary riders such as Fred Archer, who in 1875, won a race in a torrential downpour. Soundown was also the favourite racing grounds of the Queen Mother.
The Esther Parkland in Surrey is about a twenty-five minute train ride from London Waterloo, and hosts a premiere enclosure, in which you can get up close and personal with the horses; it also has several bars and restaurants.
Hailed as one of the most exciting events on the Calendar, the inaugural Tingle Creek Christmas Festival is named after the park's most famous horse from the 1970s. Tingle Creek won twenty-three races during his career, and to honour his memory, the show features quality competitive racing with top class horses. As well as the races, there will also be a Cinderella Pantomime in Esther Hall, which is free to all attendees. The cast will greet you at the racecourse, after you are transported to the park by way of Victorian carriage. All children under 18 go free, while adult tickets starts from £16 for advanced grandstand tickets to £25 on the day in the premiere enclosure. You can also book a Winter Warmer for £40, which includes a £10 food voucher, £2 betting voucher, and race card.
Amongst the races there will be the toll house juvenile hurdle, advent novice's limited handicap steeple chase, and the future stars steeple chase. Henry VIII novices, the London national, and many more. There will also be lots of other forms of entertainment, including a visit from Father Christmas, carol singers, and children's activities.