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Leg 21 - Too Much Too Young

Leg 21 of the Around The Courses in 80 Days challenge brought me to the bustling Newcastle Racecourse, where the day kicked off with an insightful interview on BBC Newcastle, delving into the heart of my mission to support Dementia UK. If you missed the interview, you can catch it here, where my chat with Anna begins around 1:15:00 into the show.

Accompanied by friends Janette & Chris, who generously sponsored my nearby accommodation, and Andrew Cowan, a shareholder in the remarkable Odd Socks Havana of Purple Reins Racing, we embarked on a two-mile walk around the course, soaking in the atmosphere and camaraderie.

However, amidst the excitement of student night, security measures meant bucket collections were prohibited, despite the eagerness to contribute to such a vital cause.

While the evening unfolded with the thrill of racing, including Odd Socks Havana's impressive second-place finish, the influx of 6,000 students raised concerns. Witnessing disrespectful behavior, such as individuals banging on horseboxes, highlighted the delicate balance between financial support and maintaining the integrity of the sport.

Despite these challenges, conversations sparked by the cause resulted in £94 raised, reminding us of the power of dialogue and connection.

Among the evening's highlights was Stephen Thompson, fondly known as Tomma, captivating viewers on Sky Sports Racing with his infectious enthusiasm and distinctive Geordie accent, I think viewers may have needed subtitles. (excuse the wrong angle - no idea how to change it as this was sent by a friend)

As I prepare to journey south to Newmarket for the upcoming 1,000 Guineas meeting, the current total stands at an inspiring £5,422 raised for Dementia UK, reaffirming our commitment to reaching the £20,000 target. Remember, online donations play a crucial role in our collective efforts to make a meaningful difference.

With each step of this journey, we continue to unite in support of those affected by dementia, fueled by the belief that together, we can create lasting change.

Graham Arnold 3rd May 2024

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