"The cheering of punters, the thundering of hooves, the hustle of the bookies...it has to be horse racing the so-called sport of kings."
With only football drawing more spectators each year, horse racing is currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance. There are now more than 60 tracks in the UK, with plenty more in the pipeline.
Although some of the venues might be undergoing face-lifts, such as the recent overhaul at Doncaster, this doesn't mean the punters have had to. Racing is one of the only occasions when Racing Post readers and royalty rub shoulders. Of course, getting dressed up is still a longstanding tradition (especially on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot), but the majestic horses are undoubtedly the main focus - with the jockeys riding them a close second.
There are fixtures at courses in the region throughout the summer, which you can attend at a reduced price with the First TransPennine Express Back a Winner offer (click here for more details). For instance, Doncaster has races every other weekend from April until the end of June, while York kicks off the season with the 2009 May Festival from 13 to 15 May and holds at least one event every month until October.
The opportunity to win a few quid might be a driving factor for a day at the races, but the simple thrill of the race is reason enough to get anyone trackside. That's a sure bet.
To find out about races near you, visit britishhorseracing.com