Do you know what makes me Really bloody angry?
Dress codes in the members enclosure at racecourses, that's what. Not every racecourse I hasten to add, just the ones in Yorkshire. There are quite a few racecourses around the country who state that jackets and ties must be worn in the members enclosure, fair enough if the weather is reasonably cool, but Bloody Stupid when it is hot and humid.
I've visited most of the major racecourses during the summer months at one time or another, and the vast majority of them relax their members dress code in hot weather, and you can just wear a shirt and tie. The ones that don't relax their dress code are York and Doncaster, and where are they both situated - Yorkshire.
Let's get one thing straight, the best flat racing course by a mile is Ascot, and they sensibly don't force you to wear jackets in extreme heat, neither do Newmarket, Goodwood, Sandown, Kempton, Chester, Haydock or Newbury. So what makes bloody Yorkshire so special?
Why is it that the people who pay the most money to enter the best enclosure have to spend the afternoon in the most discomfort? I've experienced this several times when I've been to the aforementioned Yorkshire courses, most notably the Ebor meeting at York in 1997 when it was about 28 degrees and as humid as hell, would they let you remove your jacket - not a chance.
Most recently I went to Doncaster on St Leger day, again it was about 28 or 29 degrees and fairly humid. On the way in I asked one of the stewards if I had to wear a jacket, and he said that they never relax the dress code. It got hotter and hotter, and people gradually got more p****d off, I even overheard a couple of stewards saying how ridiculous the rule was.
Then after the second race there was an announcement over the tannoy - "For today only, Gentlemen in the members enclosure may remove their jackets", what happened, did somebody overheat and drop dead?, because that's probably what it would take to make the stupid b******s relax the dress code. The announcement was given as if they were trying to calm down a crazed horde of peasants, I looked up at the roof of the grandstand, half expecting a shower of boiling oil, though it wouldn't have made anybody any hotter.
Don't let anybody tell you that people in the South of England are snobs, no Sir, the real snobs are in the North, as this article proves. I often wonder who is actually in charge of these Yorkshire racecourses, they've got to be old gits. I reckon it's one of those Yorkshire characters that Hale and Pace did - you know the ones, shirt and tie, blazer and panama hat, always moaning and thinking that they're better that everybody else. They're the sort of prats that would make you wear a jacket no matter how hot the weather gets.
These people need to remember that above all, racing is just a sport like any other, and racecourses rely on racegoers to keep them in business. So why enforce ridiculous rules that are totally unnecessary and just annoy people?. Surely a shirt and tie is smart enough without a jacket, what difference does it make?. To illustrate this, did anybody start behaving badly after they gave the announcement at Doncaster that men could remove their jackets?, did any fights break out?, did anybody start using abusive language?. In each case the answer is no.
Cheltenham = Sensible Doncaster = Stupid
The jackets rule is also unfair on us blokes, women can turn up wearing practically nothing (not that I'm complaining about that, obviously), but we have to sweat it out in jackets when in any other circumstances only a masochist would wear one.
The idiots that make these rules are throwbacks to the Victorian age and must be retired and put out to pasture now. As we enter the 21st century, let's see a bit of common sense and confine these stupid dress codes to the rubbish bin of history where they belong.