It's not the first thing you expect to catch the eye when going to the races. Most punters are sizing up the fillies - especially on ladies' day! (Joke) Others puzzle over their race card, as the pros are quick to attend the betting ring.
In my old age, I must have grown a fascination with iron gates. Very strange, hey. The gates look weather-beaten, or perhaps they've been kicked by an errant thoroughbred who didn't like the look of the first or last furlong? (Depending on entry or exit.)
So what's all this chatter about gates?
Well, I've been a regular patron at the Great Yarmouth racecourse since a youngster. A fondness of toffee apples, candy floss, and love for betting odds. This year, I decided to buy the annual membership because it encourages me to go to this lovely course a little more often.
Traveling from the Fenland town of March in Cambridgeshire it takes a good couple of hours. A train journey familiar to those who change at Ely. Next, stop Norwich, then a ride on some clapped-out coach which goes the pace of a geriatric snail shadowing the Acle straight, which is a murderous road to take if driving, to the seaside town of Great Yarmouth. There's plenty of wildlife to be seen on the Bittern Line.
In its own way, I like the journey. The site of Ely Cathedral, the ship of the fens, heading to Thetford Forest, then Norwich which is home to a football team called the Canaries.
On Platform 5B I saw Racing UK's TV pundit Eddie Freemantle waiting for the said train to Yarmouth. I didn't say hello as I hate to intrude when I could see he was assessing the speed of the snail-like train by Timeform and noticed how inadequate leg room forced his angular knees to poke into the aisle way. He had the good manners to move them as passengers walked by. (The things you notice on public transport).
Anyway, back to the gates.
Just past the finishing line at the racecourse, these ornate iron gates depict a horse and jockey with a finished line somewhere between the front and back. I've never been sure of a horse's anatomy bar its nose. The artwork is primitive which adds to its charm. (You can see the photo at the top of the page.)
It isn't the best photo as it was taken by my good self. No hidden talents there.
I couldn't help wonder who had made the gates and when they were put in place. The lustre has faded with age but they still tell a story which I would love to hear.
I wonder if I wrote to the racecourse whether they would reply? Perhaps the story has been lost with time?