One of the reasons we came to Milan was to visit the Ippodromo, the Milan racecourse. Situated to the north west of the city, we travel by M2 metro (otherwise known as the purple line) to the San Siro Ippodromo station. This station is one down from the San Siro stadium stop, as you can imagine the San Siro Stadium is a place, Mr Curmudgeon really wants to go, anyway less about football, more about the Ippodromo and the racing.
A part of Ippodromo race course is open all the time, because of the wonderful statue of a horse on display there. No normal horse statue this, designed by Leonardo Di Vinci back in the day, but made in America to his design, the horse stands some 20 feet tall and is absolutely huge, really huge in parts you wouldn’t want it to be!
Getting into the racecourse is free (yes free), we arrive, early as usual, but the course is open, having taken the requisite number of photos of the horse, Mr Curmudgeon decides to move into the actual course. Well ½ an hour is not too long to take a couple of snaps is it (sigh).
The course itself is in the Italianate style, built in the early 20th Century and is very beautiful, there is a wonderful dancing fountain at the front of the building, and some wonderful lawns and flower displays to wander through, well I would if on my own.
There is only a small part of the course that you cannot go into, which is the members stand, but this is so small that it does not impinge on the ordinary racegoers view at all, even the winning post is available and some wonderful stands to rest our weary bones. The course is relatively flat but looked lush and green in the brilliant sunshine, there is a jump track as well as flat racing at the racecourse so there is probably racing all year round here.
We had lunch at the only restaurant on the course and it is wonderful, with white linen and even proper napkins, what a joy! I have got to say the racegoers are not the usual racegoers you would find in Britain, they arrived wearing a variety of dress, cut off shorts, low slung jeans, open neck shirts, and in some cases no shirts at all, and that was just the men!
Racing finally underway, Mr Curmudgeon and I make our selections. When we go racing we both have a selection in every race, like a little competition, like most of the racecourses in Europe the main betting bit is the Tote, but you can take the price if you wish. As usual I pick the favourite and Mr Curmudgeon picks a bit of an outsider, he is good though and does get a winner or two. The first race starts, there is the normal excitement of a race anywhere in the world, the eager wish for your horse to win is still alive and singing. The first race goes to me, although short price at least I made a bit of a profit, Mr Curmudgeon loses.
Racing the world over is hard work, the viewing the horses in the paddock making your personal selection and placing a bet, going to the stands to watch and hope then returning to the unsaddling enclosure to view the winner and with a bit of luck go to collect your winnings.
We had a wonderful time at the race course and had 3 winners between us (2 to me and 1 to Mr Curmudgeon, Ha). But it was time to make our weary way back to the hotel for a well-earned rest before dinner.
The racecourse is not on the usual tourist trail and offers something different with a chance to mix with the locals and enjoy some sport in pleasant surroundings.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
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