New To Racing Guide

Racing Explained

There's nothing like a day at the races for excitement, thrills and quality entertainment. Please remember to book ahead if you want to dine in one of our restaurants

First time coming racing? Visit Racing Explained for an introductory guide. There is also an app for Android and iPhone which can help you get the most from your day. 

What to bring

  • Cash – most bookmakers only accept bets of £5 or more, though the Tote will take bets from £2 which you can pay by credit or debit card.
  • Your racecard – all you need to know plus features and tips for £3 on the day or £2.50 in advance.
  • Camera – don't forget to disable the flash so you don't upset the horses.
  • Binoculars – bring your own to catch all the action or hire them at the course.

You'll enjoy your day more if you know a little bit about betting and horses. Remember to visit the paddock before the race!

What to look for:

When you visit the parade ring before the race, look out for horses with:

  • Good muscle tone
  • Shiny coat
  • Bright eyes
  • Alert manner
  • A relaxed walk


Very sweaty horses
Very agitated horses

Study the form

A horse's past performance is key to knowing how it will run. Points to look for include:

  • Past wins or places (1st, 2nd or 3rd) at the course.
  • Performance on the same going (ground conditions).
  • Performance over the same distance.

Your racing card has some essential information, and there's more in The Racing Post.

Making a bet

Once the horses leave the parade ring, you've got about 5 mins to place your bets and get to the stand to watch the race.Shop around – bookies often offer different prices so be sure to shop around to get the best value.

State the horse's name or racecard number to the bookie and the amount you want to bet. Check the ticket they give you and keep it safe – you'll need it to collect your winnings. You can collect your winnings any time on the day.

Ante post betting – you can also bet before the race day and many bookies also offer early prices on the day. Try searching online before you come to the races.

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