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. There are cash machines at the course, 
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. However, there is a big screen if you don't want to use binoculars. 

You'll enjoy your day more if you know a little bit about betting and horses. Pick up a racecard from the course (which are £3.50 or £3 in advance - to be collected on the day) and you'll find all the runners plus features and tips.  

Visit the paddock before the race

Visit the paddock to see the runners before they head out on to the course. This is a chance for you to look at the horses you think might win.

Look for:

  • Good muscle tone
  • Shiny coat
  • Bright eyes
  • Alert manner
  • An athletic walk


  • Very sweaty horses
  • Very agitated horses

Study the form

Points to look for:

  • 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 but there's even more in the Timeform racecards and The Racing Post, both of which are available to buy on course.

Making a bet

Once the horses leave the parade ring, you've got about five minutes to place your bets and get to the stand to watch the race.

Shop around – Bookmakers often offer different prices so be sure to shop around to get the best value.

Know what you want – state the horse's name or racecard number to the Bookmaker 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.

After the race – head for the winner's enclosure and then prepare for your next race.

Ante post betting 

You can also bet before the race day on big races and many bookies also offer early prices in the morning. Try searching online before you come to the races.

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