A Beginners Guide to Going to a Race

A day at the races can be one of the most pleasurable days out that you can have, books have been written about it, albums have been made about it, and Hollywood films have graced the silver screen about it. And it is true, a day at the races is one of the best sporting days out that you can undertake.

Firstly, you have to choose your outfit, and if you are attending a big race meeting this may mean suits for the gentlemen and formal dresses for the women together with the appropriate hat of course. If you are a novice as far as racing goes, then you have to learn these basics to really get the most out of your day.


There is no getting away from it, going racing means gambling and for the uninitiated, betting can be a little daunting. Even if you only have a few quid on a horse it will guarantee hysteria as it races towards the finish line. When you arrive at the course you can pick up the race day program which dispenses some great tips on the horses and shows their past form (record) in their last few races. But in some races, you can have just as much luck if you pick a horse because of its name.  On the course there are two ways of betting, either on the Tote or with the bookies around the course.

The Tote

Part of the whole day out is the excitement of picking a winner, even though you may have only placed a small stake it is still a fantastic feeling when your horse passes the finish line first. It shows your judgment to be first rate and that you are indeed an expert on racehorses. Placing your bet with the tote, your stake is pooled together will all the other bets placed on that race, and if the horse wins the collective value of the bets is shared out among the ticket holders. The Tote is a major benefactor to the racecourse and supports racing in general.

The Tote
The Tote

The Bookies

If you want to place your bet on the course, then there are plenty of bookmakers that are normally located just near the finish line. They offer different odds on each horse, and have a board placed in front of their small stand displaying the current odds that they are offering. These odds can change literally every minute, so the skill is to place you bet when you think the best odds are showing. The bookmakers are part of the whole racing experience, their body language and colorful mannerisms are legendary and add to the whole race day experience. Finally, when you want to actually watch the race there are certain vantage points to do this. Many punters opt for a seat in the grandstand, but to get a seat actually on the winning line you may have to pay extra. For many, the noise and tension of the crowd is the only place to be, and there are many standing positions that you can be a part of the cheering crowd.