Now that Royal Ascot is in full swing, we have pulled together this guide to help you get the most out of your day at the horse races and any others you may be attending over the summer.
- Arrive in plenty of time, gates typically open at least 2 hours before the first race.
- On arrival buy a race card, this will list all the runners and riders, their form and the times of the races (there are usually 6-8 races per day)
- It’s advisable to take enough cash with you as not all racecourses will have cash machines
- Get yourself familiar with the racecourse layout. Locate the parade ring, how you get to the grandstand to watch the race, where to place a bet if you’d like to and maybe where the bar is!
What to wear at the races
- As the British flat turf season runs from April – November what to wear is very much weather dependant
- Suitable footwear – they say that fashion hurts and that can definitely be the case at the races if you’re in high heels all day
- Binoculars are very handy to keep a close eye on the horses during the race
- Bear in mind that different race meetings have different dress codes, check before you go
Where best to see the horses
- Before the race, horses will be taken to the ‘Pre-Parade’ ring. Here they will be saddled up and their tack given last minute checks and any special equipment fitted such as blinkers etc.
- They then move into the main Parade ring, here owners and trainers will give instructions to their jockey before giving them a leg up. Read the form guide and check the colours whilst you’re looking at them and decide who you’re going to put your money on!
- Get a good position in the grandstand or by the rails to watch your horse gallop to victory
- Enjoy cheering your winning stead back into the winner’s enclosure but don’t forget to pick up your winnings afterwards
How to place a bet
- Once you decide who you’re going to put your money on you can either bet ‘To Win’ (your horse must come first) or ‘Each Way’ (your horse must be placed in the top 2, 3 or 4 depending on the number of starters), betting ‘Each Way’ will cost you double as you are betting on the horse to win and betting on the horse to be placed.
- There are usually independent bookmakers at each racecourse as well as the Tote.
- The ‘Odds’ are what you will win if your horse wins, so if you bet £1 at 5/1 and your horse wins you will win £5 plus your £1 stake.
- Keep hold of your ticket as you will need this to claim your winnings.
Races of note in the British flat racing calendar
- The Guineas festival held at Newmarket Racecourse in May featuring the 2000 (for Colts) and 1000 (for Fillies) Guineas.
- The Derby festival held at Epsom racecourse in early June featuring the most coveted title in the history of British racing – The Derby!
- Royal Ascot held at Ascot racecourse in mid-June featuring 5 days of mouth-watering racing with runners from around the world
- Glorious Goodwood held at Goodwood racecourse in late July/early August featuring the ‘Magnolia Cup’ where jockeys race in special colours designed by top fashion designers
- The Ebor festival held at York, nicknamed the Royal Ascot of the North featuring 4 days of top class racing and stand out fashion.
Royal Ascot - What you need to know
- Royal Ascot is the only flat racing festival to have a Group 1 race up for grabs on each day (a Group 1 race is the highest level race there is and winning one significantly increases the value of the horse and that of its off spring)
- Don’t miss the Royal procession on the racecourse at 2pm each day
- Plan your picnic – famed for its car park picnics, seasoned picnickers spend months planning how to impress their friends with homemade coronation chicken and mini cheesecakes!
- Expect to see an array of fabulous fashion and extravagant hats, though be aware that if you are going into the Royal Enclosure there are very strict rules on what can and can’t be worn including the size of your hat and the length of your dress, and men must wear a morning suit.
Good luck to all the SPILLERS fuelled horses running at Royal Ascot!