There is nothing quite like getting dressed up and spending a day at the racecourse, feeling the buzz in the air, hearing the thundering of hooves on turf as the runners draw near and, hopefully, experiencing the elation of witnessing your horse clinch a lucrative victory.
When you buy your tickets, you will have to choose the enclosure in which you will be based on the day of your visit.
Most courses have a premier enclosure, which will be the most costly option but which will offer the finest facilities and the best views. They will enforce a dress code in this enclosure, ranging from the men’s formal morning dress and women’s “modest” daywear and hat during the Royal Ascot, to Beverley where men are simply required to sport a collared shirt, with tie and jacket optional.
Premier ticket holders are generally accommodated close to the winning post, winner’s enclosure and parade ring and have a selection of high-end bars and restaurants in which to relax.
The grandstand and paddock areas are the largest and busiest parts of the course, where casual dress is usually acceptable, although many people still enjoy the experience of dressing up for the event.
In these sections of the course, you will find all manner of food and drink outlets, as well as the main betting ring for placing those all-important wagers.
Some racecourses, like York, have a course enclosure, which is an open-air expanse of grass at trackside on which you can sit and enjoy the action for a very reasonable price. You won’t have fantastic views of the whole race, but there are usually big screens showing what’s happening and you will be closer to the course. You can usually enjoy a picnic with the family in these areas whilst cheering on your chosen runner.
There are two options for betting at a racecourse, either using traditional odds with an on-course bookmaker or outlet within the building, or by pool betting at a Totepool kiosk.
Once you’ve glanced through the form guide, it pays to shop around the course-side bookies to find the best price for your selection. Once you’ve found a bet you are happy with, simply tell them the number of the horse, the time of the race, how much you are betting and whether it is to win or each way.
The bookie will repeat the bet to you to ensure they have heard correctly and, if you are happy, they will take your stake and present you with slip containing the details of the wager. Courses will also house one or more bookmakers, where you can place bets for that day’s action, as well as for races elsewhere in the country and on a variety of other sports.
Pool betting is offered under the Totepool brand name, now owned by Betfred, at 56 courses around the UK. This type of wager pays out more like a lottery than fixed-odds betting, with everyone who backs the winning horse sharing the total prize pot.
However you bet, you will have to wait until the official announcement has been made before you can pick up your winnings. For that reason, do not discard losing betting slips until the results are confirmed, just in case it turns out something has happened to make your wager a lot more valuable than you first thought!
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