So, you’re off to the races for what could be the first time you’ve spent the day at the racetrack.
Whether it’s one of the large national meets or something smaller, knowing your stuff before you set off is going to make the whole experience much more enjoyable – and hopefully bring you better odds for success when it comes to backing those horses.
Here’s the lowdown of what you need to know about a day at the horse races:
Before, During and After a Race
There’s a real sense of occasion at a horse racing meet but it can feel like everyone but you know what’s going on. Below is a quick run-through of what you can expect:
- About 30 minutes before a race, take yourself to the pre-parade ring, where you will be able to watch the horses being paired up with their jockeys and formally paraded, so you can get a final look at your chosen horse.
- If you haven’t already, now’s the time to head to the racetrack betting kiosks to place your bet and assess the betting offers from each – and enjoy the atmosphere!
- About 10 minutes before the start, find your spot in the stands for a good view of the horses and to hopefully cheer on your winner.
- When you hear the call of ‘weighed in’, this means the jockeys have had their post-race weigh-in to ensure all is as it should be. At this point, if you’ve backed a winner, you can officially claim your winnings!
Types of bets you can place
You can choose from several different types of wager. The most popular are:
Bet to win – this means you place your money on the racehorse you think will be first past the post.
Bet to place – this is a bet on a horse to come placed, ie, first, second or third.
Bet each way – this is where you bet on a horse to win, and also an equal-sized bet for it to be placed in the top four.
Multiple bet – where you pick a horse in each of multiple consecutive races, with any winnings from the first race used as the stake for the second, and so on.
Odds – these are used as a betting forecast for each horse to help you choose. If the odds are short – eg. 2-1 – then the horse has a better chance of winning but the lower your return. The longer the odds, the less chance they have to win, but the payout will be bigger on the same wager amount.
Form – this is the recent performance for each horse to help you decide where to place your bet. Details include where a horse has recently placed as well as any refusals, falls or failures to place.
Always go to the races with a betting budget and know when you have reached your limit. The day should be fun, and you should go to enjoy the whole spectacle and experience so there’s no need to bet on every race. Read the form beforehand, have an idea which races and which horses you want to follow – then settle back to enjoy the whole occasion. You could just get lucky!