Top tips for the novice racegoer

Tony Rushmer, racing PR manager for Newmarket Racecourse, on how to get the most out of a day at the races

Tony Rushmer, racing PR manager for Newmarket Racecourse, on how to get the most out of a day at the races

To get a full flavour of the racecourse what are the ‘must-see’ places and people at Newmarket Racecourse?On a big-race day, it’s great to people-watch around the paddock as racing’s leading owners and trainers survey their contender(s), while awaiting the emergence of their jockey from the weighing-room.

Where at the best vantage points?Check the card for the biggest field of the day and get yourself down to the rails and feel the adrenaline and enjoy the sound as horses’ hooves thunder through the closing stages. Also, try and experience the roar of the crowd from a lower-level terrace as an exciting finish to a big race plays out in front of you.

As a novice, or very occasional, race-goer, how do I find out about the form of the horses taking part that day?Each race is laid out in an easy-to-follow format, detailing runners, jockeys, trainers etc. Each horse has a couple of explanatory lines about it, while towards the start of the race-card  there is an explanatory key outlining other details that you may find useful when trying to assess each prospect’s chance.

 Is it easy to place a bet?In short, yes. Race-goers may want to venture into the Betting Ring located at the front of the grandstand where there can often be a disparity in prices at the many individual betting ‘pitches’, thus allowing you to seek out the ‘value’. Many bookmakers will allow stakes as small as �2 or �2 each-way (total �4 – each-way betting is where you can also gain a return from a horse being placed without winning. Race-goers will also see many tote outlets around the racecourse. The tote offers a variety of bets and their outlet representatives are happy to explain the various options, but do so earlier in the day – not two minutes before a race when there may well be a rush on!

Any famous faces to watch out for?Frankie Dettori is the most famous figure among the jockeys and he often rides at Newmarket’s meetings. Henry Cecil, the 10-time champion trainer, is another regular attendee. Among the celebs that enjoy the sport, you could bump into Manchester United footballer Michael Owen, or actor Ray Winstone.

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