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Horse Racing dates back thousands of years but around 600 B.C. the saddle and stirrup were invented which allowed good horse-back riding. Pssst......,I got a tip for yaSince that time horses have been bred to race as their main point of existance.

' ...bookmakers grew up around horse racing, which still accounts for over 70% of the industry's turnover. Wagers have been struck at racing in York, Doncaster, and Chester since the sixteenth century, but the first known professional bookmaker was a Harry Ogden, who worked at Newmarket Heath in 1794. In 1853, betting houses were banned, and for a hundred years only those who attended race meetings could place cash bets. Otherwise punters had to use credit, and to communicate with their 'turfaccountant' by letter, telephone, or telegram.....' john haigh - taking chances

There are 60 racecourses in Britain (Great Leighs currently closed), staging two 'codes' of horseracing, flat racing and jump racing, both of which take place all year round. Sixteen courses race only on the flat, twenty-four only over jumps, and twenty under both codes, including racing on artificial surfaces at four All-Weather tracks.
Basics   A Day Out
Essentially there are two types of racing, Flat and National Hunt.
Flat racing in its turf form (grass) reaches its peak in the Summer and Autumn and features the five Classics (2000 Guineas, 1000 Guineas. Oaks, my head hurtsDerby and St Leger) as well as a number of major meetings such as Royal Ascot featuring some of the world's most valuable thoroughbreds. The leading jockeys are people like Frankie Dettori or Ryan Moore.

An addition to flat racing came in 1989 when All Weather tracks opened to allow racing in bad weather and the winter months. These tracks use artificial surfaces that do not freeze and rarely get waterlogged. This is All Weather Flat racing.

Jump racing has three disciplines.

  • Hurdles - Horses jump over small low resistant fences made from thin wood and brush
  • Chase - Horses jump over substantial fences and water hazards
  • NH Flat - Often called 'bumpers', these allow horses new to the world of National Hunt to experience the softer more undulating courses that hold jump racing. Horses can run a maximum of three 'bumpers'

The jump season starts quietly during the summer months and reaches its climax with the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival in March and the Grand National at Aintree a few weeks later. Jump racing has a distinct charm all of its own with many small tracks staging meetings that have a very strong local feel, yet it also attracts a bigger paying audience than flat racing.
A Day Out Basics The Races
At many courses there is a dress code for the Members' Enclosure which, for example, may require a man to wear a jacket and tie. Indeed, for some people dressing up is all part of the fun of going racing. If in doubt, do not hesitate to Look like you know what you are doingtelephone the course for guidance. The key to dressing for the races is not so much style as comfort: there's no point in looking terribly fashionable if you're freezing cold as the sun goes down. To enjoy a day's racing to the full may require a good deal of walking around, so give particular thought to your footwear.

What to take
You will probably want to take with you a newspaper for a list of the runners or the Racing Post provides in-depth information, and enough money to get you through the day! A few courses have banks which will cash you a cheque, and you can purchase Tote betting vouchers at any course by cheque or credit card. If you take a camera you must disarm the flash, as flash photography can upset the horses (which will in turn upset many of your fellow racegoers). You will not normally be allowed to take food and drink (including alcohol) into the enclosures (unless picnicking in a Course Enclosure), but you will find a wide selection on sale inside.

Which enclosure?
Top of the range is Members or Club Enclosure ,for the use of annual members of that course (like season ticket holders at a soccer ground) but usually available to non-members for a daily charge. The cost varies depending on the course and the nature of the occasion - the average is around £12 to £15, but perhaps double that on the day of a very big race. For big meetings you can often book in advance (and for some it is essential to do so).

The Members Enclosure - admittance to which is by a small cardboard badge which you should keep displayed - has the best viewing and the best facilities, and your badge allows you to take advantage of all the facilities in the next enclosure down, usually called Tattersalls or Grandstand and Paddock (popularly known as 'Tatts'). Here, for an entrance charge in the region of £8 to £10 (higher at major meetings), you will have access to the parade ring and winner's enclosure (where the horses can be seen at close quarters) as well as a good view of the track and extensive eating, drinking and betting facilities. The presence of the bookies gives Tatts - usually the largest enclosure on the course - its characteristic hubbub and atmosphere. On the rail which divides Tatts from Members are to be found the 'rails bookmakers', who bet - mostly on credit and without displaying their odds on boards - with some of the heavy hitters among the punting fraternity.

The Silver Ring or Course Enclosure is the cheapest (around £3 to £5), at most courses without access to the parade ring and winner's enclosure, but with betting and catering facilities. Cars are allowed in the Course Enclosure at some racecourses and picnicking is a very popular pastime.

Children up to the age of sixteen are admitted free to all racecourses if accompanied by an adult (there are age restrictions in the Members Enclosure at some courses).
The Races A Day Out The Horses
At the head of each race listed in the racecard will be details for that event, including the prize money on offer, and it may be helpful to know the different categories of race.

Flat Racing
Conditions Race (or Weight-for-Age) - The horses carry specified weights according to such factors as age, sex, whether they have won before or the nature of the races they have won.

Handicap - This is a contest in which the weight each horse is to carry is individually allotted (by the official handicapper) according to past performance,Anyone know who won? the theoretical object being to equalise the chances of all horses in the race. A Nursery is a handicap for two-year-olds. A Rated Stakes on the flat or a Limited Handicap in jump racing is one in which the range of weights is kept narrow: this encourages the participation of high-class horses, who will not have to make large concessions to other runners.

Selling Race - Directly after a Selling Race the winner is offered at public auction - a highly interesting and often entertaining sight for racegoers.

Maiden Race - These are for horses that have not won a race yet.

Jump Racing
Handicap - This is a contest in which the weight each horse is to carry is individually allotted (by the official handicapper) according to past performance.

Beginners Chase is a Steeple Chase race for horses which have never won a Steeple Chase at any Recognised Meeting in any country.

Novices Race (hurdle or steeplechase), for horses which have not won a hurdle or chase respectively before the first day of the current season.

National Hunt Flat Race (popularly known as a 'bumper'), in which prospective jumping horses race without the inconvenience of having to clear obstacles;

Hunter Chase for horses which have been regularly hunted or raced in Point to Points.
The Horses The Races The Form
Colt - ungelded male flat (normally) horse

Filly - female horse up to four years old

Foal - horse of either sex from the time of its birth until 1 January the following year. All racehorses are given the nominal birthday of January 1st. Thus a "two-year-old" born in June and one born in January of the same year are considered to be of the same age for the purposes of satisfying the conditions of some races re: weight carried. In reality, the January horse may be considered to have a significant advantage in terms of physical development at this early stage in its career.

Gelding -I have to run round what? castrated horse

Jolly - betting parlance for the favourite in a race - the horse with the shortest odds

Juvenile - two-year-old horse

Maiden - horse which has not won a race

Mare - female horse five years and over

Plater - horse which usually runs in selling races

Schooled - trained to jump

Sire - father of a horse

Yearling - horse of either sex from 1 January to 31 December of the year following its birth
The Form The Horses Betting
Form is information about a horse's past performances and data about the going, the course, weight carried, style of running, jockey, time the race took to run, distance of the race, distances between the horses at the finish, and Understand all this and you'll never be able to talk about anything elsemore

Horses have an ideal range of distances over which they run .

The 'going' is the state of the ground - ranging from firm to heavy - and many horses run better on one particular surface than on others.

Form is relative, and running fifth in the Derby would be better-class form than winning a very minor race

Although horses do not race against the clock, the time of a race can be highly significant when measured against the standard for course and distance

'Horses for courses' - that is, that some horses perform particularly well at certain courses.

Are they in form? A trainer out of form may indicate illness in the yard and while a jockey doing well recently may help his confidence, it may also dampen the price of the horse.

Your horse may be carrying too much weight.

Blinkers - Has the horse ever worn blinkers before? Will it be better off.

Parade Ring - The good signs in a horse before the race are a coat with a good sheen to it, an intelligent and alert appearance, high head with big alert ears, a well-muscled body and a springy step etc..
Unless you want to make a career out of this don't get carried away with form. Some people study their whole lives and make no inroads into understanding a way to predict value for money.
Betting The Form The Tracks
There are three ways of having a bet on a racecourse: "I put my money on a bob-tail nag...." tote
Betting points can be found in every enclosure, including Members and it operates on a pool basis, whereby all the money bet in a particular pool is shared out among the winners.

If you bet on a horse to win all the money that everybody has bet on horses to win in that particular race gets pooled together. When the race is over, 16% of the money is taken away as government tax and the rest is distributed back to the people who bet on the winning horse, pro-rata with how much each person bet. The same goes with betting place, if your horse gets placed then you will recieve part of the pool back after 24% tax has been removed. Other tote bets

These are to be found in the Tattersalls/Grandstand and Paddock and Silver Ring/ Course Enclosure. It is very simple but be aware that you can only bet to win and some will take an each-way bet.
  • shop around to get the best odds
  • state the name of the horse
  • always keep your card as a receipt
  • never throw away a bet until the 'weighed in' signal has been given
  • no betting tax is currently levied on on-course bets or with bookmakers
The Racecourse Betting Shop
Betting in a racecourse betting shop (some courses have more than one) is very similar to betting in any off-course shop. You can have a variety of bets (including combination bets such as doubles and trebles) at much smaller stakes than a ring bookmaker would appreciate. You can also bet at the day's other meetings.

As in a off-course betting shop, you fill in a slip and hand it over together with your stake. The slip is receipted and you are given a duplicate, which you return to the counter for paying out should you be successful. Winnings are calculated at the Starting Price.

If you are betting for small sums your aim is just to have fun, theres no point chasing losing bets. If you are betting more seriously then you aim to get the best value from each bet - get the odds you want, not necessarily the odds on offer, and if they are not on offer think about not having a bet.
The Tracks The Betting  
Tel: 0151 523 2600
ASCOT (Both)
Tel: 01344 622211
AYR (Both)
Tel: 01292 264179
Tel: 01978 780323
BATH (Flat)
Tel: 01295 688030
Tel: 01482 867488
Tel: 01273 603580
Tel: 01228 522973
Tel:0151 523 2600

Tel: 01748 811478
Tel: 01242 513014
Tel: 01291 622260
Tel: 01244 323170
Tel: 01302 320066
Tel: 01372 726311
Tel: 01392 832599

Tel: 01328 862388

Tel: 0870 220 0023
Tel: 01243 543335
Tel: 01554 811092
Tel: 01243 755022
Tel: 01698 283806
Tel: 01942 725963
Tel: 01981 250436

Tel: 01434 606881

Tel: 01480 453373
KELSO (Jump)
Tel: 01668 281611
Tel: 01932 782292
Tel: 0116 271 6515

LINGFIELD (Flat All Weather)
Tel: 0870 220 0022
Tel: 01981 250052
Tel: 01673 843434
Tel: 0131 665 2859
Tel: 01635 40015
Tel: 0191 236 2020
Tel: 01638 663482
Tel: 01626 353235
Tel: 01159 580620
PERTH (Jump)
Tel: 01738 551597
Tel: 01273 891550
Tel: 01977 703224
Tel: 01642 484068
RIPON (Flat)
Tel: 01765 602156
Tel: 01722 326461
Tel: 01372 463072
Tel: 01740 621925

SOUTHWELL (Flat All Weather)
Tel: 01636 814481
Tel: 01789 267949
Tel: 01789 267949
Tel: 01823 337172
Tel: 01845 522276
Tel: 01327 353414
Tel: 01889 562561
Tel: 01926 491553
Tel: 01937 582035
Tel: 01963 32344
Tel: 0870 220 0024
WOLVERHAMPTON (Flat All Weather)
Tel: 01902 421421
Tel: 01905 25364
Tel: 01493 842527
YORK (Flat)
Tel: 01904 620911
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