A Day at the Races
You can’t beat the spectacle and colour of a day at the races, as with any sport if you understand what’s going on you will get more out of your day… learn how to bet and read our jargon buster - then impress others with your betting knowledge!
If you are new to racing, visit OLBG.com (Online Betting Group) to find out more on how to place a bet.
How to Bet
Putting on a bet at the races is all part of the experience and we challenge anyone to not scream with frustration or delight as their horse approaches the winning line!
You can put as little as £2 on a horse and to help you choose a horse, our raceday programme will give you tips for picking your fancy and details on how to read the form. However, you may have as much luck picking the horse because you like its name or you like the colour of the jockey’s silks.
There are two ways to bet - either with the tote or with the ‘bookies’ that can be found in front of the viewing grandstands or inside in the cold, winter months.
Whether you are planning to make a first visit to the races or you’re a huge fan, cheering home a winner while clutching a successful betting ticket is, for many, an exciting part of the raceday experience.
When you bet on-course with the Tote, your stake (the amount of money you place on a bet) is pooled together with all other bets on that race and then shared out amongst customers with winning tickets. Your betting on the racecourse with the Tote supports racing, with the majority of revenues flowing back to that racecourse.
There are several bet types available with the Tote such as win, place, each way (win and a place bet) and an exacta (picking the first two in the correct order). One of the most famous tote bets is the placepot which rewards customers who can pick a horse to place in each of the first 6 races. The average dividend of the Placepot is over £454* to a £1 stake so it is a fun bet where you can a large amount for a small stake.
You also have the option to place a ‘Lucky Pick’ bet, which is similar to the lucky dip on the National Lottery. However, the Lucky Pick is designed to be smarter than a random lucky dip as it uses a special formula which is weighted towards the more likely outcomes in an event.
The Tote has a minimum bet of just £2 and accepts cash and card across all courses.
So, if you’re a seasoned racegoer or having a day out with friends, there are plenty of betting options and the friendly Tote team are always on hand to help with your selections. By choosing to bet with the Tote during your visit to the races, you’ll be doing so in the knowledge that racing is benefiting from your support.
Racing seems to have its own language, so read our jargon buster - then impress your friends and family with your racing knowledge!
- Card – Short for racecard. This is your race programme with the runners and riders on.
- Colours (Silks) – The colours worn by the jockey in a race.
- Handicap – A race in which weights are to be carried by each horse according to recent or past racing performance.
- Form – A record of a racehorse’s previous performance.
- Furlong – An eighth of a mile, 220 yards or 201 metres.
- Going – A term used to describe the condition of the ground, ranging from hard through to heavy. These include Hard, Firm, Good to Firm, Good, Good to Soft, Soft, Heavy.
- Listed Race – A high-class competitive race.
- Maiden – A race for horses that have not yet won a race.
- Non-runner – When a horse is no longer running in the race.
- Stewards – Officials responsible for enforcing the British Horseracing Authority’s Orders & Rules of Racing.
- Under Orders – When the racehorses are called into line before the start of a race. Once racehorses have come ‘under orders’ they are judged to have competed in the race and no bets will be refunded.
- Weighed in – Weighing of jockey before and after a race to ensure that the correct weight has been carried. At the end of the race when ‘weighed in’ has been announced this means the result is official and all bets can be paid out.
- Weights – Fixed weights to be carried by horses in a race according to ability, age, distance, sex, and time of year. This weight includes the jockey and equipment, saddle and weight cloth.
- Weight Cloth - Leather cloth with pockets that hold flat pieces of lead. They are removable and interchangeable. The weight cloth is carried under the jockey’s saddle and is to ensure that they ride at the correct weight in a race.