The thrill of racing and the spectacle of seeing the horses and jockeys close up, the bustle around the parade ring and the adrenalin rush of watching the race itself is just as important as the social side too. The more you know about it, the more fun you will have.
You will need cash for the bookmakers, some but not all may take a minimum £5 bet. The tote will take bets as small as £2 and tote betting vouchers can also be obtained with credit/debit cards at the tote information points. There is a cash point located at the main entrance, but be aware that queues can form during busy racedays.
Racecards (a detailed guide to the day’s action) are on sale from a booth located at the main entrance and are priced at £3, although please note hospitality and restaurant packages already include these (with the exception of Colours Restaurant and tailor-made packages). For homework beforehand, race details and tips are in the sports pages of national newspapers and the Racing Post.
Please disarm your camera flash as bright lights and sudden loud noises genuinely upset horses and undo their meticulous preparation for their race.
Binoculars are useful for following a particular horse, but there is a large screen on course from which you can follow the exciting racing action.
The start of the first race will vary from meeting to meeting and the main entrances all open 2 hours prior to the first race. The closer to the start that you arrive, the busier the traffic will be, so aim to arrive at least an hour and a half beforehand. This will give you time to understand the racecourse layout and check out facilities. For more information for those coming by public transport please see our 'Finding Us' Page.
For what to wear visit our Dress Code page for all your raceday fashion tips!
Below are a short list of videos from the tote which offer a guide to betting at the races.
The paddock is the overall name for the area containing the Parade Ring and Weighing room. The raceday takes place in a number of half hour cycles. This begins in the parade ring about 20 minutes before the first race, when the runners will be taken into the parade ring to warm up. It’s worth watching this to get a first impression of the horses before they proceed out onto the course. Entry into the parade ring is limited to sponsors, owners, trainers and jockeys but you will find ample vantage points all around.
About five minutes before the race, the horses leave the parade ring to canter down to the start. If it is a flat race, they will take a few minutes to be loaded into their starting stalls. Canny racegoers will have already left the paddock to place their bets (either in the Bookies Betting Ring situated in our Tattersalls Enclosure or with Betfred or the tote) and secure a good view on the track. Allow 5 to 10 minutes to do both; don’t leave it too late as bets cannot be taken once the race starts. Check with several bookmakers as some may offer better odds for your horse.
Between races you may wish to buy a drink or snack, but so will everyone else, so please be patient. All enclosures have refreshment areas and TV screens so no-one will miss the action!
The race result is not official until you have heard the announcement ‘Weighed In”. Until then, you cannot collect any winning bets. There is no need to worry; winning tickets can be redeemed anytime during that day.
The first four placed horses return to the Winner’s Enclosure within the Parade Ring and are unsaddled. A brief prize giving takes place between the race sponsors and the winning connections, which is well worth watching, not only may you spot some famous faces, but as a courtesy to the race sponsor. Meanwhile, runners for the next race start to arrive in the Parade Ring and the whole cycle starts again.
Inevitably, with everyone trying to go home at once, queuing in car parks will occur. Please be patient whilst the traffic filters off site. Exits to the course are from the main driveway and from the opposite end of the course (The Golborne Gates). No traffic will be allowed down the main driveway from the last race for one hour and the top of the driveway is policed during this time, so if you have ordered taxi’s please be aware of this.
We hope that this has helped you in planning your perfect visit to Haydock Park Racecourse and we look forward to welcoming you.