If you’re a beginner to horse racing, it can be intimidating, with lots of confusing jargon and rules that you can’t figure out. So, here’s a short guide on how to make the most of your time at the races if you’re new to the sport.
Firstly, take a friend with you. If you already know people who are interested in racing and have a little more experience, then you’ll feel more confident in asking them questions and learning more, rather than relying on the knowledge of strangers at the course. Racing can be a sport that is just as sociable as rugby or football and having a friend there with you to celebrate your wins or commiserate your losses will make it all the more fun. If you don’t know anyone, then bring someone who is as eager to learn as you – this means that you won’t feel stupid or alone if there’s something you don’t know, and you won’t be as self-conscious if you need to ask others for advice.
Do your research. You wouldn’t go to a football match without searching up the offside rule, or what role each position plays, and it’s the same with racing. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to learn about different types of races, ground, and horses from your sofa, so do a bit of self-learning at home and you’ll feel far more confident when you actually get to the course. This also applies to the individual races, the more you can learn about each horse and its recent performances before you get to the race, the better. This knowledge will not only increase your chances of a win but will make you seem like a professional race-goer rather than a novice.
Check out the online community. This is one for the more modern racing fans, but anyone can get involved. With all sports becoming increasingly virtual, some of the classic event experiences have moved online, for example, horse racing betting is now available at home, with sites offering tips, race information and betting odds for you to browse. It is also a good way to make friends in the community, so that next time you go to a meet, you’ll have people to watch racing with and to learn from, as well as joining them for a celebratory pint at the pub afterwards.
Only bet what you can lose. Gambling can be tricky to keep an eye on, so to make sure that you are only having fun experiences, only bet the money that you can afford to lose. Some racegoers do this by bringing only cash and limiting the amount they bring, or by transferring money from their main bank account to a smaller one that they only use for betting. The main point here is to avoid risking too much in case you don’t get lucky and end up in trouble rather than having a good time.
These general tips should help you to make the most of your racing experience, and will give you valuable knowledge that you can pass on to others when you are the pro, even if that takes a while!