With the warm and sunny weather finally on its way, thousands of Brits have already started the annual pilgrimage back to the racetrack. Something of a British institution in its own right, there’s really nothing like a day at the races to maximise the enjoyment of those sublime summer days. Particularly if you happen to walk away with a win, but that’s by the by – it’s all about the enjoyment of it all.
That said, actually planning for a day at the races as a first timer can be somewhat daunting. You’ve little idea what to expect, other than what you’ve seen on TV and read about online. You know it’s a fantastic experience, but have no real idea how it all works.
This is where a few helpful tips and insights really can make all the difference. So if looking to enjoy your first ever day at the races over the coming weeks, here’s a brief rundown of a few tips to maximise your enjoyment from start to finish:
Dress the Part
First and foremost, if you’re heading to any kind of sophisticated event whatsoever, you might as well look the part! For quite a lot of people, one of the best things about a day at the races is that it provides the perfect excuse for getting well and truly carried away with your wardrobe. It’s perhaps the only time of year you can get away with dressing like an eccentric aristocrat and not draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Unless, of course, your intention is to draw attention to yourself, in which case you can really go to town! Take a look online at the kinds of weird and wonderful outfits donned to past events of a similar nature and take inspiration accordingly.
Be Ready to Spend
While there may be the odd exception to the rule, pretty much everything on sale at the track tends to be rather on the expensive side. Food and drink prices in particular pack a real punch and it’s uncommon to be permitted to bring your own. As such, it’s a case of accepting ahead of time that you are probably going to have to spend a fair amount of money to indulge in what’s on offer. It’s possible to spend a day at the races without spending much, but counting the pennies is almost guaranteed to limit your enjoyment.
Even if the sun doesn’t feel particularly strong, standing in it for hours on end can do a number on your skin. You may also find it surprisingly difficult to find any shaded areas to protect yourself from the sun. To protect your skin and your health in general, always wear plenty of sunscreen and take extra to apply throughout the day.
The same also goes for hydration, as it’s surprisingly easy to get caught up in the fun of it all and completely forget to hydrate yourself. This can be particularly problematic when combined with hot and sunny weather – a potential recipe for disaster. Always ensure you have a bottle of water on your person at all times and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
For a lot of punters – amateur and experts alike – a glass of champagne or a couple of beers are all part and parcel of the experience. Unfortunately, far too many take things to extremes and overindulge, simply for the sake of it. There are three important reasons why overindulgence at the track is a bad idea. First of all, alcohol in large quantities isn’t exactly good for your health. Secondly, you’re far more likely to make a fool of yourself and end up in trouble. Last but not least, alcohol breeds the kind of poor decision-making that could lead you into the kinds of bets you wouldn’t normally go anywhere near. So along with spending a fortune on alcohol, you could also end up losing a fortune on all manner of bizarre bets.
Beware Dodgy Tipsters
Both before and during the event, you’ll find tipsters and pundits all over the place with their own unique insights to share. The problem being that unless you yourself are something of an expert, you won’t have any idea which are legit and which are plain dodgy. In most instances, the odds are really all you need to consider when evaluating a horse’s chances in any given race. Make no mistake about it – being told a 500-to-1 outsider is a sure-fire winning by some shady guy with a flat cap and cigar isn’t the kind of information you should buy into. Make your own mind up and let common sense be your guide.
Plan for Delays
Getting home from the races can be a chaotic experience to say the least. Along with negotiating the crowds to get out of the facility in the first place, you could find yourself dealing with stationary traffic, packed public transport and so on. Whatever your plans in terms of transportation and accommodation, you need to factor in the inevitable delays. If possible, bail a little early to avoid the melee come closing time.
Consider VIP Packages
Last but not least, if you really want to enjoy the full VIP treatment, most tracks offer a wide variety of VIP packages and luxury options. Most of which have a tendency to be rather expensive, but in some instances could potentially save you money. For example, many VIP experiences at the track include things like full catering and open bars as standard. If planning on eating and drinking throughout the day, the cost of the VIP could be considerably less than the bill you’d otherwise accumulate in the dining area and bar. All with the added benefit of premium seating and the chance to rub shoulders with the elite. A potentially expensive day at the races, but a supremely enjoyable day at the races nonetheless!