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At The Course - 3 of 5
The first thing to do is purchase a racecard. This is effectively a programme of the days events and is an essential purchase. A couple of courses provide free racecards, some better than others. For other courses you can generally expect to pay £2 - £3. The quality of racecards does vary between courses but for your money it is reasonable to expect details of all the runners including the horses ‘colours’ so you can see what colour silks the jockey riding your horse will be wearing.
The majority of racecards also contain a diagram showing the layout of the racecourse - though, inexcusably, some don’t even provide that basic information.
For full details of racecard content for each course please see the detailed course guides.
For the first visit to any racecourse the racecourse plan is the first page to turn to, if only to get your bearings. If there isn’t a plan complain to the racecourse. Some racecourses also have plans on notice boards around the course.
So armed with your plan just spend 20 minutes having a stroll round the course, have a look at the stands and enclosures. Look for the best vantage points, look for different places to view each of the races. If you find a good vantage point there is risk of staying put and seeing all the races from the same point. That is fine, however by watching races from different vantage points you see races from differing perspectives. Watch races from the different stands, by the finishing post, if at a jump meeting - near a jump, there are many options to try.
Find where the toilets are. Find the best route from the parade ring to the betting ring and back to your viewing points.
Having got your general bearings it’s time to look at the various parts of the course in more detail and I will try and cover these in terms of chronological order of an actual race.