Been Pointing yet? Tips for first time racegoers

04-March-2019
04-March-2019 6:11
in General
by Admin

A day at the races is unlike anything else you can experience in the sporting world. Terrific races exist around the world, but particularly in the UK there’s a character and ambiance about these events that results in an unparalleled spectacle. It’s wild and refined at the same time, exciting yet leisurely, classy but casual, and always, above all else, thoroughly enjoyable.

None of this is news to people who have attended Barbury Races or any other racing event before, from the most modest Point-to-Point to next week's Cheltenham Festival. However, these events welcome first-time racegoers every year, and if that’s you, or if you know someone else who’s going for the first time, knowing what you’re walking into can make it all the more thrilling.

With that in mind, we’ve written up a few tips for the first timer: 

Understand the type of event you're headed for 

If you’re not intimately familiar with the sport, all horse races can look much the same. This is far from the case however, and it’s generally best to know what kind of competition you’ll be watching before you arrive. Some events focus more on distance, some on speed; some involve hurdles or the larger steeplechase fences, and the Flat is as it says; different types of races are designated for certain kinds of horses, or certain levels of riding ability or experience. For instance, the Barbury International, as you may have read elsewhere on this site, is a “point-to-point” fixture, open only to amateur riders and trainers (although the International is in itself an exception to the rule, permitting horses from licensed yards). Point-to-Point fixtures act as a nursery for budding riders, trainers and young horses that will go on to compete on the National Hunt circuit around the UK, with the ultimate dream of glory around Cheltenham or Aintree, and in many instances a sinecure for older horses no longer fast enough to compete at the highest professional level. By contrast, nect week's Festival offers opportunities for the world's very best horses in almost every category of obstacle, distance, age and gender - a real "Olympics" of Jump racing.

Research your Hospitality Options 

Most racecourses around the UK have hospitality options that are worth looking into beforehand, which provide a greater degree of comfort for your day's racing than simple admission. At Barbury, unlike many Point-to-Point fixtures, the Barbury Brunch offer provides a welcome table in the warm with simple hot food. Given that the races often extend over a full day's entertainment, a base for the day is always welcome. In Springtime, a picnic from the back of the car is the most popular option at a Point-to-Point.

Gen up on the runners & riders 

To the extent you can, you should always read up on horses, trainers, and jockeys that might be involved in the racemeeting you're attending. That doesn’t mean there can’t be something sort of fun about going in blind, but if you’re not used to horse racing - without the benefit of commentary - things can look a little bit jumbled and random if you don’t know who you’re looking at. Knowing some of the horses’ names, some of the most noteworthy trainers, and which horses are likely favourites to win gives you more to be on the lookout for. This can be more challenging at Point-to-Points, where horses are not declared to run until 45 minutes before each contest! It also factors into our next tip….

Have a flutter 

… Which is to consider a small wager. This is something that’s been made easy through a whole category of sites that have sprouted in the UK that have sprouted in the UK to cater for sports bettors. Most if not all have space designated for horse racing, and will carry odds for major races and many others. Sadly, you can't yet bet online for Point-to-Point racing, but that time is surely not far away. As always, never bet more than you can afford to lose, and as the adverts tell us, Stop when the Fun stops. At the same time though, having a punt can really enhance the experience, and for children, supervised by their parents, betting with a bookie at a Point-to-Point is very often their first experience of betting. If you’re going in without racing experience or personal acquaintance or connection with the competitors, it’s the best form of giving yourself a horse and trainer to root for. This is the only sport I know where you may just come away richer than when you arrived!

Dress for the occasion

Barbury Races is a casual affair where dressing for the weather is Priority number one, but speaking more broadly, there its definitely something to the idea of “horse racing fashion. Understanding the basics before you attend a race can make sure you don't look out of place. Whilst Dubarry boots and a Barbour are de rigeur at Barbury, they may not make quite the same impression on the lawns and concourses of Cheltenham, and Aintree on Ladies Day is another matter altogether! Over time a sort of culture has developed involving nice, fancy, quintessentially British attire, and playing along is really part of the whole spectacle (though dressing more casually and simply observing the race day outfits of others can also be fun!).

Prepare to be hooked 

Perhaps it’s corny to say so, but it’s easy to get hooked on racing, especially the National Hunt game. It's heritage in the hunting shires of England and Ireland gives it a very special place in British culture, whilst its social ambiance allows Dukes and dustmen to converge together on the same patch of turf to enjoy the Sport of Kings at locations from Perth to Wadebridge in Cornwall just for the sheer fun of the chase. Nowhere in Europe does racing hold such thrall over such a large swathe of the population, and, as next week's Festival will illustrate, the sport attracts support from connections of horses and spectators the world over.

Bring it on!

Next Event

When?

Revisit us in September for next season’s fixtures

 

 

 

 

Where?

Barbury, 3m N of Marlborough, off A346, Jn 15 M4

 

Latest News

Been Pointing yet? Tips for first time racegoers

04-March-2019
04-March-2019 6:11
in General
by Admin

A day at the races is unlike anything else you can experience in the sporting world. Terrific races exist around the world, but particularly in the UK there’s a character and ambiance about these events that results in an unparalleled spectacle. It’s wild and refined at the same time, exciting yet leisurely, classy but casual, and always, above all else, thoroughly enjoyable.

None of this is news to people who have attended Barbury Races or any other racing event before, from the most modest Point-to-Point to next week's Cheltenham Festival. However, these events welcome first-time racegoers every year, and if that’s you, or if you know someone else who’s going for the first time, knowing what you’re walking into can make it all the more thrilling.

With that in mind, we’ve written up a few tips for the first timer: 

Understand the type of event you're headed for 

If you’re not intimately familiar with the sport, all horse races can look much the same. This is far from the case however, and it’s generally best to know what kind of competition you’ll be watching before you arrive. Some events focus more on distance, some on speed; some involve hurdles or the larger steeplechase fences, and the Flat is as it says; different types of races are designated for certain kinds of horses, or certain levels of riding ability or experience. For instance, the Barbury International, as you may have read elsewhere on this site, is a “point-to-point” fixture, open only to amateur riders and trainers (although the International is in itself an exception to the rule, permitting horses from licensed yards). Point-to-Point fixtures act as a nursery for budding riders, trainers and young horses that will go on to compete on the National Hunt circuit around the UK, with the ultimate dream of glory around Cheltenham or Aintree, and in many instances a sinecure for older horses no longer fast enough to compete at the highest professional level. By contrast, nect week's Festival offers opportunities for the world's very best horses in almost every category of obstacle, distance, age and gender - a real "Olympics" of Jump racing.

Research your Hospitality Options 

Most racecourses around the UK have hospitality options that are worth looking into beforehand, which provide a greater degree of comfort for your day's racing than simple admission. At Barbury, unlike many Point-to-Point fixtures, the Barbury Brunch offer provides a welcome table in the warm with simple hot food. Given that the races often extend over a full day's entertainment, a base for the day is always welcome. In Springtime, a picnic from the back of the car is the most popular option at a Point-to-Point.

Gen up on the runners & riders 

To the extent you can, you should always read up on horses, trainers, and jockeys that might be involved in the racemeeting you're attending. That doesn’t mean there can’t be something sort of fun about going in blind, but if you’re not used to horse racing - without the benefit of commentary - things can look a little bit jumbled and random if you don’t know who you’re looking at. Knowing some of the horses’ names, some of the most noteworthy trainers, and which horses are likely favourites to win gives you more to be on the lookout for. This can be more challenging at Point-to-Points, where horses are not declared to run until 45 minutes before each contest! It also factors into our next tip….

Have a flutter 

… Which is to consider a small wager. This is something that’s been made easy through a whole category of sites that have sprouted in the UK that have sprouted in the UK to cater for sports bettors. Most if not all have space designated for horse racing, and will carry odds for major races and many others. Sadly, you can't yet bet online for Point-to-Point racing, but that time is surely not far away. As always, never bet more than you can afford to lose, and as the adverts tell us, Stop when the Fun stops. At the same time though, having a punt can really enhance the experience, and for children, supervised by their parents, betting with a bookie at a Point-to-Point is very often their first experience of betting. If you’re going in without racing experience or personal acquaintance or connection with the competitors, it’s the best form of giving yourself a horse and trainer to root for. This is the only sport I know where you may just come away richer than when you arrived!

Dress for the occasion

Barbury Races is a casual affair where dressing for the weather is Priority number one, but speaking more broadly, there its definitely something to the idea of “horse racing fashion. Understanding the basics before you attend a race can make sure you don't look out of place. Whilst Dubarry boots and a Barbour are de rigeur at Barbury, they may not make quite the same impression on the lawns and concourses of Cheltenham, and Aintree on Ladies Day is another matter altogether! Over time a sort of culture has developed involving nice, fancy, quintessentially British attire, and playing along is really part of the whole spectacle (though dressing more casually and simply observing the race day outfits of others can also be fun!).

Prepare to be hooked 

Perhaps it’s corny to say so, but it’s easy to get hooked on racing, especially the National Hunt game. It's heritage in the hunting shires of England and Ireland gives it a very special place in British culture, whilst its social ambiance allows Dukes and dustmen to converge together on the same patch of turf to enjoy the Sport of Kings at locations from Perth to Wadebridge in Cornwall just for the sheer fun of the chase. Nowhere in Europe does racing hold such thrall over such a large swathe of the population, and, as next week's Festival will illustrate, the sport attracts support from connections of horses and spectators the world over.

Bring it on!

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