You’ve bought your tickets, chosen your outfit and sorted how you are getting to the track, now it’s time to focus on the day’s runners and riders.
Once entries are collated, declarations are made 48 hours before a race and at this stage eliminations are made if there are too many “decs” to reduce the number to a maximum field size, the draw for the stall position is then made. Any Owners with multiple runners will declare an alternative cap or sash colour to distinguish their jockeys.
The declarations can be found in advance either online or in the Racing Post and all runners and riders will be in newspapers on the day of a race. If you’ve not had chance to study before coming to the course you will be able to purchase an Official Chester Racecard. This will become your go-to guide for the day as it has all the information about the races and course. It will give you the horses and jockeys names, explain the form, let you know how far the race is over and which stall your pick will come out of!
Now you’ve arrived and have your racecard it may be worth checking where you can go with your ticket or badge. Use the on-course map to help navigate you around the bars, lawns or parade rings. Our tip would be to head to the main Parade Ring to listen out for the raceday MC who will, along with our resident tipster offer their own tips for the day, let you know about the going and non-runners and any special events.
You might hear some interesting terminology whilst you’re at the racecourse and you might use the following guide to swot up and impress your friends with your new found lingo.
Age – All racehorses have the same birthday which is January 1st
Also-ran – a horse that finishes out of the prize money
Apprentice Jockey – a trainee Flat jockey that receives a weight allowance depending on experience.
At the Post – when all the horses have arrived at the start they are said to be “at the post”
Backstraight – the straight part of the track opposite to the finish line.
Banker – the horse expected to win – often a short priced favourite
Blanket finish – when horses finish so close together at the finish line you could throw a horse blanket to cover them all
Bottle – bookmaking term for the odds 2-1
Bumper – a flat race run under Jump Rules, to educate horses before they tackle fences or hurdles.
Colt – ungelded male horse under the age of 5
Covered Up – when a jockey settles their horse behind others in
Dam – a horse’s mother
Dead-heat – a tie between two or more horses for first or another finishing position
Double Carpet – bookmaking term for the odds 33-1
Draw – a horses starting position in the stalls allotted in races on the Flat
Each-way – a betting term when half the stake is for win and half is for a place
Filly – female horse, four years or younger
Going – the condition of the racing surface which can range from heavy to firm
Green – a term to describe an immature or inexperienced horse
Hacked-up – describes a horse winning easily
Layer – an alternative term for a bookmaker, someone who lays or accepts bets
Length – a unit of measurement for the distance between each horse at the finish of a race
Maiden – a horse that has yet to win a race
Minimum Trip – the shortest race distance – 5 furlongs for the flat 2 miles for jumps
Nap – the best bet of the day made by a tipster
Nose – smallest distance a horse can win by
Objection – a complaint by one jockey against another regarding the running of a race
Off the bridle – describes a horse being pushed along and losing contact with the bit in its mouth
On the nose – placing a win bet
Outsider – a long priced runner in a race considered unlikely to win
Paddock – the area of the racecourse that incorporates the parade ring and winner’s enclosure
Pulled up – a horse that drops out of a race and does not finish the course
Punter – a person who gambles or lays a bet
Rails – white plastic rails are used to mark out the track on the racecourse
Spread a Plate – when a horse loses or damages a horseshoe before a race.
Starter – racecourse official responsible for starting the horse race
Stewards’ Enquiry – a hearing held by the stewards into a race to determine whether the rules have been broken
Stick – a jockey’s whip
String – all the horses from a particular training stable
Tic-tac – the sign language used by bookmakers to communicate prices between each other
Trip – another term for the distance of a race
Turn of foot – a horse’s ability to accelerate in the closing stages of a race
Under starters orders – the moment a race is about to start
Valet – a person employed to help prepare the jockey’s equipment in the weighing room
Visor – similar to blinker but with a slit in them to allow some lateral vision
Walkover – a race involving only one horse. The horse and jockey have to walk past the finish line
Weight cloth – a cloth with pockets for inserting lead weights worn under the saddle
Weighed In – the official declaration of a race result when jockeys have had their weight checked
Once you have bought your drink and racecard it’s time to study the horses. Find the Parade Ring about 10-15 minutes before the advertised off time of the first race to give you the best seat in the house to see the runners up close. A handler will walk the horses around clockwise several times giving you chance to see how well your pick looks or if it’s “on it’s toes” and ready to race.
Connections of the horse which will include Owners and Trainers will gather in the middle and chat about their chances until their rider appears from the weighing room. The jockey will be wearing the colours registered to the horse’s owner which will match the ones printed in your racecard. A bell will sound as notice for the jockeys to mount. This is possibly the best time to go and place your bet.
With over 100 Chester Bet terminals on course you never have to look too far to find a friendly helpful service. Unlike the on-course independent bookmakers ChesterBet’s odds are displayed in decimals. This should make it easier to understand the return you will get for your stake. The display will show what you get for £1 so simply add a zero for a £10 bet.
Every day there will be a number of race meetings around the country so you will need to decide and tell the operator where your selection is running. Each meeting will have unique race start times so the best way to begin is to tell the operator the time and place of the race your pick is running in. Then you need to let the operator know how much you wish to spend and what type of bet you want. The most common bets are Win and Each-Way. A £10 win bet will cost you £10 whereas a £10 each-way will cost you double as there are two parts to the bet. It consists of £10 win and £10 place.
Finally just tell them the name of your pick. For example:
“In the 4.50 at Chester I would like £5 each-way on Trip to Paris.”
The operator will ask you for £10 and give you a betting ticket with the same details. Please check the ticket to ensure all the details are correct and most importantly it is the correct horse!
Keep hold of your ticket and go and watch the race. If your selection wins or is placed (for each-way bets) return to any Chester Bet position to collect once the result has been made official.
How old do I have to be to have a bet?
Anyone wishing to place a bet with either Chester Bet or a bookmaker must be 18 years of age.
Is there Tote betting at Chester?
Yes, there is Tote betting at selected locations across the course.
Who can I place a bet with at Chester?
You can either use Chester Bet which has around 150 positions on the track, Tote at various locations across the course, or any of the independent bookmakers.
Can I take the odds?
If you place a bet with an independent bookmaker your bet will settled at the price of your selection when the bet was placed. If you use Chester Bet your bet will be settled at Racecourse Price (RP).
What is Racecourse Price?
RP is the official Starting Price less 10% commission.
How is Racecourse Price Calculated?
Since 2012 Chester Racecourse (CRC) have used a fixed odds wagering system that replaced the Tote and its pool betting operation.
CRC use the Starting Price (SP) and apply a 10% deduction to return what CRC call Racecourse Price (RP). The SP is the odds on a particular horse in the on-course betting market at the time the race starts.
Forecast and tricast dividends are calculated by reducing the industry recognised computer straight forecast (CSF) and tricasts by 10%.
Easy 6 bets are calculated using the full SP place dividends multiplied together with a 10% deduction made to the final figure.
All dividends are rounded up to the nearest whole 5p e.g a dividend of 3.26 will pay 3.30.
Click here to see the win and place dividends returned for each SP.
How much is the minimum stake?
The minimum stake for a Win bet is £2 and for Each-Way it is £2 which costs £4.
Is Chester Bet in every enclosure?
Chester Bet is available in all enclosures with the exception of the Open Course, however there will be bookmakers in operation.
Is there a Betting Shop at Chester?
We no longer have a shop but we do have Self Service Betting Terminals (SSBT) in Tattersalls. The SSBT’s allow betting on all sports and allow multiple bets.
What bets are available with Chester Bet?
Win, Each- Way, Place, Forecast, Tricast and Easy 6.
How do I collect my winnings from Chester Bet?
On a raceday you can collect your winnings from any Chester Bet position. If you don’t collect on the day you can either collect at a future meeting or by sending your ticket, name, address and bank account details to Chester Bet, Chester Racecourse, Chester CH1 2LY
How long do I have to collect?
Bets need to be collected within 12 months
Can I use my debit/credit card?
You are able to use your debit card at over 7 locations when placing a bet with Chester Bet. The maximum amount is £200 per transaction and credit cards are not permitted.
Do I get my money back if my horse doesn’t run?
Yes if your horse is deemed a non-runner by the Stewards then a refund will be given.
What should I do if I think I have a problem with my gambling or may have an addiction?
Chester Racecourse want everyone to bet responsibly. If you think you may have a problem we recommend that you contact Gamcare on 0808 8020 133
A copy of the full betting rules can be found here.
Full betting rules for the Big Six can be found here.
Regulated by the Gambling Commission.
View our Gambling Commision Operating Licence.
View a copy of our Track Licence.