Before you head to the racecourse for the first time, you'll want to know what can you expect during a raceday, how long a race lasts and how many races are run during the day, where to buy tickets and what to wear.
Tickets are sold at the ticket office at the entrance to the venue on the day of the race, sales usually start two hours before the start of the first race. Some racecourses also have online pre-sale tickets where you can get a lower price.
There is no dress code for general visitors. If formal dress is required, e.g. for the VIP lounge, this information is indicated directly on the invitation or voucher.
If you want to catch the first race in peace, it is ideal to plan your arrival 30 to 45 minutes before the start. Racecourse areas, including refreshment stands and restaurants, are usually open as early as two hours before the start of the first race. The start times for the event and the start of the first race can always be found in the event details on the racecourse website.
One race lasts on average a minute and a half, a steeplechase around five to nine minutes. There are usually 8 races during a race day with 30-minute breaks. The total duration of a race day is around 3.5 hours.
The races are divided, among other things, according to performance categories, the main race (the highest category of a given race day) is usually placed in the second part of the programme, but only exceptionally at the very end.
30 minutes before the start of the first race the race day is started by local radio.
About 20 minutes before the start, the horses are introduced to the spectators in the paddock, where the riders also arrive 10 minutes before the start.
With them in the saddles, the horses then leave the paddock 5 minutes before the start and head to the starting point in a 'test gallop'. This may be at a different place on the track each time, depending on the length of the race. The finish is always at the same place.
At the time of the scheduled start, the judges will give the signal to start.
After the race has been run, the riders have been saddled and carried, the official result is announced and the winners are decorated in the ceremonial paddock. This is usually about 10 to 15 minutes after the race and in the meantime the horses that will start in the next item on the programme are already being introduced in the large paddock.
The best overview will be from the stands. Positions in the higher rows will give you a better view of the action during the race, while the lower rows, or the pavement in front of the grandstand, will give you closer to close contact with the horses in the home straight. It is a good idea to take your chosen seat in the grandstand about 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the race. Some racetracks have large screens or screens inside the grandstand with an internal video circle. Our tip: if you want to watch the race like a proper "turfman", equip yourself with binoculars and you will have the racing action in the palm of your hand even from the height of the grandstand.
All important information not only about the participants of the races, but also about the entire schedule of the race day is contained in the brochure Racing programme, which you can buy right at the entrance to the racetrack. The start lists for the weekend races are closed on Tuesday of the given week and you can find them in advance on racetrack website or on the website of the Jockey Club of the Czech Republic.
Betting is an important part of horse racing and can be done directly at the racetrack at marked places. Bets are usually placed after you have seen the horses before the race in the paddock.
If you are not able to attend the race day directly, you can watch the stream HERE >>