Gates open at 11.15am (11am for the Ebor Festival in August and 4pm for our Friday evening during Music Showcase). For those travelling by car you will find a comprehensive system of signs navigating you to your correct destination from the outskirts of York onwards. Planning to arrive early can help you avoid any queues that may build up on busy days. This also means you have time before the first race to get your bearings, pick your favourite bar or spot and enjoy the building atmosphere of a raceday.
To aid navigation round the raceday circuit please see Racing Action locations on our interactive map.
The first race normally starts between 1.30pm and 2pm and from this time onwards the raceday can take the form of 6 or 7 half-hour cycles around each race. This begins in the Parade Ring about fifteen minutes before the first race. This is a great opportunity to get a first impression of the horses before they proceed to the start.
Owners, trainers and jockeys can be seen huddled together discussing the up coming race in the Parade Ring. Entry into the Parade Ring is limited to owners, trainers, jockeys and sponsors, but you will find ample vantage points all around.
About five minutes before the race the horses leave the Parade Ring to canter down to the start. They will take a few minutes to be loaded into the starting stalls. Astute racegoers will have already left the Paddock to place their bets and secure a good view on the track. Allow five or ten minutes to do both; don't leave it too late as bets cannot be taken once a race starts. Check several bookmakers as some may offer better odds for your horse.
It's fun to watch races from various points, even if you've bagged a good place in the grandstand. Go down to the rails for a race or two and experience the thrill of horses flashing by and sound of hooves pounding.
The race result is not official until you have heard the announcement "Weighed in, weighed in". This means that the jockey has returned to the scales in the weighing room and the Clerk of the Scales has checked that no weights have been affected during the race. Until then you cannot collect winning bets.
The first four placed horses return to the Parade Ring and are unsaddled in the Winner's Enclosure. Go down to the Parade Ring at this point and join in the celebrations as the winning horses return. The horses will then be taken away to the stables and the presentation for the race will be given. Here a prize will usually be given to the winning owner, trainer and jockey (with the largest trophy being for the owner).
This is a good time to get something to eat or drink before the whole happy cycle starts again as the runners for the next race start to arrive in the Parade Ring.