RACEGOERS GUIDE & FAQs
Make the most of your time at Salisbury Racecourse. Please click on the following link for the Great British Racing website to find out everything you need to know about going to the races including what to wear,
where to watch, how to bet and some of the racing jargon.
WHERE CAN I STAY
There are plenty of good hotels and B&B’s in the area.
Try these links which detail a wide variety of places to stay
We are also happy to suggest the 4 Star Milford Hall Hotel & Spa in Salisbury city centre.
We also recommend the 4 Star Norton Park Hotel near Winchester.
Both these hotels provide prizes at our Ladies’ Evening event.
IS THERE A DRESS CODE?
There is a ‘Smart Casual’ code for racegoers in the Bibury Enclosure. Smart jeans only – no ripped or faded denim. No sportswear. Smart trainers and tailored shorts are now accepted. Collared shirts and trousers for gentlemen, but ties are not essential. Grandstand & Paddock and the Sarum Enclosures are a little more relaxed and we would advise that you dress according to the weather.
The Company reserves the right to refuse entry to any person considered to be inappropriately dressed.
WILL THE BIG TV SCREEN BE AT SALISBURY?
Yes, the big screen, opposite the Stands, will be at all 16 race meetings in 2019. There will also be a screen near the parade ring at selected race meetings.
CAN WE BRING OUR OWN FOOD INTO THE ENCLOSURES?
Picnics are allowed in the Sarum Enclosure, however, visitors are not permitted to bring their own alcohol into any enclosure. Bags may be searched on entry to the Racecourse.
WHAT TIME DO THE GATES OPEN?
WHAT TIME IS THE FIRST AND LAST RACE?
The race times vary at every race meeting, and late changes often occur, particularly when there are additional races. Please check the Fixtures Page and click on the race meeting in question. Confirmed race times will generally be known by 10.30am two days before a race meeting.
HOW MANY RACES WILL THERE BE AND HOW MANY RUNNERS?
Race meetings are made of either 6, 7 or 8 races, with 30 or 35 minute gaps between the races. The race details will be available on the website at 10.30am two days before racing. The runners will also be available on a link from the Home Page. For guidance only, there is usually between 50 and 100 runners depending on the race meeting type and time of year.
WHAT SORT OF RACING IS IT?
Salisbury is a Flat Racecourse which means there are no fences to be jumped over.
At Salisbury there will be a mix of race types, but the majority of which are Handicaps and Maidens. A Handicap is basically a race which pitches horses of similar ability against each other, with the highest rated of the runners carrying the highest weight and so on. A Maiden Stakes is a race for horses yet to win a race. This does not necessarily mean they are of poor ability. In fact, far from it, as often the very best horses start their racing careers in Maidens, before going on to greater things.
Salisbury has a reputation for being a course where racehorse trainers often run their top prospects before they go onto bigger races. In recent years, the 2006 Derby winner, Sir Percy, and the 2008 Oaks winner, Look Here, both won at Salisbury as two year olds. Recent St Leger winners Simple Verse (2015) and Harbour Law (2016) both won at Salisbury before their famous wins, and the 2000 Guineas winner of 2016, Galileo Gold, won at Salisbury the year before. Going back a bit further, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard won here in the 1970s before becoming equine superstars!
Top jockeys often race at Salisbury. Not many people know this but the legendary Lester Piggott made his public debut at Salisbury in 1948 in an apprentice jockeys race aged 12 and weighing just 5 stone.
HOW DO I PICK A WINNER?
Now that’s a great question! Going to the races and selecting your horse(s) is all part of the fun, and the feeling of victory is a real thrill as your selection passes the winning post first – even if you have only won a few pounds – it doesn’t matter! However, a good rule is only bet what you can afford to lose and if you get a win or two to cover your day out, or if you make a bit of profit, then that is a big bonus!
Racecards are available at each of the enclosure entrances and at the main Racecourse Office window.
Buying a racecard (£3) is a good idea, as the racecard includes helpful information about the names and recent form of all the runners, with details of who is riding them and who trains them. The racecards are in full colour so the jockey’s silks will also be detailed. The racecard includes other information to help you enjoy your day.
If you are in the Bibury or Grandstand & Paddock Enclosures then go the pre-parade ring and parade ring before the race to view the horses being led around. The horses generally start to appear in the main parade ring about 15 minutes before the race time.
Please do remember that racehorses are not machines and can be a little bit unpredictable at times. Please be alert and keep close attention on any children with you.
WHAT ARE THE BETTING OPTIONS AND WHAT IS THE MINIMUM BET?
Betting can be with bookmakers or ‘bookies’ as they are often known; at totepool betting windows or in the racecourse betting shop operated by William Hill. The totepool betting windows are located in numerous locations around the course. The minimum win bet is £2, and minimum each way bet (win and place) is £2 each way, which costs £4. The are many other types of bets, most of which are perfectly straightforward to beginner’s. The racecard will include details of these bets or don’t hesitate to ask a member of the staff, at the window, for assistance.
The bookmakers are located just in front of the tall Grandstand. Some bookmakers will accept £2 minimum bets and others £5. A bookmaker wants you to bet with him, so don’t be scared to ask for advice about betting if you are unsure.
The William Hill racecourse betting shop is located near to the bookmakers and it is here where smaller bets can be placed if necessary. The betting shop offers services similar to those available in any normal high street betting shop. Again, staff in the shop will assist any inexperienced racegoers.
WHAT PAYMENT METHODS DO YOU ACCEPT FOR ENTRY ON THE DAY?
Cash or card. Card payments can be taken at the Bibury window (located at the Bibury Entrance) or the Ticket Office.
ARE THERE ANY DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS?
Yes, NUS cardholders can get into the Grandstand and Paddock enclosure for half price, but this offer can only be taken advantage of, on the raceday itself, i.e not by advanced booking. And, remember to bring the NUS card!
ARE THERE CASH POINT FACILITIES AT THE RACECOURSE?
There is one cash point at Salisbury Racecourse which is located in the tunnel outside the racecourse office (available for both Bibury Enclosure customers and Grandstand & Paddock customers). Please note that on busy racedays there is likely to be a queue and we would advise you plan to bring cash with you to avoid the inconvenience of queuing.
ARE DOGS ALLOWED?
No, only registered Assistance Dogs are allowed in the enclosures.
CAN I BUY A GIFT VOUCHER AS A PRESENT FOR SOMEONE?
Yes, you can buy Bibury Enclosure admission vouchers at £25 each.
Bibury Enclosure admission & Restaurant voucher package are available at £85 (inc VAT) each.
For example, you could buy as a gift for someone, admission for 2 people into the Bibury Enclosure with a 3 course meal in the Restaurant (the table is theirs for the duration of the race meeting) for a total of £170. Contact the racecourse office for more details. Ladies’ Evening prices are different to these examples quoted.
You can also purchase Grandstand and Paddock admission vouchers at £18 each.
CAN I TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS?
Yes, as long as it is not for commercial use. Photos can be taken, but please ensure that flash is not used, as this can scare horses. If you are a professional photographer, you need to obtain a photographers armband at the discretion of the racecourse management.
ARE THERE FIRST AID FACILITIES?
First Aiders and a Racecourse Doctor are on duty at all race meetings. In the event of feeling unwell please see a member of staff for assistance.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED SOME ADVICE OR IF I HAVE PROBLEM ON THE DAY?
The stewards on duty at the racecourse will help as best they can. Alternatively, please visit the racecourse office located near the weighing room, where the staff will be happy to assist you.
WHERE TO GO NEXT
In addition to the Moonraker and Conservatory restaurants, Salisbury Racecourse has a range of bars and eateries in all enclosures to suit every palate and budget. Salisbury Racecourse, as well as our catering partners, where possible use local suppliers providing high quality homemade fayre.
Check out our full fixture list, including details of entertainments available during and after racing!
Make the most of your time at Salisbury Racecourse. Our Racegoers Guide has everything you need to know about going to the races including what to wear, where to watch, how to bet and some of the racing jargon.