New to Racing?


Whether you have been racing before or are considering coming along but not sure what to expect, our step by step guide will help you make the most of your day and ensure you enjoy your raceday experience at Thirsk Races.

Children under 18 GO FREE to every race meeting at thirsk when accompanied by a full paying adult, we also have selected race meetings with free children's entertainment such as bouncy castles, face painting and much more! Find out full details on our family day page


Before you arrive

For any day out it is always a good idea to arrange your travel plans and decide what you are going to wear in advance.

We generally open a couple of hours before the first race so it is a good idea to get here at least one hour before racing starts so you can familiarise yourself with the course and find a spot from which to watch the racing. It will also give you plenty of time to find something to eat and drink and soak up the atmosphere.

Thirsk Racecourse is very easy to get to with Thirsk Station located just ½ mile away and a free shuttle bus runs two hours before the first race and up to an hour after the last race. If arriving by car Thirsk is on the A61 Thirsk/Ripon road and is just a short distance from the A1 and A19 and is very well signposted. You can plan your route HERE


What to wear

The summer season of April to September is a time when racegoers like to dress up and you will be more likely to see the ladies in hats, fascinators and dresses. In our Premier Enclosure, Gentleman are required to wear a shirt with a collar, smart long trousers or tailored shorts and shoes or other smart-casual footwear. Whilst suits, jackets and ties are not mandatory, they are encouraged and many people opt to wear them.

Ladies are respectfully requested to dress smartly for the Premier Enclosure and many do opt to wear a hat or fascinator to compliment their outfit.

The following items of dress are not permitted – items of sportswear, football shirts, fancy dress, casual shorts, ripped or torn garments, mottle-dyed denim or any other items which, in the opinion of the management, are not in keeping with the dress code.

If you do have any queries regarding the dress code please do enquire before your departure for the racecourse.


The Paddock Enclosure is more relaxed and you can dress casually. However, if you are dining in one of our hospitality restaurants the premier dress code will apply as above.

The British weather can be unpredictable, including very warm when racing during the summer, so it is advisable to check the forecast beforehand when choosing your outfit. You can check out the latest forecast HERE


If you are attending as part of a party (hen or stag) and would like to attend in fancy dress, please contact us in advance for further guidance.

Always ensure you attach your badge to your outfit, either through a buttonhole or attached to a handbag strap, so it is visible to the racecourse officials.


What to bring

Cash – there is a cash machine on site (an operator charge applies), located at the entrance of the Pavilion Stand, adjacent to the Cherry Tree Bar which is in the Premier Enclosure. It can get busy at times so it is advisable to bring cash with you in case you would like to have a small bet or purchase a racecard. *** PLEASE NOTE OUR CASH MACHINE IS CURRENTLY NOT IN OPERATION

Camera or phone – capture the excitement of your day and upload them onto social media where you can share with your friends using the hashtag #thirskraces. The flash must be switched off so you do not upset the horses.


Shawl or umbrella – It is a good idea to have a shawl or/and umbrella that is small enough to fit in a bag (just in case).



Our Racecards are packed with useful information as well as listing all the runners and riders for each race. This year to celebrate the safe return to racing we are offering racecards FREE to all our racegoers!


A guide on how to read your racecard can be found HERE

Visit the Parade Ring

Head to the Parade Ring (or Paddock) where you can see the horses up close just before they race. You are looking for a sleek and shiny coat which suggests a horse is in good health. Watch the jockeys enter the parade ring about 10 minutes before each race where they talk tactics with the horse’s trainer and meet the horse owner(s).

Shortly afterwards you will see the jockeys mount and head out onto the racecourse which is a great time for you to go and find the best spot from which to watch the race or think about having a flutter!


How to bet

Putting a few pounds on your favourite horse is a fun experience and don’t let the hustle and bustle put you off! Having a bet can really add to the excitement of a race.


  • About 20 minutes before the race, go to the Parade Ring to view the horses and choose which horse you would like to bet on.
  • When the jockeys 'mount-up', make your way to the Betting Ring or to the Totepool betting windows to place your bet, which you can do from as little as £2.
  • You will find the bookmakers situated in the betting rings in front of the grandstands or the Totepool windows can be found in various locations around the racecourse. Totepool and most bookies offer ‘each-way’ and ‘to win’ bets.
  • You can also bet from the comfort of your mobile phone at the racecourse using one of the many betting websites that offer horse racing odds.
  • Remember to bet only as much money as you can afford to lose and remember to shop around for the best odds.

Whether you win or lose, return to the Winner’s Enclosure after the race to see the celebrations and cheer in the horses and jockeys after their hard work!

Winner's Enclosure

This is where the winning horses and runners-up come after they have passed the Winning Post. Head here to see the jockeys discussing the race with the owners and trainers and watch the horses enjoy a drink and a quick wash down. This is a great place to soak up the excitement of the celebrations (especially if you backed the winning horse). Then watch the presentation to the winning connections.



Don't be put off by racing jargon, you will soon know your furlongs from your fillies. Follow this link for all your jargon busting tips RACING JARGON