You may be mistaken when you see the press attention the likes of Ladies Day at Ascot and the like receive that these are very much social events, and while that may be the case for some, you can practically guarantee that every person there will have put some money on a horse in a race, as this is what a day at the races is really all about.
Long known as the sport of Kings, race days have a far reaching appeal, and for every socialite you see sipping champagne in her Philip Treacy hat you will see numerous people from all walks of life having a bet and cheering on their horse.
This one of the big attractions of going to the races, everyone can go and have a great time and make a few quid to boot. Betting on horses is one of the easiest, and oldest, forms of gambling. Even an enthusiastic amateur can understand the way that the odds system works, and can work out that if you put £1 on a horse that wins at 10/1 you will get £10 back plus your pound bet.
In big races such as the Grand National, each way betting comes into play in a big way due the large number of runners. If you put £1 each way you are effectively betting £1 that the horse will win, and £1 that they will be placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th and, in some cases, 5th.
The odds for a placed horse are generally ¼ of their starting price, so if a horse at 20/1 is place you get £5 back, plus your £1 bet.
While racing on the television draws big audiences, there is nothing like the buzz of attending a race meeting. There are race courses across the country that welcome all comers, and the on site book makers, known as the tic tac men with their exaggerated arm movements that all have a meaning, are a sight to behold.
There is nothing quite like placing your bet, then watching your horse in the flesh thundering across the turf towards the finishing post. While you can obviously place your bets in advance either at a betting shop or online, one of the thrills of attending a meeting is standing in line to place your bet and then going back with your ticket to receive your winnings.
If you live within easy travelling distance of one of the big race courses such as York, Doncaster, Aintree or Epsom, you owe it to yourself to turn your back on the TV and go there in person. The atmosphere is electric, akin to a top football match, and this just cannot be replicated by sitting in the house watching it on a flat screen.