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The essential DOs and DON'Ts for every horse racing virgin

Here’s how to have a great day and avoid a faux pas.

NEVER BEEN TO the races before in your life?

Well, never fear. We’re here for you – we’re good like that.

Here’s one insider tip: this weekend one of the most exciting of the whole racing calendar: the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

It kicks off on Saturday at Leopardstown, with one of the highest-rated races in the world and a €1 million prize. Yeow.

So if you didn’t make it to the Galway Races, there’s still plenty of time to grab some betting slips and make a show of yourself shouting yourself hoarse for that long-shot to come in.

For anyone thinking of heading to the races for the first time, here’s a couple of do’s and don’ts that will help prepare you for a great day out:


Dress appropriately 

Don’t let your Ma down now. Shine those shoes.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Make sure you have enough cash to avoid ATM queues

James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Celebrate if you win

Victory dances are key. KEY.

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Pick a horse in each race, even if you’re not betting

Makes things a little more interesting. Bonus fun: make your friend pick a different horse and see who comes out on top. No money, sure, but lots of craic and bragging rights to be had.

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Spare a thought for the cleaners 

There are bins. Use ‘em.

Ben Birchall Ben Birchall


Believe any horse is a “sure thing”

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. (Get it?)

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Bet on a horse because their name is funny

Well, only if it’s REALLY funny.


Dress as a jockey…or a horse

Listen, just don’t fancy dress at all. OK?

PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Blow all your money on the first race

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Assume there will be warm weather 

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But most importantly: have a rake of fun for yourself.

Got any tips for the rookies? Leave them in the comments below. (Solid tips also more than welcome, of course…)

After Leopardstown, it’s off to the Curragh on Sunday for the Thoroughbred Trail, which gives racegoers the unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look into the operations of the world’s most famous trainers and stud farms.

But, even if you aren’t interested in the races, you would be missing out on a truly great sporting occasion. The venue, people and an amazing atmosphere is not something you want to miss out on. Giddy up! 

Read: 9 Galway bars you need to visit this weekend>

Read: Here’s how to bet on the horses: an essential guide>

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