9th September 2023
There’s been a lot of coverage on the new whip rules in the Racing Press of late. This was amplified when Jim Crowley was adjudged to have struck his horse, Hukum, nine times in the 2023 running of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot - that’s three times above the permitted level. He was consequently banned for 20 days and fined £10,000. Hukum only just prevailed after a last furlong battle with Westover, ridden by Rob Hornby. Hornby was seen to have whipped his horse seven times - one time more than the permitted level. He was only given a four-day ban. The ban this short because he’d not had a whipping penalty in 200 rides in Britain. He would have previously incurred an eight-day ban but the BHA had eased penalties literally just days before the incident. Both jockeys were unaware that they’d exceeded the permitted amount of whip use claiming that, although this whip rule is always in their mind, it’s hard to keep count of how many times they’ve used the whip when they’re in the heat of battle, and in the zone, with head down, driving the horse forward and trying to keep control of its momentum. Crowley said that a million things are going on in their heads in close finishes like that, unlike when they are a length clear when it’s far easier to keep count. However, a spokesman for the BHA disagreed with this, saying that there was “very little justification for it” and that "the rules are there to safeguard the perception of the sport and to maintain fairness in close finishes".
Crowley believed that his punishment did not fit the crime and said that he had the support of his colleagues who had themselves previously expressed ‘discontent’ over the new rules. He said that he could guarantee that not a single jockey in the weighing room agreed with the new rules. Crowley's ban meant that he missed the Ebor Festival at York. Had he used the whip one time more, so four times over the permitted number, both horse and rider would have been disqualified from the race.
Data provided by the BHA showed that 0.96% of all rides in Britain had breached the new whip rules, in the first six months of them having been implemented. Whip overuse accounted for 61% of all suspensions handed out for breaches of the new rules, with a higher percentage being given to less experienced jockeys. However professional jockeys accounted for 77% of breached rides (and 57% of penalties given).
So what are the new whip rules?
BHA Whip Rule (F)45:
Flat racing maximum permitted level of whip use: 6 times
Jumps racing maximum permitted level of whip use: 7 times
In addition, any use of the whip must be appropriate, proportionate, and professional, and take account of the Rules of Racing and guidelines laid down by the BHA. The whip may be used to encourage a horse - to have the horse focused and concentrated - to perform at its best but the stimulus provided by the use of the whip must be limited so as not to compromise the welfare of the horse.
As well as the number of times the whip is used The Whip Committee will also look at the force with which it is used, whether it was used from above shoulder height, whether the horse has been given time to respond, the purpose for which the whip was used, whether the horse was in contention or clearly winning at the time the whip was used, and whether the whip has been used in the correct place (on the horse’s hindquarters).
To minimise a breach of the whip rule jockeys are encouraged to:
- Urge the horse to lengthen its stride and increase its pace by first using hand and heels before picking up the whip
- Consider how much of the race is still left to run before starting to use the whip
- Show the horse the whip and give it time to respond before using it
- Give the horse a chance to respond, having used it, before using it again
- Keep both hands on the reins when using the whip down the shoulder in the backhand position
- Use the whip in rhythm with the horse’s stride
Penalties for overuse of the whip differ depending on how many times over the permitted maximum it has been used, the number of rides the jockey has had since a previous breach of the whip rules, the Class and value of the race, and the number of times a jockey has been found guilty of whip overuse in an allotted period.
Why use a whip?
The loud noise made by the whip is designed to move the horse forward. We’ve all seen those old Western films where a whip is lashed into the air to get stationary horses to move or to create a stampede. It’s the same principle (but thankfully not the same type of whip) and it’s designed to get a horse’s attention, to encourage them to concentrate, to keep them in a straight line, or to steer them away from danger - so jockeys say that it’s a vital implement to keep both the horse and rider safe.
Some people believe that horses are inherently lazy but research shows that lazy horses are made, not born. They may have developed an aversion to exercise, perhaps because the training program may have exceeded their capabilities at one point. Just like us humans, they may prefer to take the easy option. Who wouldn’t? Or, as we hear so many times when professional pundits talk about horses after they've under-performed in a race, they may just have fallen out of love with racing. It happens. It doesn't mean they're lazy. Constantly having to go to the limit and give your all is not for everyone. Or every horse. From time immemorial they’ve been man’s hardest working animal companion so that certainly doesn't suggest an inherent lazy animal. Therefore, when a horse does become 'lazy' for whatever reason, it needs ‘encouragement’ - the whip.
The Whip itself
Animal rights groups such as Animal Aid have been calling for a ban on the whip for many years claiming that it’s cruel, painful, and intimidatory. And back in the day, that may well have been true. That is not the case today though. The BHA has strict rules regarding the construction and dimensions of the whip permitted. Jockeys can only carry a specifically designed and approved energy-absorbing whip, developed in conjunction with the RSPCA. This whip is intended to create a loud noise thus encouraging the horse to move forward, without creating either discomfort or injury to it. The whip consists of a composite backbone surrounded by either polymer or plastic and encased in a thick high-density foam padding. All whips are checked by the Clerk of the Scales when the jockeys weigh out before each race to ensure that they conform to the required standards and remain fit for purpose. ProCush, who make whips by hand to custom specifications, are the preferred whip manufacturer for most jockeys in Britain.
For a flat race, the whip must be a maximum of 70 cm in length (including the flap) and there must be no binding within 17 cm of the end of the flap.
For a jumps race the whip must be a maximum of 68 cm in length (including the flap) and there must be no binding within 23 cm of the end of the flap.
The minimum diameter of the whip must be 1 cm, the maximum weight must not exceed 160g, and the contact area must be smooth with no protrusions or raised surface. The whip must be covered by shock-absorbing material throughout its circumference such that it gives a compression factor of at least 6mm.
The only additional feature that may be attached to the whip is a flap, and even that must comply with a strict set of standards. All of the horse-racing whips that I looked at online already had these flaps.
While Animal Rights groups such as World Horse Welfare do recognise the use of the whip for safety reasons, they believe that its primary use in horse racing is to make the horse run faster and to ‘advance its position in the race’. And they point to a growing amount of scientific research that questions whether the use of the whip for ‘encouragement’ purposes is actually effective. There is, apparently, no proof that the use of a whip actually does make a horse run faster, or stop them from slowing down. They say its use is coercive, and this undermines the concept of partnership between horse and human, which is, in their opinion, the foundation of ethical horse sport. I suppose the fact that there are actually ‘hands and heels only’ races, which are now widely accepted in the sport, and seem to pass without incident, does help their suggestion that a whip is not really needed.
One thing is for sure, it’s an emotive subject. And one that’s not going away any time soon.
5th September 2023
Each way betting. It’s a nightmare so if, like us, you haven’t a clue what terms are offered and when, then hopefully this will clear it up for you.
Obviously some bookies, in handicaps with large numbers of runners such as the Grand National or the Cambridgeshire, offer to pay out up to 6 (and sometimes even more) places. In the main these are online bookies so it’s always best to look around for the best offer.
19th July 2023
In some of our more recent racecourse reviews we've informed you on how BET365 ‘price-boosted’ horses fared at that meeting, and I'll tell you why. Over the years I’d fallen victim to this clever price-boosting marketing ploy. Initially with Paddy Power on their Cheltenham Festival ‘specials’ where they’d boost the odds of horses deemed as dead certs (although we all know that there is no such thing as a dead cert at the Festival). The point is that they were always very low-priced horses that had a very strong chance of winning. A lot of them short-priced favourites. But they never did. Naturally, I was pretty peeved at this.
Since BET365, my online betting site of choice started price-boosting I’d fallen into the same trap. It’s blumin’ tempting after all. Especially if you already think that the horse is going to win anyway. Again, the horse rarely did. So I decided to observe their price-boosted horses over the 2023 Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National meetings. I found that the horses that they’d price-boosted, bearing in mind that they were nearly always horses around the top of the betting market, did not win on average 86% of the time. More recently, at meetings that we've attended, that's been 100% of the time. Maybe they have a panel of experts or some kind of algorithm that 'throws out' a fancied horse with a 'questionable' chance of winning but the horse that they price-boost does seem to 'lose' rather a lot. Whether other online betting sites offer the same service and have a similar strike rate I do not know, but before lining their coffers even more with your hard-earned money it’s best to do a little research yourself first. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t make great business sense for online betting sites to present their customers with a better chance of winning more money off them (introductory offers excluded) would it? They also price-boost horses 'to be placed' but I'm concentrating only on those price-boosted to win.
I took a look at all British horse racing meetings over one week to see if they reaped similar results. This equated to 178 races over thirty meetings (although only four of those meetings were jumps). Of the 178 price-boosted horses in these races (at an average Starting Price of 7/2) only 34 actually won. That’s just 19.1%. So, the horses price-boosted by BET365 did not win 80.9% of the time. Food for thought eh?
Since becoming aware of the poor record of price-boosted horses I have ignored the fact that the horse that I'd backed ante-post had been price-boosted, which proved to be the right call (Auguste Rodin in the Derby for instance) but I’ve also cashed out when I saw that my selection had been price-boosted (Shaquille in the July Cup and Paddington in the Eclipse) which proved to be a mistake. I’ve also cashed out and backed a different horse in the race, which has gone on to win, so there's no hard and fast answer to this. You pay your money, you take your chance. But the fact is that a price-boosted horse has a slightly less than one in five chance of winning based on our experiment. So be careful.
13th June 2023
Horse racing has long been targeted by animal rights protesters. No race more so than the Grand National. But this has been taken to the next level recently with the advent of Animal Rising, a British activist movement formed in 2019 and initially called Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion. The movement has been grabbing the headlines recently with its protests against horse racing. Basically, they want it stopped and the Grand National, a horse race that attracts five to six hundred million viewers worldwide, has been their prime target. This year (2023) one hundred and twenty protestors were detained before the race having attempted to disrupt the race. They did manage to delay the race by fifteen minutes causing some horses to ‘boil over’ at the start. Ultimately this led to some horses charging down to the first fence far too fast. Hill Sixteen, a horse that had never fallen having jumped 398 obstacles over twenty seven races, including the Aintree fences themselves, sadly did fall and broke his neck. The trainer firmly believes that the delay caused by the Animal Rising protestors led to the death of his horse. Their actions had actually caused the kind of fatality that they were protesting about.
They subsequently attempted to disrupt the Scottish Grand National and the Epsom Derby. An injunction was granted to The Jockey Club by the High Court beforehand ruling that protestors causing disruption to the race would be liable for fines, damages, or imprisonment. Amen to that. Long overdue. As it happens, at least one person managed to get onto the racecourse whilst the race was on. He was swiftly removed.
At recent visits to Hexham and Newton Abbot racecourses, we’ve encountered either increased security or protestors with their ‘Cruelty is not Sport’ placards outside the racecourses encouraging passers-by to toot their horns if they want horse racing banned. I’ve also witnessed this outside Worcester racecourse. How provocative is that? Obviously, people attending these meetings are pro-horse racing so, to stand there and effectively rub their noses in it by saying “We’re trying to ban your sport” is, to me, a recipe for conflict. Personally, whilst I agree with the right to protest peacefully, it should be away from the racecourse not where there’s the potential to incite.
So what do they want? They claim that a horse dies on a racetrack every other day (actually it’s every two and a half days. This equates to just 0.2% of all runners) and so want to stop horse racing altogether. They believe it to be cruel and say that the horses are being exploited. They say that they care about the horses, want to protect them from harm, and want them to live long and happy lives. Don’t we all? They want all racehorses to be retired and to be 'rewilded'. I agree that they probably do have an argument with the exploitation claim. At the end of the day, they are raced to win races, money and to entertain us. We can't deny that. A certain Irish National Hunt trainer has not helped the sport in this area recently either by having a photo taken posing and smiling whilst sitting on the deceased Morgan on the gallops, by showing no emotion or sadness whatsoever when interviewed over the sad fatality of his promising Mighty Potter at Fairyhouse racecourse earlier this year, or by his alleged 'involvement' in some of his horses, including the classy Vyta Du Roc, ending up at a backstreet slaughterhouse near Swindon as documented in the 2021 BBC Panorama 'The dark side of horse racing' program. Thankfully he is not representative of the huge majority of horse racing trainers, or we really would be up shit creek! Whilst nobody can doubt his brilliance as a trainer, his horses really do seem, to me, like a commodity to him. Animal Rising is wrong when they play the ‘cruelty’ card. The thoroughbred horse is not like your normal domestic horse, it’s a breed that has been bred over hundreds of years to run and jump. That’s what they do. They are extremely high maintenance and take a LOT of looking after. They're treated like kings/queens whilst in training by their yards.
Animal Rising has no credible plan for what would happen to the 50,000 horses in the UK currently in training or at stud farms. One suggestion of theirs is that they should be rehomed in sanctuaries. There are only a handful of sanctuaries in this country as it is, nowhere near enough to accommodate that many. Also, most thoroughbreds are younger horses. Considering that they may live well into their twenties, who will pay for this? I actually used to help out at an ex-racehorse rehabilitation centre but that had to close due to lack of funding, so that is definitely an area that needs to be looked at by the industry.
Another idea of theirs is to ‘rewild’ 70% of all agricultural land in the UK and Ireland and release animals onto this land. I presume they also mean thoroughbred racehorses by this. The Dutch have already tried this with catastrophic results. As the herbivore population soared (due to mild winters and a lack of natural predators) trees died resulting in a decline in the wild bird population. Deer, horses, and cattle had to be slaughtered as they were starving to death. Basically, there wasn’t enough food to sustain them. Protesters over the experiment ended up throwing bales of hay at them. So there's the proof. Utter madness.
Kevin Blake, an ambassador for our sport and founder of StandUpForRacing, points out that you cannot just stop horse racing without having a structured plan in place as to what would happen to the many thoroughbred horses in the UK. They could not just be put out in a field and forgotten about. The Colts would kill each other. He says that it would be the greatest equine tragedy in history. By banning horse racing Animal Rising would actually cause the extinction of a species, the thoroughbred horse. Surely this completely goes against their whole ethos? The fact is a horse living its life in a field has exactly the same mortality rate as a horse in training. This has been researched and proven. Horse racing is constantly working to make the sport safer for the horses. Fence modifications, withdrawing horses on veterinary advice, abandoning races and meetings based on ground/weather conditions, and amendments to the whip rule are just a few of those areas that have been addressed in recent years to improve their welfare but the risk cannot be completely eliminated. And that goes for anything in life. Even crossing the road. It's not an answer that will appease Animal Rising though. No racing, no deaths would be their answer. They're not bothered how well the horses are treated whilst in training and they're not too fussed about visiting racing yards either, so we can't use those as a retort. Sometimes you just can't change the uneducated view of fanatics. Nobody in horse racing wants to see these lovely animals harmed, even Animal Rising accepts that. We just need to make sure that our house is in order so that the opinions and views of this minority group do not gain momentum and sweep through the masses - most of whom have no interest in racing and would jump on the 'ban racing' bandwagon based on the misinformation fed by organisations such as Animal Rising.
We do need to look at what happens to racehorses once their racing days are over. I've always said this. At the moment it's obviously a massive grey area and open to abuse. Rehoming and retraining of racehorses is at an all-time high but there’s still not enough data to know exactly how many. Unfortunately, due to physical and mental issues, not all racehorses are able to be retrained though. These should not just be passed on to someone else as their problem, ultimately ending up neglected or abandoned…..or in a seedy abattoir. Kevin Blake suggests that, even though it’s not a pleasant subject to address, they should be humanely euthanised, but only when there is no other option. Horse passports need to be more detailed too. Although they show dates of birth and death, owners, and any medication, I’m not sure that it lists all movements, causes of death, or the reason why a horse has ended up at an abattoir. It should have. Transparency is paramount. One of the claims of Animal Rising is that 50% of horses found in slaughterhouses had a racing passport. If that’s true it’s pretty damning and needs serious investigation.
We need to stand up and unite against this Animal Rising movement. Nodding our heads and doing nothing could result in the end of the sport we love. I urge you to join Kevin Blake, Nick Luck, Tom Scudamore, Patrick Mullins, and others by following StandUpForRacing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (or whatever platform you can find it on) in standing up for the horse racing and breeding industry in Europe and correcting misinformation. Or you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BHA actually has a great set of short films highlighting horse welfare. Check them out on this link: https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/horse-welfare-british-racing/find-out-why/
27th October 2022
If you're a regular reader of our blogs you'll know that we're not the biggest fans of the whole 'premier' or 'standard' ticket issue. For us, there should be just one reasonably priced entrance fee that allows racegoers access to all areas of the racecourse. In some cases 'premier' can be an additional £10 from the standard ticket price (ie Sandown Park) and all that it buys you is access to some extra snazzy bars and restaurants. It's not as though the food and drink in them is any cheaper! Ok, sometimes there's a racecard thrown in and sometimes it gives you exclusive access to parts of the racecourse that a standard ticket doesn't. For instance, Sandown Park and Goodwood restrict standard ticket holders from accessing the whole of the parade ring circumference. It also prevents them from getting near the finish line. That, in particular, is one of our major gripes. Most 'regular' racegoers are there for the racing. They're not there to mix with the 'beer-swigging tight trousers, no socks brigade' in the bars of the premier enclosure, they go to watch the races and see the horses. Yet they are being penalised in favour of those who have no interest in the horses or the races and very rarely leave the bar! How is that fair? If a racegoer does want to get all togged up in smart clothes and spend the entire meeting in the fancy bars then that's fine, they pay their entrance fee and can spend the time there how they like but 'true' racing enthusiasts should also have access to all areas of the racecourse...in particular up by the finish line and be able to choose, unhindered, where they watch a race. There are, of course, racecourses that have premier / standard enclosures where the regular, standard ticket-buying racegoer is not penalised and can still watch the race on the rails at the finish line (ie Beverley and Uttoxeter) and that's absolutely fine. There's obviously a market for premier enclosures as they always seem to be busy. We just think it's a way for racecourses to charge a bit more money for entry. Perhaps it's also to deter people who turn up in a vest and shorts or a tracksuit (we actually saw somebody in a bloody shell suit at Aintree!) from entering these areas? Sounds logical but surely if you turned up dressed like that you couldn't seriously believe that you'd be allowed entry into the more salubrious areas?
Having said all of that, we are going to sample a bit of 'premier enclosure-like' when we return to Beverley racecourse as Sally Iggulden, the Chief Executive and head honcho there, was very good at selling the whole idea of it and insists that it's worth the extra £8. We shall see.
25th August 2022
Love them or hate them, on-course independent bookies are having a tough time of late. Online betting has taken off massively and now accounts for a huge slice of the betting cake leaving on-course bookies scratching around for the crumbs. Let's face it though, in the face of huge competition they're not exactly helping themselves, are they? I recently read that an independent bookie at Ffos Las was complaining that he'd only taken £1500 on a race day when he needs at least £4000 to break even. If things carried on like that he'd have to pack it in.
The thing is, we've all been to the races and walked along the many bookies stands looking for the best odds and they're nearly always the same....crap. There's no real incentive to place a bet with any particular one of them. And since the implementation of 1/5th of the odds (whenever that was) each way betting is not as an attractive option as it once was. This surely has had an effect. And the ridiculous cashless policy that a lot of racecourses have now adopted is bound to have had an effect too. They're encouraging, or should I say, forcing racegoers to pay for literally everything by card (even for a coffee or a bottle of water ffs!) so naturally, racegoers are going to take less cash...yet the bookies only take cash! And even if that ever changes who on earth is going to want to place a bet with an on-course bookie using a bloody debit card? Doing so online is completely different as you can transfer a lump sum to your account so that you're not having to use the debit card for each and every single bet. And credit card use for placing a bet is already a no-go.
But placing a bet online is sooo much more attractive. For a start, you can place the bet before the day of the race and get best odds guaranteed. And the odds are better in the first place. And there are other incentives like free bets and games to play for free where you can win cash. On-course bookies just can't compete with that. Also, when we were at Stratford races recently, my horse won but was later deemed to have interfered and was relegated to second place. On-course backers had to hold on to their bets during the stewards' inquiry, and after the result was decided, lost their bet. But the online betting company that I use (Bet365) still paid out. Myself and Cheg nearly always use our phones to place bets (usually the day before) and rarely use an on-course bookie for those very reasons. But we have found that some racecourses (Windsor and Worcester) have no internet connection. Very suspicious. If this is intentional to 'force' the racegoer to use the on-course bookies, and we suspect that it is, this is a blatant obstruction of freedom of choice and we'll call out any racecourse that we find doing it. We do not live in China or North Korea.
On-course bookies really do face an uncertain future though. Personally, we think there are too many at racecourses but we wouldn't want to see none at all. We would also like to see the back of this unpopular cashless policy. Nobody we've spoken to is in favour of it and shelving it would surely help on course bookies, but they really do need to find other ways of attracting racegoers to place a bet with them otherwise it's 'goodnight' to them.
24th May 2022
There's been a lot of conversation recently, both on television and in the racing press, about the lower attendance figures, especially at recent bigger horse racing meetings such as Chester and York. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why that is.
Racecourse Entrance prices: In our experience, these have varied. Some racecourses have offered exceptional value (Catterick, Epsom, Salisbury to mention a few) but some have, in our opinion, been too expensive (Warwick, Ludlow, Chepstow, Worcester). Indeed, a top official at Chepstow even told us that they'd only had 120 online bookings. At £21 for class 5 / 6 racing what do you expect? And there's no correlation as to who owns the racecourses either. Warwick is Jockey Club, Ludlow Independent and Chepstow, and Worcester ARC. Although we've singled out these four, most are at the higher price range than the lower end of the scale.
Racecourse Food / Drink: A huge factor. At nearly every racecourse we've been to this year the food has been massively overpriced. Going to a posh restaurant would be cheaper! And the food isn't even that great (Taunton and Catterick excluded). With measly portion sizes, it certainly does NOT offer value for money. We're finding that £10 seems to be the average price for a cheeseburger .... and for a further ridiculous £4 you can have fries!
We're not drinkers so, as yet, haven't really paid much attention to the price of alcoholic drinks. But I do know that a pint of lager at the Cheltenham Festival cost £8 and was £7 at the Grand National meeting at Aintree. Admittedly those are two of the biggest meetings in the racing calendar but is that a reason to fleece the customers? We think not. It's not just the bigger meetings though. I fancied half a lager at Wolverhampton last week and that was over £3. Three sips and it was gone! A pint of Pimms at Windsor on the May Day bank holiday meeting was £12. £45 for a jug. Disgraceful.
I've heard that they're trying to claw money back after Covid. What they're actually doing is driving people away.
Cash?: Another factor surely has to be the lack of acceptance of cash at most meetings. You can't even pay cash for a coffee for God's sake! A huge number of racegoers (especially during the week) are older, possibly retired people and I know that a LOT of them still prefer to pay in cash, not card. I know there was a switch over to card during the height of Covid but things are practically back to normal now so that can't be used as an excuse. Bring back cash.
The 'no socks and skinny trousers brigade': As keen racegoers and lovers of our great sport for many years one thing that neither of us like is the growing number of groups of lads walking around with pints of beer in their hands. These usually (but not always) tend to be loud and foul-mouthed. They have little interest in the races themselves and, in our opinion, are driving away the true racegoer who are the bread and butter for most racecourses. Yet these people seem to be encouraged with discounted entry prices for younger customers. Yes, short term it will fill the coffers but long term it's a road to disaster. These people will not be going racing on a wet Tuesday in November.
The Cost of Living: it goes without saying. Huge hikes in petrol/diesel costs have surely had a major effect. You practically have to be stinking rich to afford a full tank of fuel these days. With utility costs and food prices having gone through the roof too it really is no wonder that people have less disposable income and 'luxury' items such as a day at the races have naturally had to be put on the back burner.
Number of Horse Racing Meetings: It can also be argued that there are far too many race meetings on offer. We're all about choice but, taking a quick look at the racing calendar, at this time of year there are (on average) five meetings in the UK every day. That has surely got to have an effect. And that figure increases during the summer months.
There are numerous reasons why attendances have dropped. Racecourses really do need to get their act together and address them. A day at the races should be an enjoyable experience, but it's sometimes not. Myself and Cheg prefer the smaller, quieter meetings during the week where you can walk about freely without having to queue everywhere and you can see what we want to see without feeling like a sardine with the huge crowds that are crammed into meetings like the Cheltenham Festival. I deliberately haven't been to the Festival for about five years now due to that very reason (having been MANY times in the past). It's just not fun. And I lost count of how many online posts I read of how many people will not be going again after this year's meeting, due to many of the reasons listed above. As I say, short-term gains but long-term losses.
But we have found that there ARE still racecourses and certain meetings that DO represent good value for money. Our blogs detail some of those.
If you are a serious racegoer who is a frequent visitor to race meetings I really can't recommend that you join the Racegoers Club enough. Annual membership runs from 1st January until 31st December and costs just £45. For that, you get discounted concessions at hundreds of race meetings. Mine has already more than paid for itself and it's still only May! There are even some meetings where you get free entry, and also discounted stable visits. You also get 500 Rewards4racing points (which is something else you really need to sign up for....it's completely free).
*Update: The ROA (Racehorse Owners Association) will be taking over the reins of the running of The Racegoers Club as of 2023. Visit their website for Racegoers Club racecourse concessions.