Betting on-course for the first time can be a little intimating, row upon row of surly faced bookmakers isn’t the most inviting of scenes. Many novice punters will bypass the on-course bookies and head straight to the Tote window. However, you could be missing out on bigger odds if you do. Normally you’ll get better odds with the on-course bookies for short priced favourites or second favourites. If backing long shots is your thing then by all means head over to the Tote window, as you usually get a bigger return with them for rank outsiders – but not always! It pays to shop around.

Don’t be intimidated by the on-course bookies, they really do want your business! Here’s how to place a bet on-course without looking like a novice… It’s important to realise that the bookies have a very limited time to serve all the punters before a race, the more punters they serve the more money they make. They will not take kindly to you rocking up without knowing beforehand what type of bet you want to make and who you want the money on. So make your decision before approaching the stand. Have your money ready to hand over, don’t make the bet and then start searching in your pockets for that lone fiver. More importantly don’t tell the bookie the name of the horse! that’s right, they don’t care – just tell them the horses number, it makes the transaction quicker and avoids confusion.

Just stroll up confidentially and say: £10 win on horse five please! or £5 EACH WAY on horse five please (costs £10). The bookie will take your £10 and give you a receipt – DO NOT LOSE THE RECEIPT! you will need it to collect your winnings (if any). Don’t rip-up your ticket even if your horse loses, wait until the announcement ‘Weighted In’ is made – a stewards enquiry could over turn any race result, that losing receipt might turn into gold.

Bets placed on UK courses are covered by the Administration of Gambling on Tracks Ltd. They offer a full late pay service, in the case of a bookmaker leaving the course before you get a chance to collect.