All About Racing

Dates for 20/21 Race Season:

17th of November

2nd of December

28th of December – Summer Festival

28th of April

15th of May – Rotorua Cup Day

7th of July

31st of July – Taumarunui Gold Cup


Racing Guide

Most race days start somewhere between 11am and 12.30pm depending on the time of year (summer or winter racing) and the number of races to be held during the day.
You can visit our Events page for general information, or go to and click on “Latest Fields” to the left of the homepage to see the time of each race. Alternatively get in touch with one of the NZ Racing administration people by phone who will be happy to provide you with all the information you require.  Click here to go to the “Contacts Page”.

Many thoroughbred race days in New Zealand provide free entry to the public for the day. Premier race days usually carry a small charge for entry as do specialty themed race days such as “Summer Festival” and “Christmas at the Races” meetings.

There are many options for food and dining on course. Here are four of the most common:

  • Bring along your own picnic and enjoy the day on the public lawn.
  • For the no effort option treat the kids to a traditional hot carton of chips and an ice cream for the day while you enjoy a sandwich and something sweet from one of the oncourse food outlets.
  • Feel like something tasty to get you through the day? Try an oncourse buffet usually consisting of hot meat selection, a variety of salads and hot vegetable dishes, perfect for the whole family.
  • Book a marquee package or table to suit the number of people with you and enjoy either buffet or set menu dining options. Phone the club and see what’s available, this is a great way to give yourself a base for the day. Race day visitors are usually surprised at what great value these raceday packages are and usually make a habit of it!
  • There are a number of beverage outlets oncourse which provide both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day. Look in the front of your race book for the course map and list of dining and bar areas.

Never placed a bet before?  Or perhaps you have, but now you’re planning your first trip to the racetrack.  Don’t let fear of the unknown put you off – there are plenty of ways to have a flutter. Here are some tips care of the Racing Board.  More can be found at Print out this guide and put it in your pocket – or handbag – and get so much more from a great day out.

Race books are pocket and handbag sized, and once you get the hang of it, easy to refer to.  The race book lists all the races for the day, and the runners in each race, along with form for each one – that’s how they’ve been performing recently. It’ll give you the all-important race numbers and runner numbers – and this guide tells you how to start making sense of the form as well.

Go up to a betting window, and talk to the TAB operator.  There will be a queue if a race is starting soon.  The cardinal rule is, get your bet on early.

Just three simple things:

  1. The number of the race (or just say “the next race” if that’s the one you want).
  2. The number of the runner – that’s the number on their saddlecloth and beside the horse in the racebook.
  3. How much you want to pay for your bet.

There’s no magic formula, and the experts don’t always get it right.  Here’s a look at picking for three levels of expertise…

  • Lucky Pick: Choose your lucky number.  Watch out for the jockeys’ silks (that’s the name for their colourful jacket and hat) or the dog vests, and pick your lucky colour.  Or back your lucky number in each race – odds are you’re bound to have a win during the day.  Lucky wins from random picks have a long and honourable tradition.
  • Take It Easy: If you want to get a bet on but can’t decide what to back, ask the TAB operator for an “Easybet”.  The computer will pick your runner for as little as $2.
  • View The Birdcage: Before the start of a horse race, the runners are paraded.  This takes place in the birdcage – the enclosure in front of the grandstand.  Take a look and see what you think.

Be sure to watch the horses on their way to the start line.  Once the horses leave for the start, you have up to 10 minutes to place your bet.

The options are wide and varied both in difficulty, value, and time of the day.  When starting out its best to keep it simple with these options.

  • Win: Pick a runner to finish first.
  • Place: Pick a runner to be first, second or third.
  • Each Way: This popular bet gives you both a win and place on your pick – e.g. $5 each way costs $10 – $5 for the win bet and $5 for the place bet.  If your pick wins, you collect win and place dividends; if it comes second you collect the place dividend.