Frequently Asked Questions
Few days out can match the spectacle and excitement of a day at the races. Many people enjoy the sociability of a day out in the fresh air with family friends or business associates. The more you understand about what is going on the greater your enjoyment will be. Here we answer some frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your day at Taunton Racecourse.
A. Tickets are available online Book Tickets or on the day at the course. A 10% discount is available for tickets booked online. We are currently unable to accept credit or debit cards for on the day purchases.
A. Yes. Racegoers between the ages of 16 and 24 are entitled to Junior Membership by registering with the racecourse. This entitles the junior member to half price admission to the Paddock Stand. Accompanied children under the age of 16 are admitted free. Proof of age may be requested.
A. Group discounts (for groups of 10 or more) are available for bookings made in advance. Please contact the Secretary on 01823 337172.
A. All racegoers can apply for annual membership at Taunton. Members receive a metal badge permitting admission to all enclosures at all the race meetings at Taunton in the calendar year, saving up to £100 compared to on the day admission. Members also benefit from free admission to over 40 selected meetings at other racecourses throughout the calendar year. Further privileges include exclusive access to the Paddock stand and the Members Restaurant, use of the private Members car park and reduced admission to Somerset County Cricket Club and The Royal Bath & West Show. Membership represents exceptional value. Further details can be found here
A. Taunton has two enclosures, both with excellent views of the course. Tattersalls badge holders gain access to the Orchard Grandstand and all its facilities. Portman Grandstand badge holders benefit from viewing overlooking the finishing line, access to the stand’s additional bars and facilities, as well as access to the Orchard stand. Both enclosures allow access to the betting ring, paddock and pre-parade ring.
A. Taunton benefits from excellent drainage and race meetings are very seldom abandoned. In the very unlikely event of abandonment, a full refund is offered should no racing take place. If racing is abandoned after the first race but before the third, a 50% refund will be offered. No refunds are available if racing is abandoned after the third race. Refunds cannot be issued on the day itself. All refunds must be claimed within 28 days of the racemeeting. Racegoers should send their ticket with full name and address details to Taunton Racecourse, Orchard Portman, Taunton, Somerset TA3 7BL..
A. The Racecourse is on the B3170 from Taunton to Corfe and Honiton, approximately 2 miles south of Taunton town centre. Leave the M5 at Junction 25, and travel towards Taunton, following the signs for Racecourse. If you are travelling on the A303 or from Dorset or South Somerset, take the A358 which crosses under the M5 and pick up the Racecourse signs. For those travelling from North Devon or Minehead, the B3170 leaves Taunton from the traffic lights by the town centre Sainsburys.
A. There is no public bus service from Taunton to the Racecourse. A courtesy bus is provided, which departs from the railway station one hour before the first race, calls at the bus station en route and returns 30 minutes after the start of the last race. Taxis are available from the railway station, and cost approximately £8-10.
Taunton is just two hours from London, with mainline direct trains departing Paddington every hour. Taunton is also on the Cross Country mainline, with regular high speed services to the North and South.
A. Free parking is provided off the main road on the approach to the racecourse from the town centre.
A. The course is approximately 2 miles from the town centre. Adventurous racegoers may enjoy the walk, but note that there is no footpath on the approach to the course.
A. Racing at Taunton is played out in front of a stunning backdrop, with views across to the Blackdown Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Taunton is ideally located for many of the top Westcountry trainers, including David Pipe, Paul Nicholls, Alan King and Phillip Hobbs, who regularly send their promising recruits to the course en route to bigger prizes. Recent champions who progressed through the ranks via Taunton include Rooster Booster, 2003 Champion Hurdler, Well Chief, multiple Grade 1 winner who made his chasing debut at Taunton just 6 weeks prior to scoring in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, and Our Vic, winner of the Charlie Hall Chase and 2008 winner of the Ryanair chase. Other high class horses to grace Taunton in recent seasons include Seebald, Ashley Brook, Penzance, Valirimix, Desert Quest, Acambo, as well as countless others. Come to Taunton and witness future stars!.
A. Taunton stages races under the National Hunt code, which requires the horses to negotiate jumps. There are two types of jumps race; steeplechases, with four foot six inch high fences, and hurdles races, with smaller, three foot six inch high obstacles. Races at Taunton are run from distances as short as 2 miles, up to 3 miles 3 furlongs. A day’s racing at Taunton will involve a mix of hurdle and steeplechases over varying distances. At some race meetings, the last race may be a National Hunt flat race, known as a ‘bumper’, which is a race involving no obstacles, intended to provide future jumpers with racecourse experience.
A. Taunton always stages at least 6 races, and many of our fixtures are scheduled to stage 7. Occasionally, such as when there is a wealth of entries in a novice hurdle, the race is split into two divisions, increasing a 6-race scheduled meeting to 7 races. In these circumstances, the last race time is subject to alteration.
A. Taunton has no dress code. We recommend you dress for the weather. Sensible footwear is advised. The Management encourages annual members, patrons of the restaurant and racegoers in the hospitality suites to dress smartly.
A. Gates open 2 hours before the first race. Arriving in good time before racing starts allows time to soak up the atmosphere, explore the course, to enjoy a drink in the bars or perhaps a meal in the restaurant. We recommend you arrive at least an hour before racing.
A. These depend on the time of year, and can be found here.
A. You are welcome to take photographs for non-commercial use, but please note that no flash photography is permitted near the horses.
A. Dogs are welcome into the centre of the course but must be on a lead and under control at all times. With the exception of guide dogs, no dogs are permitted on the grandstand side of the course.
A. The going describes the condition of the ground. The Clerk of the Course provides regular updates on the going in the run up to a meeting, which can be found here
A. A racecard is an essential guide to the day’s racing, providing details about the race conditions, the horses, trainers and jockeys. Racecards are sold at various kiosks around the course and currently cost £2.50.
A. Many racegoers like to place a bet on the races. Three options are available to racegoers:
a) The Bookmakers. Located in between the parade ring and the Orchard Stand, the betting ring contains numerous bookmakers, including representatives from the high street firms such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral, in addition to independent, many family-run operations. The betting ring is a colourful and lively area, with punters busily scouting the different bookmakers for the best odds on their selection. To place a bet, approach the bookmaker and call out the value of the stake and the number of the horse (this is given on the racecard and the horse’s saddle cloth). For example, Rooster Booster is horse number 3 and you want £10 on to win – “ten pounds on number three”. Many racegoers like to back horses each-way, which ensures a return if the horse places (usually 1st, 2nd or 3rd, but the number of places depends on the number of runners in the race).
b) The Tote. Located between the bookmakers and the Orchard stand, the Tote offers betting into a pool, with the returns to the winners proportionate to the number of others who have backed the winning horse. The Tote offers several types of bet, including traditional win and place betting, the exacta (predicting the first two horses to finish in the correct order), and the placepot (picking a horse to place in the first 6 races on the card). The profits of the Tote go directly back into the sport.
c) The Racecourse betting shop. Located between the Portman and Orchard Stands, the racecourse betting shop allows smaller stakes and bets on race meetings at other venues.
A. Hot food and drinks are available in all stands. Plated meals are available in the Saddle Room of the Orchard Stand, with no booking required. Additionally, there is an À la carte restaurant with carvery in the Orchard Stand, with reservations available in advance on 01823 325035. Annual members have access to the Members Restaurant in the Paddock Stand, with a set lunch of two courses. Bars are located in all stands.
A. Taunton makes every effort to cater for disabled racegoers. Clearly designated parking areas are provided next to the town-centre end entrance, and in the centre of the course. A raised viewing platform is provided between the paddock and the racecourse. Step free access is available to all floors in the Orchard and Paddock stands.
A. Yes. This is located in the foyer of the Orchard Stand, and is available to racegoers in both enclosures.
A. Six complimentary badges are provided per horse. Extra badges on the day can be purchased with a 25% discount. Owners enjoy access to the Owners and Trainers bar, where complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits are provided. Owners are entitled to use the Members Restaurant and The Gallery (the top floor of the Paddock Stand). All winning owners (if present) are presented with a silver photo frame with a photo of the presentation ceremony to follow, in addition to complimentary champagne while watching a re-run of the race. A DVD of the race is also provided.
A. Taunton offers a range of hospitality packages to suit families, friends and business. Further information can be found here