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Your First Day at the Races with Matt Chapman

16 Mar 2022

Here at House Of Cavani, we have teamed up with popular TV Cheltenham Race-Day presenter Matt Chapman to bring you a RACEDAYREADY Guide, ensuring your first Race Day experience is done the right way.

1. What should I wear to the horse racing?

Right, everyone, this is not rocket science but a gentle nudge in the right direction never did anyone any harm! First, please make sure you keep an eye on the forecast. There’re times when I’ve been in the snow at the races but have also been in a suit suitable for Summer in other years. Tweed is big at horse racing, as you may already know- luckily House of Cavani has plenty of fine tweed suits for you to choose from!

Color-wise, I would concentrate on browns and blues. Don’t fear being loud and brash too. This is an event where you can make a statement. Girls very often go for a pair of good boots, which look great, although that might just be my fantasies getting the better of me! Warmth is everything. Make sure you layer up! Don’t forget a warm long coat, scarf, and gloves. Flat caps are also very popular. Dress up and enjoy, but dress for weather conditions- as fine leather shoes in rain is never a good idea!

2. What does a quality horse look like?

When you’re down at the Parade Ring and you’re looking for a decent horse to put a pound on, check its coat firstly- like you would a human!

From me to you, a nice shiny coat is always a good sign. You also want to watch the horse’s mood- ideally, you’re looking for a happy horse. All the horses at the races should look a million dollars. Be mindful of the ones that sweat under their tummy or between their back legs. The horse that looks calm and happy will run best. Often a classy animal will catch the eye, much like a supermodel.

Matt Chapman Cheltenham Tips


3. How do I safely place a bet at the races?

Betting is often frowned upon, but of course, like anything, it can be done within one’s means. If placed sensibility also, it can be fun. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with a wager. My advice is: go with an amount you don’t mind losing. For example, if you can afford a night out for two at the cinema it can cost around £50. So, let’s say you decide you don’t mind losing £50. After this, anything you win is a bonus and you hopefully get the ‘buzz’ of finding a winner. When you have reached your agreed limit, you must stop. Betting can be fun and skilled, but problems start when you lose control. There are a lot of brilliant websites like which have some great predicted wins.

4. What should I bring with me to the horse races?

Now, my advice is as little as possible. Take your wallet, maybe binoculars. If the forecast predicts rain possibly an umbrella but prepare to have lost it by the end of the day lol! All food and drink can be bought on the grounds, and so can information on the runners and riders taking part.

5. What does a typical day at the Horse Racecourse look like?

Before you leave for the races, you don’t want any hassle. Preparation is key! Leave plenty of time to get to where you’re going. If it’s a major meeting like Cheltenham or the Grand National, I would advise getting to the course at least two hours before the first race. Even then you will queue to get in if having to park up. Once you’re on the course maps will be available for you to use. If you’re looking to place a bet lookout for the paddock, this is the place the horses will walk around before the trainer pops their jockey on board.

If you have a walk around, you will establish where the best bars and best eateries are for yourself, and where it’s best to watch the races from. A tip from me to you: All live sport is best watched in the thick of the crowd, but you want a good view! It’s like going to the theatre and having a tall person in the row in front of you. – Pick your spot wisely. I would suggest you try and see the horses beforehand as they truly are beautiful. Watch the race, enjoy the cheers as they come back to the winner’s circle, chill for a while and do it all again. There’s a lot to do on a race day. You can of course shop at the big fixtures, there are plenty of unique stands. It really is a proper day out.

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