The circuit is the name given to the route a racegoer would generally follow on a raceday.
The Pre-Parade Ring / Saddling Boxes
The Pre-Parade Ring is where the horses are walked around by their handlers prior to saddling. This gives an opportunity to see the horse before he is saddled and comes into the main ring.
After a few minutes of walking around the pre-parade ring, each horse will be led away to the adjacent saddling boxes where the trainer and handler will kit the horse out with saddle and tack in preparation for the race. Once kitted out, his handler will lead him through into the main Parade Ring.
The Parade Ring
The handler will lead the horse around the main Parade Ring gently warming him up for the race and to give racegoers a chance to look him over before he goes out onto the racetrack. During this time, the horses will also be looked over by the racecourse vet to ensure they are ready to race.
After a few minutes the jockeys will emerge from the weighing room to receive their final instructions from their horse's trainer before being legged up on to their mount for the race. Horses are individuals and some need to be held up in a race, whilst others like to front run. In some cases the jockey may not have ridden the horse before and this is the trainer’s opportunity to instruct the jockey in the way the horse needs to be ridden to give it the best possible chance of winning.
The signal for jockeys to mount is announced by the ringing of a bell. Timings are strictly controlled to ensure the race goes off at or as close as possible to the allotted race start time. When the signal has been given and the jockeys are mounted, the horses make their way out on to the track and canter down to the start. Horses will circle at the start waiting to be loaded into the starting stalls by the stalls handlers. Once all the horses are loaded, the Starter will push the button to release the stalls gates and the horses will burst out on to the track and the race has begun.
The Bookmakers / Tote
Whilst the horses are heading off to the starting point for the race, racegoers will check the betting odds on the horses that have caught their eye in the Parade Ring and will place a bet on their fancy either with a bookmaker or the Tote.
Having placed their bets, there is just time to get to their favoured position either in the stands or on the rail to watch the race itself and hopefully to cheer home their fancy as the winner!
The Winners' Enclosure
Once the race is over, it’s time to head for the Winners’ Enclosure to greet the winning horses. The first 4 placed horses return to the Winners’ Enclosure where each jockey removes the saddle and goes into the weighing room to ‘weigh in’ (see Jargon Buster). The horses not placed in the race are led away to the unsaddling area to be washed down and prepared for their journey home.
The handler will walk the winning horse around for a few minutes whilst the winning connections of the horse accumulate in the Winners’ Enclosure for the upcoming trophy presentations. Then the winning horse is led away to be rubbed down and prepared for his journey home.
Racegoers will wait by the Winners’ Enclosure to see the trophy presentations to the winning connections which always involve the winning owner and usually the trainer and jockey as well. This is a prime opportunity to applaud the winner and celebrate the win.