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Racing and hospitality FAQs

So you have never been horseracing but always wanted to give it a try.  Maybe you think it seems far too complicated with rules, etiquette and that magical 'lingo'?

Well at Sandown Park, none of that has really existed and we make all our visitors, whether new to horseracing or a seasoned pro, feel right at home.  We hope that the following information will help you get the most out of your day at the races.

What is flat and jump racing?

Flat racing is run on a natural grass surface (turf) or on a synthetic surface (all-weather) over a level track at a predetermined distance from five furlongs (1006 m) to over two miles (3219m). They are generally called sprints, middle distance or stayers races. Jump racing (also known as National Hunt) derives its name from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.

Where will I see the horses?

You will see them warming up in the pre-parade ring opposite the winners enclosure, in the parade ring where the jockeys mount the horses, making their way to the racecourse via the horse walk and on the racecourse for the race. After the race, the horses will make their way to the winners enclosure again via the Horse walk where the winning presentations will take place.

What time should I arrive?

The gates open approximately two hours before the first race. 

Please check the What's On listing for the up-to-date times.

Where can I park?

There is car parking available at Sandown Park, for free in the centre of the racecourse (via the More Lane entrance) or at the front of the Grandstand (via Portsmouth Road) at a cost of £6 per car. Please note: The More Lane car park is subject to periodic closures whilst the individual races take place as cars need to cross the racecourse to enter the car park.

What is the dress code?

The dress code at Sandown Park is officially smart casual, but many people like to dress up for certain days, for example the Coral-Eclipse Summer Festival. We do not insist that a jacket and tie are worn to all meetings nor are ladies required to wear a hat. Smart jeans are permitted but must not be ripped or torn. Fancy dress and sportswear including non tailored shorts, football and rugby shirts and trainers are not permitted in the Premier Enclosure. Bare tops are also not permitted at the racecourse. Flip flops are also not permitted in the Premier Enclosure.

Please be aware that the Sandown Park dress code will be applied to children over 12 years of age.

Where can I bet?

The places to bet are the Betfred and Coral counters located across the racecourse within the Grandstand or with the bookmakers who are situated in the betting ring at the front of the Grandstand Enclosure.

Can I buy food at Sandown Park?

Sandown Park offers a wide variety of food and drink options from fine dining in our restaurants to fish and chips, sandwiches and hot meals in the family-friendly Food Hall which includes a Costa Coffee facility.

What can I get to eat and drink at the racecourse?

There is a wide variety of food and drink options at the racecourse including Costa Coffee, a family-friendly food hall and The Brasserie which is in the Premier Enclosure. Green’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar offers a sumptuous fish menu in the Champagne bar and there are also a host of bars serving non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Click here for more information on our food and drink facilities.

Can I bring a picnic?

Patrons are permitted to bring picnics into the racecourse which is to be consumed within the designated picnic area. Alcohol can only be brought in with a substantial picnic and it is limited to half a bottle of wine or champagne per person or 4 cans of beer, cider or pre-mixed aperitif. Unfortunately spirits, fortified wines and Pimm's or similar will not be allowed onto the racecourse.

Can I bring a barbeque?

Unfortunately barbecues are not permitted at Sandown Park.

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are not allowed within the grounds of Sandown Park, with the exception of registered assistance dogs.  The Sandown Park Management respectfully requests that dogs are never left in cars.

Are there drop off and pick up points?

Yes, via the main entrance on the Portsmouth Road. Please speak to a member of the car parking team for assistance.

Where is a good meeting point?

We recommend that the large tree between the parade ring and the winner's enclosure is a great meeting point. Alternatively, Grandstand ticket holders could arrange to meet on the Sports Bar patio, overlooking the parade ring and Premier badge holders could meet underneath the clock tower, overlooking the horse walk and parade ring.

Are there any cash machines at Sandown Park?

We recommend you take cash out before you arrive at Sandown Park Racecourse, although there are cash points in the main entrance foyer and in the Premier Enclosure. Esher High Street has a variety of banks and cash point facilities.

What facilities are there for disabled customers?

Sandown Park is accessible for disabled customers with ramp access, disabled parking close to the entrance, disabled viewing platforms*, disabled toilet facilities, low level service areas in the bars and Food Court and first aid facilities.

*Only one carer accompanying one disabled person will be allowed on the viewing platform.

Do I need a racecard?

A racecard is an essential investment for your day, listing all the runners & riders, their form guides and helpful tips. Racecards are sold from kiosks across the racecourse. If you have booked a hospitality package, racecards are usually provided.

Can I smoke at Sandown Park?

At Sandown Park, smoking is not permitted within the following areas:

  • Inside the Grandstand
  • Inside the Eclipse Pavilion
  • Owners and Trainers (including the balcony)
  • Weighing Room (including the balcony)
  • Summer Marquees and other tented areas

Please note that smoking is still allowed in all other outside areas and balconies.

If you have any queries regarding smoking legislation, please visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk

Can I take my camera?

You may use a camera in the normal public enclosures, as long as the photographs are not for commercial use. Please refrain from using flash photography in close proximity to any racehorse. On Music Nights, band management retain all image rights. Any photographer that is felt to be impeding or contravening these rights without accreditation and prior written consent will be requested to leave and escorted from the premises.  Commercial photographers need to apply for press accreditation.

How far is Sandown Park from London?

We are located a handy 25 minutes from London Waterloo.

Can I book a table in a restaurant?

The Tingle Creek Restaurant provides superb viewing from your own private table. It is advisable to book in advance. Tailor made packages are also available. Click here for further information on our restaurant packages.

Can I book a box or suite?

Sandown Park has 10 private boxes and suites that are available to a minimum of 16 people and some can accommodate up to 400 people. Boxes and suites come as part of superb value packages. Click here for further information on our Private Boxes and suites.

Does Sandown Park accommodate Hen and Stag parties?

Yes. You can also celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or just get a group of friends together. Sandown Park offers a unique venue to enjoy a celebration. Each raceday is different and the choices of entertainment are numerous, with top-class racing throughout the year, including Ladies, Gentlemen's and Family Days, live Music Nights from some of the world’s best artists and even Comedy Days.

When do the seasons begin and end?

Whilst both codes of racing in Britain are now all year events, the main flat season’s feature races take place from the last weekend in March to the first weekend in November while jump racing, being predominantly a winter sport features from October to the end of April.

What are Sandown Park's feature flat and jump races and when are they?

Sandown Park hosts the Coral-Eclipse which is a Group 1 race, (the highest category a race can be) which is run at the beginning of July. Over jumps, the feature race is the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase which is run at the beginning of December.

What weight do jockeys have to be?

Flat jockeys have to ride from 7st 12Ibs to just under 10st while jump jockeys ride from 10st to 11st 12Ibs. This includes their racing clothing and saddle.