The Parade Ring – or the paddock – is the place where horses due to race prepare to meet their jockeys and parade in front of racegoers. You can also go to see them in the pre-parade ring where they warm up and prepare to be saddled.
When are horses led into the pre-parade ring?
Racehorses will usually be walked into the pre-parade ring around half an hour before each race is due to begin, so they can be led around by their grooms to get their muscles moving and their blood flowing. They will be saddled whilst they are there. Afterwards, they’ll be led to the Parade Ring so racegoers can see them all in one place. .
Can you go to the Parade Ring at the races?
Racegoers and racing experts can go to the Parade Ring before a race in order to assess the horses and predict their performance, often to help them choose the right bet to place. However, only owners, trainers, officials and jockeys are allowed to enter the Parade Ring itself.
At the Parade Ring, experienced racegoers will keep an eye out for horses that look alert and ready to race, as these are the ones who are likely to perform particularly well. Experts also tend to look for sleek and shiny coats, among other qualities that suggest a horse is in good health and at the top of his or her game, whilst others have their own lucky charms and superstitions, such as big ears or hooves.
Picking a winner isn’t an exact science, of course, but visiting the Parade Ring is a good opportunity for racegoers to make their own calls on which horses look good for their money if they want to have a flutter.
Do jockeys go to the Parade Ring?
Jockeys usually enter the Parade Ring around 10 to 15 minutes before the race is due to begin, typically waiting to do so until instructed by the Clerk of the Course. Once inside the ring, they often meet the horse’s owner and converse with the horse’s trainer about last-minute tactics – the trainer might have walked the course themselves earlier in the day to assess their chances based on the form of their horse(s) and their own assessments of the going.
After the bell has rung, jockeys mount their horse and prepare to head out onto the racecourse.