Preparing for your day
Generally there is no dress code at our races but it does vary from meeting to meeting and it depends greatly on what function or area you are going to enjoy on the day. A good guide is to look at our gallery of photos for a similar meeting last year.
The Interislander Summer Festival racing in January is very casual summer wear but for functions such as the “Harcourts High Tea” or “Spring Into Racing” – the smart “racewear fashions” come to the fore. A good source for fashion information is found here.
The main thing is to make sure you're comfortable as you do tend to spend a lot of time on your feet and it is an outdoor event, sometimes in cold wintry conditions. Ruakaka racecourse has ample under cover areas or function rooms a short walk from the car parks but with an open grandstand you do require appropriate layers of clothing for those southern winds.
For those warmer days there is a large elevated grassed area. For our summer meeting many families turn it into a picnic area with a rug, chairs, shade, and food in a chilly bin – see the Summer Festival gallery of photos.
Relax and let us do all the work. The course has a number of food and beverage outlets with both dine in or takeaway food options from A’Fare Catering of Whangarei. A number of the meetings through the year have pre-booked functions such as “Christmas in July”, “Harcourts High Tea” or a buffet ham and beverage package. If you are not sure what is on offer – email us or phone 09 4327429.
There is no public transport to the course so you must make your own arrangements or catch the “Race Bus” from Whangarei that the Club organises. On each race meeting event and our Facebook page we will advertise the Whangarei pick-up points, times and cost for each meeting.
When to get there
On average our meetings have eight thoroughbred races with the first one starting at around 12.30pm and with just over half an hour between each race. Racegoers tend to turn up around 20 to 30 minutes before the first race or earlier if they're hoping to get a good spot in the car park next to the racetrack.
We always put our race times on our website and Facebook, firstly as an estimation of times and then confirmation two days out. The TAB website also displays them for two days before the meeting.
Getting your bearings
In the Visitors’ Information section on the home page there is a map of the course and the locations of each of the areas such as functions rooms and any emergency points. There will be car parking attendants to help you park your vehicle.
When you get to the course it's helpful to buy a racebook (usually cost’s $3) so you can find out what races are on, at what time and other happenings on the day. Also, listen out for the race caller who will announce any non-runners.
Take a wander around and work out the best place to watch the racing. You can switch between being where you can get the best view or by the rails so you can really appreciate the speed of the horses as they go past. Also you will be able to see the various locations of the TAB betting facilities, bars, food options and the toilets. The grandstand has two main large corridors with notice boards for more information and the office is located behind the parade ring.