Racing Info

Want to check out the horses running before you go to the meeting?


If you want to read about the horses running at our meeting and see what experienced race goers and punters think about the horses chances.


The two websites are the racing website and the betting website – look for our meeting titled as Ruakaka or Whangarei Racing Club.


The best way to check out the information is to download the free app – NZ Racing – from the Apple store or Google Play. It is like having a racebook on your phone for every race meeting, with the prices and the results as they happen. 


Need to know more about the races at Ruakaka?

A day at the races is great fun and the perfect opportunity to get together and do something a bit different with family, friends or colleagues. Plus, other than at our major meetings, entry is free! Once you've chosen the meeting that suits you, you may be thinking ahead about what happens once you get to the races and what to do when you get there so we've highlighted some handy hints so you can get the most out of your day.


Preparing for your day

Generally there is no dress code at our races and the style does vary from meeting to meeting depending on the season, if you are attending a function or the 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” 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 facing west you do require appropriate layers of clothing for those south-west winds.

For those warmer summer 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 our caterer Tee Cafe. A number of the meetings through the year have pre-booked functions such as “Mid-Winter Christmas” or a special occasion birthday or family occasion or social group. 

Beverage and lunch packages can be tailored to suit your budget and function plan – 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.






Race day routine

Around ten minutes before each race the horses’ parade in a safe enclosed arena to the south of the grandstand as the owners, trainers and riders discuss their race tactics and consider their opposition. You can stand close to the parade to watch the horses as they anxiously walk, waiting for the riders to mount and take them out so they can display their speed.

Pick out your horse to follow or bet on. Don’t forget to remember the colours of the “silks” your rider is wearing, including the cap, as that will help you follow the horse during the race, either on a nearby television or live from the elevated grandstand seating.

If you prefer simply stay in the grandstand area as the horses will parade past the front of the stands before heading to the barriers.

Once the race is completed the first six horses across the line will return back to the winner’s stalls, past the grandstand, in their order of finishing. Leading those horses will be the clerk of the course on a white horse.

The owners and trainers of those six horses will be there to greet and celebrate with the winning riders. At this point the riders indicate if they had a clean run without interference or not; and the stewards check that the riders and their saddles weigh correctly. Nearly always there is no issue but if there is interference during the race and enquiry is to held a siren will sound and the announcer will communicate more information.

Time for the winning bets to be collected!

Quite quickly the next race will come around as you chat with friends, have refreshments, consider the horses in the next race, wander the course to see who is here and then it will be time for the next parade of horses.




Check out the meaning of the language for racing and betting information


Beginners guide to picking a winner

Types of racing