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Race Night Profits Explained

How much money will a Race Night make?

Race Night at Dalton

Race Night at Dalton

I am often asked by prospective customers about the earnings potential of race nights. It is impossible for me to answer this question because there are many factors to be taken into account. All I can say with confidence is that holding a Race Nights is a great way to raise funds providing it is planned and set up properly.

The secret of success is to ensure that your costs are covered and you are in profit before the event takes place. You do this by selling horses and jockeys in advance. Finding race sponsors in advance and selling side bets such as the Tri-Cast card, in advance.  If you do all of this then any money you make on the night is a bonus.

Race Night Income

Here are the ways you can get money in:

  • sale of horses
  • sale of jockeys
  • race sponsorship
  • side bets
  • raffle
  • admission tickets
  • selling refreshments

Race Night Costs

Race Nights are fun.

Race Nights are fun!

Your costs are likely to be:

  • hall hire
  • printing
  • food
  • prizes for owners of winning horses
  • hiring the race night operator
  • paying out on the tote after each race

Balancing the books

As your aim is to make money you need to ensure that income exceeds expenditure.  Look carefully at ways of reducing your costs. Often a member of the committee knows someone who can print off the race cards for you free of charge, or they can be done on a home PC. Prizes can be donated and you might be able to get a deal on the food from a local supplier.

To see an example of how it might work go to Race Night Income on our web site. This gives you an idea of what can be achieved.

Unknown Factors

Some of the figures are known and won’t change. You know what your costs will be. You know how much money you will raise if you get all of your races sponsored and sell all of the horses etc. What you don’t know is how many people will turn up on the night and how much money they will spend.  That is why working hard before the event takes place is so important.

You must get as much money in as you can before the Race Night tales place and urge as many people to come as you can.  Selling tickets helps but keep pushing to get them to come.

Have a Crowd Puller

It you can think of a real crowd puller to attract more people even better. Do you have a friendly local celeb who might agree to make an appearance? Can you offer a special free prize draw with a star prize which can only be won on the night? These are all things worth considering.


A good Race Night well planned, properly organized and well supported should easily bring in between £500 and £1000.

Book a Race Night

See our Race Night page or for a FREE quotation use this enquiry form.

Related Articles

How to Pack them in on a Race Night

Race Night Tips: Running The Tote



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Not Quite The Grand National

I’m not a gambling man but I do like to watch the National and what a race it turned out to be this year. It was  very exciting  and there was no clear favourite so everyone was in with a chance of a winner.

Soon after watching the big race on TV Hazel and I set off for Hambleton, near Selby, North Yorkshire, to do a charity race night. The event was organised by Hambleton Parent’s and Toddlers to raise funds for their group.

The committee had booked a room at the Owl hotel, Main street, Hambleton.  A lovely venue and I must say friendly and efficient service too. I was impressed.

We had a brilliant night. Ok it was ” not quite the Grand National ” but there was a fantastic atmosphere and everyone got involved and enjoyed themselves. After everything was paid for the proceeds were in excess of £450. Not bad considering that we’d all had a good night out and supper too.

For information about holding a race night or for a quotation for a race night go to our race night page.

Hambleton Parent and Toddlers organisers of the race night

race night organisers receive flowers

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How To Pack Them In On A Charity Race Night!

Tadcaster and Wetherby Young Farmers Race Night

Tadcaster and Wetherby Young Farmers Race Night (Photo credit: ronwooduk)

Race Night Attendance

The problem with organizng any kind of event is that you never know how many people are going to turn up. Race Nights are no exception.

If you are trying to raise money by holding a Race Night then you need to get as many people as you can to come along and spend some money. It’s no good leaving it to chance. Putting a few posters out and selling a few tickets is ok. Laying on food helps too. What you really need is an angle.

One of the busiest Race Nights I ever did was for the local football club in Brough, Cumbria. The committee had sweet talked somebody into donating quite a few crates of wine. They were able to offer FREE wine for the first hour. The place was packed. They were literally like sardines in a can.

Another great way to ensure lots of folk turn up is to try and combine the Race Night with some other important event. A presentation of prizes, awards ceremony, AGM etc. If possible have at least four races at the beginning of the evening as some people may not stay until the end.

You could also try to find a local celebrity to turn up to endorse the event, perhaps give an introduction and sign autographs etc. The more popular and well known the better.

Offering the chance to win an amazing prize can also be effective. It needs to be something really special and it needs to well advertised. Don’t say when the draw will take place only that it will be at some point during the evening and you must be there to have a chance to win.

These are just a few ideas. Put your imaginations to work and see if you can come up with something really exciting. If you want to ” pack em in ” then offering an attractive  incentive is a great idea.

Let me know if you have come up with any great ideas for getting lots of people to come and support your Race Nights. Comments and questions are welcome.

For a FREE Race Night Quotation please use this Enquiry Form.

Related Articles

Race Night Profits Explained

Race Night Tips: Running The Tote

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Grand National Winner Supports Race Night Fund Raiser

Horse racing in Sligo, Ireland
Image via Wikipedia

Horse Racing Legend Gerry Scott attended a Charity Race Night at Fearby near Masham, North Yorkshire, to help residents raise money for the Village Hall, an important centre for the local community.

Gerry Scott is well known in horse racing circles as the only man to have ridden the winner of the Grand National and also to have started the race. He rode Merryman IInd to victory in 1960, which was the first time the race had been televised. Thirty years later, he was the official Starter at Aintree for the 1996 Grand National.

It was a great pleasure to meet Gerry and to hear about his experiences in horse racing. I was interested to learn that he started the Princess Royal at “Redcar Races” where she won her first flat race. This was of particular interest to me as I was born in Redcar. He also carried the banner for the Jockey Club round Horse Guards Parade during the cellarbrations held for the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. The picture below shows Gerry presenting the prize for the “Best Dressed Lady” which was a bouqet of flowers and a bottle of champagne.

The Race Night was great fun and brought in much needed cash which will be used to maintain the village hall. Everyone had a great time and the organisers are confident even more folk will attend next time.

Gerry Scott who rode the winner of the Grand National and started the race too.

Gerry Scott presented the prize for the best dressed lady.

If you are interested in booking a race night to raise funds for your organisation then please follow this link through to the Race Night secion of our web site.

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Race Night Winning Formula

A Race Night to raise funds for the charity Breathing Space found the winning formula recently when in excess of  £600 was generated to help the organisation. Although not as many people attended as was hoped, those who did come had a very enjoyable evening. The venue was Northallerton Rugby Club who gave the room for free. There was an excellent pie and pea supper and a raffle with over thirty prizes donated by individuals and local businesses.

The following businesses all sponsored races : Potz of Fun, CB Furnishings, Maxwells, Calverts Carpets, Upperkutz, Funky Farm and Spa World.

There was a lovely atmosphere thoughout, lots of humour and plenty of cheering during the races.

Organiser of the Race Night, Marion Busfield said that she was delighted with the event and that the money raised will be put to very good use.

Race Night For Breathing Space

Breathing Space Race Night

Race Night compere

Ron ran the Race Night for Breathing Space

Race Night Tips | Running The Tote

At your charity Race Night, the Tote is where people place bets on the horses. You will require two volunteers to run the Tote for an average attendance. If you are expecting lots of people to come then be prepared to increase the staff on the Tote otherwise it will take a long time to get people through. You need to try and keep things moving otherwise people will loose interest.

There are eight horses in every race and there is a roll of tickets for each horse. They are numbered from one to eight ie Race One, No1, Race One, No2, Race One, No3 etc

When the Tote opens the punters will come up to place their bets. Usually it’s a pound a bet and they can have several bets on the same horse or back different horses. For each bet placed they receive a ticket for the horse they have backed in return for payment of one pound.

The Tote staff need to keep a record of how many tickets have been sold for each horse. The easiest way to do this is to make a simple Tally. Write  the numbers one to eight down the left hand side of a sheet of A4 paper and put a tick next to each number every time you sell a ticket. Do this for every race.

When the Tote closes you can quickly add up the number of bets placed / tickets sold.

Take half the money received from ticket sales and put it away in a safe place. This is for your charity. The balance will be shared out amongst the people who have backed the winning horse. There are no odds and you don’t get your original stake back either.

Whilst the race is running quickly go down the list and work out how much you are going to pay out on each horse so that you can immediately announce what the payout is when the horses cross the finishing line. You only pay out on the winner.

Make sure that you have plenty of pound coins in the float to pay out with.

When working out what the payout is, round up or down to the nearest pound. Don’t get involved in fractions. It evens itself out over the night.

The Tote Lady with Ron

Race Night "Tote Lady" with Ron

Running the Tote is not difficult. The main thing is to remain calm and be methodical. You will soon work out a routine and after the first race it will be easy.

Feel free to ask questions here if you wish.

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Race Night Race Card Example

Race Night Organisation

Race Card For A Race Night

The Race Night Organiser needs to produce a Race Card for the event.

Race Cards can either be handed to people as they arrive at the venue or more usually put out on the tables for people to peruse once they are settled in.

The Race Card gives the following information :

  • Names of the horses
  • The number of the horse
  • The name of the owner

It may also include the name of the jockey

If the horses have been sold in advance it is customary to invite the owner to come up with a funny ” name ” which is then published on the Race Card.

For corporate events members of staff may be invited to name the horses or they could be named after things to do with the business.

Also on the Race Card will be :

  • The Race Number
  • The Title of that Race ie ” The Ron Wood Handicap Hurdles “
  • The prize for the person who owns the winning horse

At a charity event the name is usually chosen by the Sponsor and at corporate events it is often given a name related to a part of the business, a well known executive or perhaps an important customer.

Advertising for the sponsor should  also be included if possible.

Here is an example of a Race Card produced by Haxby United FC for their Race Night. They produced an A5 booklet with one race per page.

Example of a Race Card

Race Card ( Races 4 and 5 )

Here is the outside front and back cover. The inside can contain more advertising or information about your organisation, future events etc. If it contains useful information people will take it home with them and so it will have residual value to.

Race Card Example,Cover, A5, Front And Back

Race Card, front and back cover, A5

For more information about planning a Race Night, go to the main Jolly Good Productions site and type Race Night in the search box. This will bring up relevant pages including a page about how to run a race night.

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Green Howards Join Up To Help Toby

Anyone who has ever served in the Army will know that when you join a Regiment you become part of the Regimental Family and you remain in it for the rest of your life. Every military unit has a Regimental Association and whilst some leave the service and take no part there are always plenty of active members who organise reunions and join together to celebrate Regimental Days and carry on Regimental Traditions even though they have retired from active service. Every member whether serving or retired is proud of their Regiment and their will always be a strong bond with their comrades past or present. Life long friendships are formed and the Regiment is always their to help in times of need.

The Green Howards were a very famous Infantry Regiment whose Regimental Headquarters used to be in Richmond, North Yorkshire. They were amalgamated a few years ago with The Prince Of Wales Own and The Duke Of Wellingtons to form The Yorkshire Regiment.

The Green Howards recruited mainly from the North East of England and in particular the Middlesbrough and North Yorkshire area.

When members of The Green Howards Regimental Association heard the story of five year old Toby, the grandson of a popular ex Green Howard they immediately rallied to the cause. Toby needs to go to America to have a very expensive operation to help him to walk. Some ex Green Howards are now helping to raise the funds Toby needs.

There is to be a Race Night on Thursday 13th May at the Travaux Club in Catterick Garrison, starting at 7.30pm. It is hoped that there will be a good turnout and that The Green Howards will be able to make a substantial donation to help Toby.

More information about Toby can be found on the web site

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Race Night Success

It’s always nice to see hard work paying off. We were booked to do a Race Night in Hull to raise funds for Hull City Boys Club. The event took place at the Savoy Pub on Savoy Road and was well attended. Organisers Ian and Rachel Russell had put in a lot of effort preparing for the night and it certainly proved worthwhile. Ian told me that it costs in the region of £75,000 a year to keep the club going and that everyone involved in running the club does so on  voluntary basis. The club forms an important part of the local community being a meeting place for young people and organising many and varied social and sports activities for youngsters to participate in.

There was a great atmosphere and a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the club supporters. The Race Night raised well  in excess of £500.

Race Night Organiser Ian Russell

Ron with Ian Russell

For more information about Race Nights, go to the Race Night page on our web site or call Ron on 01748 821621

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Race Night Tips For A Racing Certainty

Race Nights are a great way to raise money for your charity or organisation. Over the years I have hosted hundreds of Race Nights at venues throughout the North of England. Race Nights do work. Of course some are more successful than others. A Race Night can produce profits from a few hundred pounds to substantially more than a thousand pounds. Here are some tips to help you ensure your Race Night is a racing certainty!

  • Allow as much time as possible for planning.
  • Don’t try and do everything yourself, get a good team around you.
  • List all the ways you are going to make money ie sale of horses, sponsorship, raffle, admission, tote etc
  • Set targets for each income source in your list and be realistic
  • Discuss the event with the person you have booked to run the Race Night and agree a programme with them
  • Have a planning meeting with your team and set out you fund raising objectives
  • Delegate responsibility, give each member of your team a specific task
  • Set deadlines for completion of tasks at least a week before the event takes place. You will then be able to take action if the task is not completed
  • Keep in touch with people to see how they are getting on, don’t ask someone to do something and then forget all about it until the deadline. A friendly call to say ” just wondered if you’ve sold the horses yet ” will give you an idea of how things are going and who is making progress and who is not.
  • Plan to have covered your costs and be in profit before the Race Night takes place. With sponsorship money, sale of horses, sale of jockeys, sale of side bets like the Tri Cast this should easily be possible
  • Think of ways to advertise the Race Night. Have some eye catching posters made up and displayed in the area
  • Inform the local press before  the event. Let them know why you are fund raising, give them a story to tell. State clearly where and when the Race Night takes place and if its open to the public, cost of admission, pay on door or ticket only etc.  Include your contact details
  • Inform the press after the event too. Let them know how much you raised and how people can make donations if they would like to
  • Pick a date which does not coincide with any major events taking place locally or on TV
  • Choose a good venue, preferably somewhere which is easy to find, has good parking, is comfortable and has a licenced bar
  • Think of incentives to encourage people to attend. Free glass of wine, Free buffet, Free Prize Draw at the end of the evening. The better the incentive the more likely people are to be attracted. Don’t spend money on this however. Always try and have prizes donated by willing sponsors.

The more people who come to the event, the more money you will make.

In summary, to make lots of money you need to

  1. Plan carefully
  2. Be in profit before the event
  3. Get as many people as possible to turn up on the night

I hope you find this advice useful.

To book a Race Night go to our Race Night page.

If you have run a Race Night in the past and have any ideas which could help other people, please include them in the comments section below.

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