A hen do watching horse racing can be great fun! Get yourself dolled up, grab yourself a member's ticket, drink some champagne and have a flutter or two. 

Here's a few tips for anyone who is planning a hen party at the races. 

When and where?
First of all either choose a date you want to go or a racecourse you'd like to visit. Then check if there is a meeting on the day you want to go. Good websites to check out the fixture list for racing are http://www.racingfixtures.co.uk/ and http://www.britishhorseracing.com/  (for the latter site, click on "Go racing" and then "Fixtures/results". 

Once you've selected a course and a date check out how much tickets will cost. There are usually several different tiers of pricing - if it's within your budget I would suggest getting a member's ticket. This typically gives you access to more areas and bars and there is a dress code. Buy your tickets in advance as this will save you hassle on the day, group bookings may get a discount and sometimes the more popular meetings can be a sell out. 

Dress code
Now - what to wear? Depends on what tickets you've got and what course and meeting you are going to. For example Ladies' Days at the races tend to be very dressy - with women wearing hats or fascinators. I would say wear a nice dress, heels and something in your hair can be a nice touch too. 

So date - check. Tickets - check. Dress - check. Now ... which horse to bet on? If I could give you the definitive answer to that question then I would be a millionaire!!! Sadly I'm not - but I can give you some basic betting advice. 

Firstly there are two main ways of betting on a racecourse. One is with the bookmakers, the second is with the Tote/BetFred. Bookies are those who stand on the course with their boards and sometimes shout out the odds/prices. They also now typically have electronic boards stating the odds (sadly the days of tic tac men are almost over...). If a horse is say 5 to 1 or 5-1 this means that if the horse wins, for every pound you have put on you get £5 plus your stake back. So if you've put £10 on you get a £50 win plus your £10 stake back. 

If a horse is 9-2 for every two pounds you put on, you get nine back plus your two pound stake (they are rarely referred to as 4.5 to 1). 

A favourite is the horse with the lowest price or the shortest odds - that is the lowest amount of money you can win for each pound you put on but - it is judged to have the best chance of winning. 

Often a favourite is referred to be as being 2 to 1 'on'. The use of the word 'on' is very important. This means that instead of being 2-1, the horse is actually 1-2. That means for every £2 you put on, you win £1. What's the point of that you may ask? Surely you're losing a pound every time. No, because remember you get your stake back so you'd actually get £3 back. 

The Tote is a slightly different way of betting. The tote used to be a government run organisation but has recently been taken over by Betfred. They are the people behind desks wearing red shirts!! The Tote runs slightly differently in that it doesn't offer you fixed odds - instead all the money for each race goes into a pool and then the winnings are divided out accordingly. The odds are often very similar to those offered by bookmakers but there is the possibility that the odds offered by the Tote/Betfred are better (or indeed worse) .. there are screens telling you what the current pool is.  One thing to remember with the Tote is that you don't get your stake back if you win - after the race the screens will tell you what a win pays for each pound you have put on. 

Another thing you can bet on with the Tote is which horses you think are going to come first and second. This is called an exacta. The money you can win doing this can be quite substantial but obviously it is harder to predict first AND second. 

So now I've totally bamboozled you about odds and betting - you could always do what I usually do and choose the horse with the name you like the best or pick out your lucky number(s)!!!