As the name suggests, an annual member is a horse racing enthusiast who purchases an annual members’ badge from a racecourse. Annual members receive free entry to most, or all, of the fixtures at their chosen racecourse, either for a calendar year or for the duration of a season, plus a whole host of other benefits. Many racecourses offer exclusive facilities for annual members, including an annual members’ bar or lounge, often with complimentary tea, coffee, newspapers and racecards on racedays, and dedicated annual members’ car parking.
Obviously, the exact details of annual membership vary from one racecourse to the next but, aside from value for money for the badge holder, some racecourses offer transferable guest badges at no extra charge, or an opportunity to buy members’ guest tickets at a greatly reduced rate. In addition, annual membership typically include a selection of exchange, or reciprocal, days, offering free admission to other racecourses up and down the country on specific, nominated days of the year. Arena Racing Company (ARC), for example, offers free admission to all its 16 racecourses for annual members of any one of them. Other ‘perks’ of annual membership include exclusive discounts, offers and promotions, including on racecourse hospitality, plus stable visits, coach trips and other events.