Horse Racing Betting Guide
Types of Horse Racing
While many consider all horse races to be the same, there are actually many different variations. Below we have listed the four main types you will find featured on online sportsbooks.
- Flat Racing
- Flat racing is the most basic type of horse racing, where horses compete over a flat course without jumps. It’s a test of speed and stamina and can take place over a variety of different distances. A couple of the world’s most famous flat races are the Kentucky Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
- With horses tackling a course with various jumps, these races are extremely exciting and unpredictable. The biggest jump race in the world is the Grand National, a handicapped race that takes place in Aintree, UK every year.
- In harness racing, the horses pull two-wheeled contraptions behind them called sulkies. The driver sits on the sulky and guides the horse around the track. There are two types of race: trotting and pacing, with pacing allowing the horses to move at much faster speeds.
- Endurance races take place over long distances, typically 50 or 100 miles. The top horses competing in 100-mile races will generally take 14-15 hours to finish. A couple of popular US endurance races are the Tevis Cup and the Old Dominion Ride.
Horse Racing Bet Types
There are so many bet types in horse racing, keeping it exciting for anyone involved. From simple bets on the race winner to more complex forecasts, there are markets to suit every type of horse racing bettor.
- This is the simplest way to bet on horses. Just pick which horse you think will win and make your bet. If they then cross the line first, your bet will be a winning one.
- Each Way
- An each way bet generally pays out if the horse finishes in the top three places. This bet type costs twice as much as an outright bet, however the extra outlay is balanced by the increased chances of winning. Horses finishing first will win more than horses finishing in second and third.
- Instead of betting on a horse to win, a place bet backs a horse to finish in the top two. The payout will be smaller than an outright bet, however there is less risk attached.
- A show bet extends the parameters by one place, meaning you’re betting on a horse to finish in the top three. The odds will be low but if you back a favourite, your chances of winning will be much higher than an outright or place bet.
- Across the Board
- This is essentially three bets in one, as it includes outright, place and show bets. If your horse finishes first, it receives a payout for all three bet types. A second place finish leads to payouts for the place and show bets, while a third place finish sees you being paid out for the show bet only.
- In this bet, you predict the horses that will finish first, second and third. A reverse tricast bet is the same, however you don’t have to predict exact positions of the first three horses home.
- A forecast bet predicts the horses which will finish in first and second place, in the correct order. A reverse forecast simply sees you betting on the first two horses, without worrying about the order they finish.
- First Four
- Also known as a superfecta, this bet types requires you to pick the horses finishing in positions 1-4, in the exact order. This is a particular expensive bet, but the winnings can be exceptionally high.
- An accumulator bet sees you combining two or more bets. In order to be a winner, all parts of the bet must be good. It’s possible to create accumulators from all bets mentioned above, you can also include prop bets within them as well. The more bets you pool together, the higher the odds will be.
Horse Racing Betting Odds
There are three different types of odds currently found at horse racing betting sites: American, fractional and decimal. Most betting sites will allow you to switch between different odds types with a click of a button.
American odds are, as the name suggests, typically used in the US, while decimal odds are used in most European countries, as well as Canada. Fractional odds are the favored format for UK betting.
Go to Odds Guide
How to Bet on Horses
Trying to figure out how to pick your horse? Or maybe trying to understand all the factors which could affect a horse’s odds? Here are our five horse racing betting tips to give you the best possible chance of picking a winner.
- A horse’s form indicates how well they’ve been performing recently. So, a horse that has finished in the top three on its last three outings has better form than one that has failed to even make it to the finish line.
- A horse’s jockey and trainer play a major part in the performance of a horse in any given race. A horse with a renowned trainer and experienced jockey will have a better chance of winning.
- Bet on the Favorite
- If you’re really new to betting, your best option is to bet on the favorite. Experts have decided that the horse in question is favorite for a reason, so use their expertize to pick a winner. The odds won’t be great, but you’ll have a high chance of your bet becoming a winning one.
- The Going
- The going refers to the state of the track. For example, the going can be firm, or alternatively it can be heavy after lots of rain. Different horses perform better in different conditions – a horse that won on a bright sunny day might not be so successful galloping through thick mud. Check the going before every bet and ensure your selection is comfortable with the conditions.
- The distance of the race plays a big factor in which horse will win. Horses with more stamina will be better choices for long races, especially if the going is heavy, while horses built for speed perform better in shorter races.
- Understand Handicapping
- It’s important to understand how the handicapping system works and how you can beat it. More weight will be applied to horses who have been performing better. However, success can come from identifying horses who you believe are better than the system has stated.
Horse Racing Events
Different types of horse racing events take place every day, with some attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. These high-profile events are hosted all across the globe and see betting action worth millions. See the top events below which you can bet on and why they’re considered the biggest on the horse racing calendar.
The Grand National
The Grand National is the world’s most famous jump race. It takes place every year at Aintree, near Liverpool, and has a purse of £1,000,000. The event is exceptionally popular in the UK, with many non-gamblers placing their only wager of the year on the race. With a huge field, it can be very difficult to predict the race winner.
The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is run every year at Churchill Downs and is often referred to as the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. It’s a flat race run over one and a quarter mile and is for three-year-old thoroughbreds. The purse is $3,000,000, with the winner scooping nearly two-thirds of that total. It’s the biggest event in US horse racing.
The Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is the biggest race in Australia and is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. It’s a flat race run over 2 miles and is for three-year-old thoroughbreds and up. The purse is A$8,000,000, and it’s the biggest online betting horse racing Australia has to offer.
Horse Racing Betting Terms
- An accumulative bet that involves more than one horse, usually requiring all your horses to win in order to be successful.
- To compensate for their inexperience, novice riders may be allowed a weight concession for their horse.
- Horse racing slang for an artificial track that can be raced on throughout the year, including in adverse weather conditions.
- This is when you place a bet on a race ahead of the race day.
- A word used to describe the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby, and St. Leger races. All the races are open to horses as young as three years old, while only mares can compete in the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks.
- The shirts worn by the trainers, jockeys, and owners. Each team has their own unique colours.
- A young male horse (usually younger than four years old) that hasn’t been castrated.
- This generally refers to the owner(s) and trainer(s) of the horse in question.
- A young female horse of up to four years old.
- 220 yards.
- A male horse that has been castrated in order to be easier to train.
- A term that describes the condition of the race course, ranging from heavy to firm.
- Where horses are allowed to carry different weights from each other, leading to an even race.
- A two-year-old horse.
- A horse that hasn’t won a race.
- National Hunt
- Another name for jumps racing.
- The programme of the day’s races.