Horse Racing Betting Guideby Steven Hubbard
Horse racing has a rich history and is a very popular sport in the UK. Over six million people attend each year making it the second-biggest spectator sport.
It is also home to the Grand National in which over 600 million people watch each year. With an estimated £250 million wagered in this event alone.
Horse racing is a complex sport with plenty of different betting types available. We will start with a list of useful terms to understand. Followed by the racing types and betting types you can use. Check out our list of the best horse racing betting sites in the UK.
Useful Horse Racing Terms
Starting Price (SP)- The odds when a race is about to begin.
Ante-Post (AP)- When you place a bet on a race ahead of the race day.
Banker- A term used to describe the favourite horse in a race.
Bumper- A flat course race that jump horses need to complete before they go hurdling or chasing.
Colours- The shirts worn by the trainers, owners, and jockeys. Each team has its colours.
Furlong- 220 yards or 660 feet or 201 metres.
Photo Finish- A photo taken at the end of the race to determine the winner if the horses finished close together.
Racecard- The programme of the day’s races. Different races, the times and the horses in that race.
Going- Describes the track condition for the racecourse which plays an important role in the performance of the horses.
Horse Racing Types
In general, horse racing is split into two different racing types, flat and jump racing. The flat is fairly straightforward but jump racing contains different variations.
Flat Racing- Is run on a level racecourse over a predetermined distance ranging from 2 furlongs up to 3 miles. There are no obstacles for the horse to jump over and is more a test of the speed and stamina of the horse.
Jump Racing or National Hunt Racing- Is a racecourse that requires the horses to jump over fences and ditches. It has two distinct branches, hurdles, and steeplechases.
Hurdles- The horses jump over obstacles called hurdles and usually run over distances of 2-3 miles. The hurdles are a minimum of 3 and a half feet high.
Steeplechase- The horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch. Over distances of 2 to 4 miles and the fences are a minimum of 4 and a half feet high.
Bumper race- A race to give horses experience on a racecourse before beginning a career in jump racing. Usually over a distance of 13-20 furlongs.
Simple Horse Racing Markets
Betting to win- A simple bet involving a single selection on one horse to win.
Each-Way Betting- In a simple way you are placing two bets on the same horse. One bet for the horse to win and the other on the horse to place. If the horse wins you win both parts of the bet if it places you only win the placed part.
The number of places in a race depends on how many horses are running:
2-4 = One place
5-7 = Top two place
8-15 = Top three place
16 or more = Top four place
Unless the horse is at 4/1 or better, an each-way bet will pay out less than your original stake.
Forecasts and Tricasts- A forecast is a bet on horses you think will come first and second in a race in that order. A tricast is the top three in order too. Whatever is won on the first horse then rolls over to the second or third meaning the returns can multiply.
Accumulators- A single bet with multiple selections, all need to win but the odds are multiplied making the payouts potentially huge! An accumulator starts as simple as a double (two selections) and you get to bet on the horses to win or place in their races.
Advanced Horse Racing Markets
Trixie- A 3 selection wager made up of 4 different bets. 3 doubles and 1 treble. All you need is two winning selections to generate a return. Also, betting shops commonly use Trixie’s for horses at short prices.
Patent- A 3 selection wager made up of 7 different bets. 3 singles, 3 doubles, and 1 treble. Just one winning choice is enough to earn a positive return. However, each losing selection will significantly impact the returns of the bet.
Yankee- A 4 selection wager made up of 11 bets. 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a fourfold accumulator. Two or more selections winning is enough to generate a return but the odds are very much in the betting sites favour.
Lucky 15- A 4 selection wager made up of 15 bets. 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a fourfold accumulator. One or more winning selections is enough to generate a return. The “Lucky” part is also due to some bookies offering various offers for the bet. Check with the bookie to see what bonuses they have.
What to Avoid When Betting on Horse Racing
Betting on favourites only- If you follow the market and blindly back favourites you may be in for a shock. Around 35% of horse races are won by the favourite. Meaning, if you back most of the favourites at that percentage you are bound to rack up heavy losses.
Chasing losses- At the best horse racing betting sites you can find over 100 different races a day to bet on. With gaps between races being fairly short you can place a lot of different bets. But, this is a sure way to lose a lot of money. Stick to races in which you have done your research. Or even better, only place bet’s on big events and remember it’s for fun, not to make money. When the fun stops, stop!
Using just one betting site- The best betting sites are always competing to draw you in as a customer. You will find plenty of promotions, offers, higher odds or even unique features that will constantly differ from bookie to bookie. To make the most of your money you should take advantage of these offers and have several different accounts to always find the best odds or offers. Especially when a big racing event like the Grand National is close.
Betting emotionally- Avoid falling into the trap of betting on horses/jockeys you like or dislike. Use the price as the main reason and then the research to supplement your choice.
Blindly following tipsters- As tempting as it might be, you should always use the tips as a guide or at least inspiration to do your research. You can then agree and choose to follow the tip, or decide not to. Some “tipsters” are out to profit from your losses and will post purposely bad tips to get a percentage of your losses.