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How to bet on Horses: Understanding Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the world's most popular sports and has a dedicated following. Avid fans will know horse names, trainers and jockeys down to the fine details. However, understanding horse racing can be tough to get into due to the terminology and the need for mastery of sometimes complex rules and regulations. There are intricacies in betting that command nous before one can commit to making watching the sport and placing a punt a hobby. We’ll now break down all you need to know about horse racing and how to bet on horses.

Understanding Horse Racing

Betting on politicsTo begin understanding horse racing, you need to know where it takes place and how the events transpire. There are a lot of countries with a keen horse racing fan-base as well as multiple betting options you can choose from. Here we break down all the details regarding locations where prominent races occur and what happens on the track. 

Best horse racing beting sites

Without further ado, we present you the top 3 bookies for horse race betting. We chose them by examining odds and payouts as well as the variety of horse races available and promos for horse racing. 

22bet
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7.8/10

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22bet
7.8/10
7.8/10

Players Rating: (11 Rates) 7.3

8.3/10

Players Rating: (16 Rates) 6.7

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888sport
8.6/10
8.6/10

Players Rating: (12 Rates) 8.6

Countries

Horse racing has a strong following across the globe, but primarily in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States, along with sections of the Middle East, Australia and Western Europe. The biggest race of them all, the Grand National, takes place in England at Aintree Racecourse. It holds the highest prestige, although The Derby also commands a vast audience – including the Royal Family.

The United States also has huge races known as the Triple Crown, featuring The Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. France boasts the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on an annual basis, while Australia hosts the Melbourne Cup each November. Dubai hosts the most lucrative race on the scene – the Dubai World Cup. There is no shortage of quality races around the globe in the modern era.

Types of horse races

There are two horse racing race types – jump and flats. These can be broken down further into different disciplines in the field, but for the novice, there is only one thing to concern yourself with. If it has obstacles to clear, it’s jumps racing. If not, then it’s flat racing.

The two disciplines are different and require a particular set of skills. Flat horses are younger and quicker, while jumps horses need strength, agility and durability. There’s not a massive difference in the amount of prize money on offer for the leading races, although the Grand National is more of an event than The Derby. There are two similar event weeks in the pinnacle of the season where the great and the good gather at Cheltenham for jumps and Royal Ascot in the flat.

The States have their races spread across the months of the year, with the Triple Crown being staggered. All of those races are flat as jumps racing is not too popular across the pond. France boasts Longchamp, which is one of the major events in flat racing in October. There’s always something going on in the world of horse racing, and learning how to bet on horses can add an extra dimension the enjoyment of the sport.

Understanding Horse Racing Betting

Understanding horse racing is one thing; gaining the knowledge on how to bet on horse racing is another. There are three horse racing types of bet. A fixed odds bet, tote betting and exchange betting. All require a unique approach and offer different thrills. Let's take a look:

Fixed odds are simple to understand. A bookie gives odds for the horse to win either in a fraction, decimal or whole number depending on your location. You enter your stake, and if your horse wins, you get a payout from the odds offered. If you lose, the bookies keep your stake.

Tote betting is slightly more complicated. In this form of betting, you select several horses in a race meet as you would lottery numbers. Your stake is entered into a cumulative pool with other bettors. If your selection of horses wins, you receive a payout. The more horses that have won, the bigger the yield of the pool you will gain.

Exchange betting is also very different. It pits you as a bettor against an opponent. You will place a stake of a specific value for the outcome of a race, and the exchange will find the corresponding value from another punter. This usually works in the case of favourites where you’re backing the rest of the field to triumph.

Types of racing bets

There are several types of bet available when opting for a punt on the races. There is no best way to bet on horses. Multiple systems that you can use exist, and it will depend on the competitors' racing and the type of race. Here are the three simplest horse racing bet types you will see when you open up your betting app or webpage.

Win – Merely a bet on who will win a single race. If your selection wins, you earn a payout.

Place – This is where you’re backing your horse to place. It’s usually in the top three to earn a payout, but watch the terms laid out by the bookies as they set the marker.

Each-Way – This is a bet that is split into two. Part of your bet goes on a win, while the other goes on the horse to place. It’s an excellent way to cover potential losses.

Where to bet each way

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Advice on How to Bet on Horses

As you can see, understanding horse racing has many aspects you need to be familiar with before you start betting. All these can be pretty confusing, especially to someone who has not followed the sport for many years. This is why we offer some horse racing betting tips that can be useful when you're wondering how to bet on the horses.

Research

It is vital to research before betting on a horse. The last thing you want to do is place a bet on a horse that you’ve never heard of or seen live in an event. It’s quite easy to carry out background research on horses, jockeys and trainers. There are ample websites online that have a vast amount of details on form and preferences of horses and riders. For elite races, Youtube is an excellent resource to watch past meets to get a clear picture of what to expect. Blind betting is not a good idea.

Record

Making a note of all your bets is a sound strategy to see where you have succeeded and where you have failed. It builds a picture of areas of strength over time and should allow you to develop a method that will enable you to build a healthy profit. For example, it’s worth tracking horses throughout their respective campaigns. You do not want to forget a horse or a jockey that has let you down in the past. Analyse and research your bets – and most bookies will allow you to do this on their websites and apps.

Handling emotions

It can be natural to be excited with a victory that could spur you on to go for further success. On the other side of the coin, it’s only natural to be disappointed with a defeat and to look for another bet to regain your losses. Being emotional when betting is not a recipe for success. It will cloud your judgment and could lead to damage to your bank balance. Keeping a cool head is vital when gambling online.

Building and testing strategies

Over time you will be able to develop tried and tested methods of success. You may adopt a strategy where you target winners for certain races or back outsiders to place, which can yield substantial profits. Picking and choosing your moments is key to long-term success for horse racing betting. No one method works. Don’t be afraid to mix up your strategies if you notice a lack of success. Trial and error is the only way you’ll learn if they work to your advantage.

Compare odds

Bookmakers will offer different prices on horses, depending on their experts’ opinions. For the leading races, most will have a herd attitude where they will all plump for a similar price. However, you can find better value by shopping around as you would for any item. Odds comparison websites are excellent in pointing out the differences for bettors, allowing you to gain an extra bit of cash as a result. The most significant discrepancies will be found in the outsiders for races, and that is where you can make a considerable profit by searching for the best price. Always shop around for value and don’t just look at the first price you get.

Stats to look out for

How to analyse horse racing form is always vital. If a horse has a downright imperious record, they're going to be the favourite and probably with good reason. However, value can be found by studying form at individual racecourses and distances. Another critical factor can be the age of a horse. Understanding horse racing means that certain races tend to favour younger competitors, especially for flat racing. Weight is the other key component – additional burdens in a handicap race affect the horse speed.

Start small and budget

You do not want to be making big bets when you’re still learning the ropes. Build up your experience slowly and develop your knowledge of the sport and all its intricacies before putting down significant stakes. Little bets here and there can build up your balance and your confidence in gambling and horse racing. Try to target betting on the significant event of a weekend meeting where there will be top contenders and make sure to handle your budget smartly. 

Make different bets

Once you’ve built up experience, don’t be afraid of making different bets. There will be a variety of markets offered by bookmakers, especially at the top events. You’re not just restricted to betting on a single race, but also ones across a meet or even a day or a week. The same principle of finding the best value remains, but don’t just limit yourself to one market. You should also play different races. In a race event, there will be several races on the schedule for the day, but be careful not to end up betting on every race.

Watch the races

The only way you’ll be able to develop a strong understanding of the sport is to become a spectator. By watching, you’ll get a feel for the races and build up an excellent knowledge of the terminology used by the experts. Most importantly, you’ll be able to see the horses and jockeys in action on the track. It’s difficult to judge the manner of victories and defeats off a form guide alone. By seeing the horses and jockeys in action, you build a picture of how they perform in crucial situations, which might sway your betting decision one way or the other.

Ready for the off

As you can see, understanding horse racing can be tricky. However, you're now informed and ready to indulge yourself in the world of horse racing. It's one of the most enjoyable sports to watch, and if you play your cards right, it can be a fruitful endeavor by following our top horse racing betting tips. Remember the key points and try to have fun in the process.

Full list horse racing betting sites

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