How to engage in harness racing betting successfully

Harness racing has been around for thousands of years. It exists till today, and is very different from regular horse racing. Once you know what a harness race is and the advantages and drawbacks, you can decide if you want to give it a try. With harness racing betting markets available, you also need to know how to wager effectively on it. Additionally, you have to know which bookies offer odds for harness racing. Once you’ve got a few tips on it, then you can see whether or not there is any value in placing bets.

Top harness racing betting sportsbooks

Without further ado, we are presenting you the top bookmakers in your country with harness racing betting options. We chose them by evaluating odds, payouts and variety of trotting races available.  

What is harness racing

Harness horse racing is where horses pull a two-wheeled cart and a driver at a specific gait over a certain distance. This can be as short as a mile or as long as almost two. The speed at which a harness racing horse runs is either trotting or pacing. As a sport, it more closely resembles the chariot racing of Classical times with races taking place on oval-shaped tracks. It is particularly popular in Scandinavia, Northern and Eastern Europe, parts of France, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The difference between harness horse racing and traditional races

Harness racing differs from traditional races in that the drivers don’t always ride the animals like jockeys. While there are harness disciplines involving saddled horses instead of the sulky or spider, the majority of events worldwide see them driving the horses from behind. The speed of harness races is also slower than traditional horse racing. A trot involves an equine gait where horses’ legs move forward in diagonal pairs.

Pacing meanwhile is where there is a lateral movement to a horse’s legs, but this is still slower than a canter or gallop. Straps are attached to the legs of harness horses in pace races to ensure their legs move in pairs. While drivers still carry a whip, there are even stricter rules about its use. Norwegian harness races have seen a total ban on it. These events take place on dirt only, whereas other horse racing may be on grassy turf.

What type of horses run in harness races

This depends on the geographic area in question. As harness races do not require high speeds, there is no need for thoroughbreds as in traditional horse racing. Some countries even restrict and deny those types from taking part. Horses with shorter legs and longer bodies make for a better harness racing horse. Here are the five most common types of horses by country or region:

⏩ North America – Harness races are restricted to Standardbred horses in the US and Canada.

⏩ France – French Trotters are the most common breed of harness horses in this country.

⏩ Scandinavia – Coldblood Trotters are the most popular breed of harness horses in Norway (known there as Norsk Kaldblodstraver) and Sweden (called Svensk Kallblodstravar in that country).

⏩ Finland – Finnhorses, also called Suomenhevonen in Finnish, are the typical harness breed.

⏩ Russia – Russian Trotters, a crossbreed between imported Standardbreds and native Orlov Trotters, is now most prevalent in the sport in this region.

Why should I get involved with harness racing betting

Like any niche sport, if you know your stuff when it comes to harness racing, there is the chance to make a substantial profit. The horses do not run as fast as in traditional horse racing events. Therefore they are less likely to pick up injuries. There are no obstacles to be jumped on circuits, which reduces the risk of harness racing betting. The horses also tend to find it easier to replicate their form. Field sizes are small, meaning there is less research to do when looking for bets.

The drawbacks of harness racing betting

On the downside, harness racing betting odds are difficult to find online. Not many bookies offer markets on this code of the sport. Those few that do, they may not be available ante post like with traditional horse racing. There is even less pool betting on harness racing through operators like the Tote, so the returned dividends will be small. Most harness races are held over the non-sprint distances of Flat thoroughbred racing. If your driver doesn't have a good position, they aren’t allowed to go any faster.

Where to bet harness races

What harness racing tips should I consider

Among the harness racing tips, you should note the importance of betting on a horse and driver that take an advantageous post position. This is vital, especially in shorter races over a mile as the driver who can get on the inside track is far more likely to win a harness racing event. As circuits are oval, being on the outside means you are forfeiting ground and thus running over further than the race distance.

You need a harness racing driver with tactical awareness and sound judgment to do the steering, then. Concentrating on the best quality harness races is also advised so that your research is easier to conduct before betting. The unknown elements present in lower grade contests are significantly reduced. It is worth knowing more about these particular harness racing tips in greater detail.

How to bet on harness racing classes

There is a classification system with every harness racing horse judged on its career performance. Prize money is the metric used with highly valuable races in the harness racing calendar. The best harness horses contest Gold events, then Silver, Bronze, Class I, II, and III being the lowest. Only horses with little experience of racing in a harness will be in Class III action. From a betting perspective, you should avoid this lower grade of racing. Concentrating instead on the high caliber harness races will make it easier for you to research form and find bets.

How the harness racing driver can affect betting

The drivers’ decisions can make or break a harness race. Learn all you can about them, as well as the horses, before placing any wagers. You want to be betting on a harness racing driver that is doing their job well. Moreover, they should have steered the horse before and could get a good position at the post. Drivers must choose when to go to the front, or in longer distance events avoid getting boxed in by others at all costs.

How does harness racing betting form influence the market

It’s fair to share that harness races aren’t anything like exerting on the horses as their counterparts competing under Rules. That is why harness racing form is more easily maintained than in thoroughbred racehorses. There can also be greater longevity in harness horses. That is why form influences the harness racing betting. It stays relevant in this sphere for longer. Not all courses are the same. If a specific harness horse keeps winning at a particular track is an excellent reason to bet on them. 

How does technology affect harness racing betting

Artificial intelligence (AI) and modeling can help identify horses to bet on in this sport. Provided there is enough data to go on, technology could be your friend. Predicted outcomes won’t guarantee that you find the way, only the statistically most likely outcome. Sport is rarely so neat, and the beauty of it is that anything can happen. Nonetheless, you can certainly make better decisions by using tech before placing a bet.

Is harness racing betting worth your while: by Book Spy

There is value on harness racing betting, but you have to be prepared to put the effort in to find it. That means a detailed study of the form, driver tactics, and knowing the differences in the rules between this sport and traditional horse racing. The horses are running at different speeds and pulling a spider or sulky, even though some horseback harness events with the animals being ridden from the saddle exist.

There is no getting away from the fact that harness races are niche. They just aren’t as popular as Flat horse racing. Looking out for regular course winners and sticking to quality races rather than little known Class III events should serve you well. Just don’t expect the same extensive choice of odds in advance as regular horse racing. If you know how to bet harness racing or are willing to learn, then it could be worth exploring.                

Full list of harness racing betting sites


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