Everything You Need to Know About Horse Racing Betting
Gambling has a fascinating past. The concept originated in ancient times, with basic dice games originally proving popular with the earliest punters. In the centuries and millennia since those early days, gambling has come a long way, with the invention and development of many professional sports like football, rugby, tennis, and golf giving us countless new ways to bet.
The arrival of the internet and modern technological advancements like smartphones and tablets also helped to change the game for gamblers everywhere, removing the need to actually visit brick and mortar bookmakers and betting establishments. Now, with a smartphone in your pocket or a computer in your home, you can place bets whenever and wherever you like.
And when it comes to online gambling and betting in general, there’s always been one sport that stands out above the rest: horse racing. Horse racing is inexorably linked to gambling. Every race has money riding it, and every event is attended by many punters from all walks of life, staking huge amounts of cash on individual horses in the hopes of winning big.
We only need to look at the popularity and excitement surrounding such big events as the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival to see how popular horse racing betting really is. This guide will introduce you to the basics of horse race betting, tell you how to find the best horse racing betting sites and apps, and offer some top tips to help you win more horse racing bets too.
An Overview of Horse Racing
Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the betting world, involving several horses and jockeys racing to the finish line around a track. There are many tracks all over the world, but especially in the United Kingdom, where horse racing is immensely popular.
There are various types of horse racing, including flat races where the horses simply gallop along a flat and sometimes even straight track, jump races that involve obstacles along the track, and endurance races that involve the horses running long distances of several miles.
Horse races occur all throughout the year, with several races occurring at different tracks almost every single day. But the two biggest events of the horse racing calendar are undoubtedly the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival.
The Grand National is an annual UK event held at the Aintree Racecourse, just outside Liverpool. It’s been going since 1839 and is the biggest jump race in all of Europe, with the total prize fund exceeding £1 million.
The Cheltenham Festival, meanwhile, is a four-day event occurring in March, around the time of St Patrick’s Day, at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. It includes several races of different types, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.
How to Bet on Horse Racing
If you’d like to take an active interest in horse racing betting, the process to get started is surprisingly simple and straightforward, even for those who don’t have any real experience of gambling. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Step 1 – Find A Trusted Online Betting Site – The first step of horse racing betting is to actually find a place where you can bet. There are many different online bookies to choose from nowadays, each with their own features and advantages. Some bookies excel at offering the most competitive odds and best offers, while others are particularly strong in areas like customer service and security. To find out the best sites for horse racing betting, read through our recommendations and only ever trust licensed and regulated bookies.
- Step 2 – Sign Up and Make an Account – The next step of getting started with horse racing betting is to make an account on the site or sites you’ve chosen. There’s no harm in having accounts open with multiple sites, as long as you keep track of your money in each one and only use trusted sites. The sign-up processes for making accounts with online bookies are generally very simple, and many sites will even give you a welcome bonus for making an account.
- Step 3 – Deposit Some Cash – Once your account has been made, with your personal details, email address, and password all entered and confirmed, the next step is to fund your account by making a deposit. Many of the best horse racing betting sites accept a wide range of different payment methods, including common cards like Visa and MasterCard, as well as alternative online payment systems like PayPal and Skrill. You can choose the option that works best for you and enter your details to confirm the payment.
- Step 4 – Place Your Bets – With money in your betting account, you’re ready to start placing bets. Most sites are easy enough to navigate, letting you head over to the horse racing section and find out about upcoming races, which horses are involved, what the odds are, and more. You can also make use of other online horse racing betting resources to check form cards and find out as much as possible about the races before placing any bets in order to have the best chance of success.
Horse Racing Betting Offers
One of the best aspects of the modern sports betting world is the existence of sign up offers and special bonuses for gamblers to enjoy. Since the sports betting industry is a highly competitive one, the top online bookies are all competing with one another by releasing increasingly appealing offers and promos for new users and long-term users alike.
A lot of these special offers are launched during the big events of the horse racing season, like the Grand National, offering new users free horse racing bets if they make an account and deposit some cash. Other times, these offers can be found running all throughout the year, promising bonus money and free bets for users.
During the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival, many top bookies will also provide unique offers for gamblers like refunds if their horse gets beaten by the favourite or enhanced odds on each way bets for the big races. There’s plenty of value to be found during these major horse races, so be sure to check in with your favourite betting sites each time to see what offers are available.
Horse Racing Betting Types
With so many races and exciting events to enjoy, the world of horse racing is the gift that keeps on giving for shrewd gamblers, and there are many different types of bet you can try out when you get into horse race betting too. Here are some of the most common and popular horse racing bet types:
- To Win – The simplest bet type in the horse racing world, a bet to win is simply a bet on any horse to win the race. The horse needs to finish first overall in order for this bet to win, and any other placing will cause the bet to lose. The ‘to win’ market is often the most popular option during the big events like the Grand National when many people who don’t usually do much betting decide to join in on the fun.
- To Place/To Show – Terms like ‘place’ and ‘show’ often appear when we’re talking about horse racing betting, and many people who are new to the sport can struggle with understanding these phrases, but it’s actually very simple. A horse that ‘places’ is one that finishes in second position, while ‘show’ refers to a horse that finishes third. A ‘to place’ bet will pay out if the horse finishes first or second, while a ‘to show’ bet pays out if the horse finishes in the top three.
- Each Way – An each way bet is a popular choice with gamblers who like to err on the side of caution in their horse racing betting. This bet actually causes your initial stake to be split in half and divided into two separate bets: one on the horse to win and the other on it to place. This way, as long as the horse finishes in the top three, you’ll still get some money back but could win even more if it wins the race. It’s a good option for when you want to give yourself a bit of extra protection on your bet.
- Forecast – A forecast bet is similar to a ‘to win’ bet, except you’re picking two horses instead of one. With a forecast bet, you need to pick which horses will finish in first and second place. These bets can pay out in a big way if you’re successful, but they’re hard to predict as it can be very difficult, even with extensive horse racing knowledge, to know how a race will finish.
- Tricast – Like the forecast, the tricast bet asks you to pick more than one horse in the right position at the end of a race. As the name implies a tricast bet involves picking three horses in their correct positions of first, second, and third. This is even harder to pull off than a forecast bet, but the odds are significantly higher in general, so if you place a few different tricast bets and one of them pulls through, you can win a lot of cash.
Horse Racing Multiple Bets
During the big UK horse racing events like the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival, we often hear stories about punters winning huge amounts of cash on their bets, but you can’t really win big just by placing individual bets on horses to win or place. The best way to have a big chance of winning lots of money from a relatively small stake is through horse racing multiple betting.
Multiples betting is popular in many sports, especially horse racing. It’s when you actually place multiple individual bets and combine them together into one large bet with multiplied odds. The odds can be huge for a multiple bet, allowing for a small stake like just £1 to be transformed into hundreds or thousands of pounds, but the odds of these bets working are always very slim.
Top Tips to Win Horse Racing Bets
So how can you start winning more horse racing bets with your favourite online bookies? Here are our top tips for online horse race betting:
- Know the Horses – Just like with any other form of sports betting, the more you know and the more time you take to prepare, the better chances of success your bets will have. If you actually take time to learn about the horses involved in a race, reading through the form cards and learning about their recent history and past performances, you can more easily find great value bets.
- Stay Smart – When we hear about these inspiring stories of punters winning thousands on a single multiple, it can be tempting to try and make the same thing happen for ourselves. More often than not, however, multiple bets and risky wagers don’t pay off. For a smarter and more sensible way of building your betting balance, stick to the safer bets like each way bets and to place bets.
- Choose the Best Sites – Don’t forget that there are many different betting sites and online bookies out there, and some of them might be far better suited to you than others in terms of their mobile betting options, odds, offers, customer service, and payment methods too. Check out our list of most recommended horse racing betting sites to quickly and easily find sites you can trust.
- Make the Most of Every Offer – As stated earlier, many top betting sites run offers and promos during the big horse racing events and at other times of the year too. Don’t let yourself miss out on these offers, as they could provide you with lots of free horse racing bets and free cash to wager however you like.