Horse Racing Betting Guide

Horse racing is one of the most traditionally popular sports betting markets around, with all major bookmakers now delivering a range of options in this area. Whether it be action from the UK, US, Australia or elsewhere, the ability to back your favourite runners and riders is hugely exciting, with horse racing being different from any other discipline.

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  • Competitive odds
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This guide will discuss everything that there is to know about betting on horse racing, including everything from available markets to some of the biggest events to look out for. Let’s start by taking a brief look at the history of horse racing.

About Horse Racing

Horse racing has existed since as far back as the 5th century, however it is in modern times where the sport has really taken off. The sports betting industry is now worth an estimated $150 million, with events such as the Grand National and Kentucky Derby attracting interest from punters across the world. Horse racing is now hugely popular in India too, with racecourses including Bangalore and Mahalaxmi having grown massively over recent years.

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How to Bet on Horse Racing?

There are a number of different ways in which punters can bet on their favourite runners and riders, with races being categorised into three different sections, including flat, jump and endurance. The three are discussed below:

Flat Racing

The most common form of horse racing, flat racing is held at courses across the globe. Tracks in this area are normally oval in shape, apart from in the UK, where they tend to be a little different. Runners and riders involved must cover distances between 400m to 4000m during an individual race, with short races being called sprints, whilst longer ones are named routes. In conditional races, horses must carry the same weight in order to ensure for fair competition.

Jump Racing

Jump racing is often believed to be trickier due to the fact that runners must overcome obstacles along the way. Jump racing can divided into two categories, known as steeplechase and hurdling. The differences between the two come in the shape and form of obstacles, with horses having to overcome panels which are at least 3.5 feet in hurdling, while steeplechases have the additions of ditches.

Endurance Racing

This form of racing tests the endurance of runners to the maximum, with tracks in this area ranging between 16km – 160km. A natural terrain is used, while veterinarians are on hand to check on the health of horses throughout. Horses can continue races if they pass fitness tests.

Horse Racing Betting: Understanding the Rules

Standard sports betting rules generally apply when wagering on horse racing too, however it is still important to check out the terms and conditions set by individual bookmakers before placing bets. Having done so, select your preferred type of bet, horse and stake.

Horse Racing Betting Markets

With horse racing betting having been around for so long now, it perhaps comes as little surprise that there are a huge number of markets available to customers. In the modern era, the following markets are among the most popular found on major betting sites:

Straight Bets

This is the simplest form of betting on horse races, with customers betting on a single horse, with several bets of this type being available for each race. As a result, a straight bet can come in the form of the following:


As the name suggests, this form of bet is when punters back a particular horse to win a race. Winnings will be made if this horse finishes ahead of the rest of the field, with bookmakers offering odds for such an outcome. The bigger the field, the more difficult it becomes to pick the winner.

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Rather than betting on the winner of a race, punters can also bet on horses to finish in a placed position, which will range from bookmaker to bookmaker. Also known as an each-way bet, placed finishes are normally inside the top three, however this can increase depending on the betting site. Winnings will be effected by which place they ultimately end up finishing in.

Single-Race Exotic Bets

Horse racing fanatics may well wish to use their knowledge in order to bet on something a little different, which is where exotic markets come into play. The odds from such markets are generally heightened due to their difficulty to predict, with the following exotic bets being available with a large proportion of bookmakers today.

Horse Betting

People  checking the program in order to decide their next bets for Horse Betting


Here, you must predict the first and second horses to finish, as well as their correct order of finishing. Undoubtedly, this is a tough job to do and thus comes with great prizes. However, you don’t need to put too much at stake to win an exacta bet. For all these reasons, it is the most common exacta bet among gamblers. If you like the concept of such bets but don’t wanna risk too much already, you can decide for boxing an exacta bet. This means you are predicting the first two horses to finish but without an exact order. As a result, the rewards will be half than the original amount.  These boxed exacta bets are also called Quinella.


This one takes the bar even higher by asking you to predict the four horses to finish the race, along with their exact order of crossing the finishing line. Boxing for a superfecta is available but not recommended since this might cost you a lot without leaving many rewards.


Correctly predict the first five horses to finish in a race and you will go home winning the Hi-5 exotic bet rewards!

Multi-Race Exotic Bets

These exotic bets deal with more than one race at a time and thus are a little trickier to win. They have two variations called daily double and pick n (n can be any number starting from 3). For winning a daily double bet, you need to correctly predict the absolute winners of two consecutive races. Do the same for three or more races to win the pick n bets.

Horse Racing Major Events

The horse racing calendar is dominated by a range of major and more regional meetings, which attract varying degrees of interest from both fans and betting customers. When it comes to flat racing, meetings including the Dubai World Cup and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are well worth keeping an eye out for, along with the Melbourne Cup and Kentucky Derby. In terms of endurance races, the Tevis Cup and the Grand National are among the standout events.

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Horse Racing Betting Tips

Whether you are new to the world of horse racing betting or consider yourself something of an expert, it is well worth taking on board the following tips, which have been put together in order to help maximise winnings and minimise losses.

  1. It is much safer to box on the exacta and trifecta bets than to go the other way. The halved rewards should not be much of a headache since your chances of landing those rewards will double up.
  2. If straight bets are more up your street, be sure to always place these bets on more than one horse. Making only one straight bet targeting a single horse will not end in enough profitable results.
  3. Get to know the previous records of all participating horses, as well as where they have been successful and where they have struggled. Such information may well give an idea about their potential performance in an upcoming race.

Horse Racing Betting FAQ’s

What is a stallion?

A stallion refers to an uncastrated adult male horse. They are considered the best of the racing horses and is promoted to a “stud” after winning a large number of races.

What if the horse I had bet on gets scratched?

Racing horses can get scratched for a number of reasons. If the one you had bet for also gets scratched, any standard sportsbook would get you a refund of that amount. To make sure of such facilities, choose the sportsbook wisely.