How to Bet on Horse Racing

The sport of kings, horse racing has been synonymous with gambling for generations and continues to attract legions of punters today. Whether having a flutter at the racecourse, visiting a high street bookmaker or playing online, horse racing not only provides a heart-pounding spectacle but also a greater array of betting options than just about any other sport.

Where to Bet on Horse Racing

The following online sportsbooks focus on horse racing and have many exciting betting opportunities:

William Hill

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screen Betfred
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Common Bets

Horse racing cards are jam-packed virtually every day of the year as multiple meets are held at tracks across the UK. There is always a steady stream of races at each venue and customers can decide to bet in a number of ways as they consider who will be first past the post.

Punters can decide to bet ante post and back their selection at least a day in advance, which can give better odds, but does mean that wagers would be lost rather than declared void if the horse does not run. As odds fluctuate dramatically before a race, another popular option is to take the starting price. This is the price that is officially announced by reporters prior to a race and it is possible to pre-select such an option if you reckon the odds on your horse will be more favourable at the start of the race than at the time when you place your bet.

Each way betting allows you to make two selections on the same race, one on the horse to win and another to place (which will be specified as the top two, three, and so on), and ensures you get a decent return if your horse performs well. For punters who don’t wish to double their stake but would still feel frustrated by a near-miss, it is possible to insure a bet so that if their chosen horse finishes second their stake will be given back to them. Faller Insurance also lets customers receive their stake back if the backed horse falls or is brought down.

Forecasts and tricasts are widely available for those who reckon they can predict the top two or three finishers, while it is also possible to place match bets on which of two horses will finish first or bet on the favourite versus the field. Totepool betting is a refreshing alternative to fixed-odds betting as punters don’t go up against a bookmaker and simply put money into a prize pot, with the winnings distributed evenly among everyone who backed the winner.

High-profile races like the Grand National can be bet on months in advance, and there are always a range of specials to consider, from the chances of a false start to the number of finishers or the nationality of the winning trainer.

Tips and Strategy

Whereas the casual gambler who only bets once a year on the Grand National may just stick a pin in the list of runners and riders or go for the horse with the funniest name, for others the challenge of trying to formulate a winning strategy is a far more serious business. A large part of your approach to horse racing betting will depend on how much you are willing to risk to try and secure some potentially huge rewards, as each way bets or taking out insurance will increase the likelihood of success but in most cases won’t offer such great payouts. By contrast, accumulators, forecasts and tricasts can be potentially lucrative, but the odds of winning are much slimmer.

It is a good idea to keep a record of all your bets so that in time you can work out which type of wager is most successful and with which you feel the most comfortable. Make sure to be selective with your bets, as the incredible choice of races on any given day do not all offer the same opportunities. Make sure to study the form guides in detail and assess the conditions as it is crucial to know how each horse deals with the ground underfoot.

Visiting a racecourse can reap rewards and many successful gamblers will take the chance to look at horses before they run to see if they can spot anything that could prove to be decisive. Bookies at the side of the track may also offer some better value odds than are available online or in betting shops.

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