Horse Racing Betting

Betting on horse racing is a hugely popular pastime around the world. In the UK alone, in a one year period between 2017 and 2018, a whopping £4.3 billion was wagered by bettors. Events like the Grand National can attract hundreds of millions of TV viewers, and the prize purses in these races can range up to millions of pounds or dollars.

There are a host of different things to consider when placing your bets on horse racing events. From betting types, to the different events in the calendar, and more. We’ve taken a look at these, to provide you with this guide…..


Horse Racing Betting Sites

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Horse Racing Betting Offers

Welcome Offer for New Customers

Most betting houses have a welcome offer for new customers, to entice them to sign up. For example, Racebets is one of the best known horse racing bookmakers, and their welcome offer is to match your initial deposit up to £50 / 50 Euros.

Enhanced Odds

In order to attract customers, bookmakers will put on loss leading bets. The favourites in the big race meets will tend to have very short odds, but the bookmakers will boost these to encourage people to participate. It’s worth keeping an eye out on the big betting sites and racing press, to see these offers as they come up.

Best Odds Guaranteed

Many bookmakers will offer Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) on races, as they announce early odds well in advance of the race, which can differ significantly from the odds on the day of the event. The latter is known as the Starting Price (SP), and the bookie can offer to pay out on which ever odds are the most attractive, to encourage bettors to participate.

Fallers Insurance

Fallers insurance, is where you agree to take shorter odds in return for having your stake returned if the horse falls.

Factors To Consider in Horse Race Betting

Recent Form

You can get ratings for horses from sources such as the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA), who provide an Official Rating, Proform Professional, the Racing Post, and Topspeed.

When assessing a horses’s racing card, you will get their positions in the recent races they have run. For example, their form may read 3242213. It reads from right to left, so this means the horse came third in its most recent race, then first, and so on. To use these effectively, you need to think holistically, taking into account the other aspects such as the particular course, and the types of races the horse has been in. etc.

You should also look at the frequency of how often a particular horse has been racing. A horse that has had, for example, 12 or less races in the past couple of years is relatively fresh. There is a sweet spot in terms of the rest period between races, and a gap of 1-2 months is optimal. a gap of three months or more, and the horse may struggle to match past form, as it has to push to raise its level of fitness.


It stands to reason that certain big-name jockeys can add to the performance of the horse in a race. It’s worth getting to know the names of jockeys to see what effect they could have on the outcome, and you can find these by consulting publications like the Racing Post, etc.


When looking at the form of your chosen horse, it;’s important to take into account their win rate at track distance of the track  you are betting on. race tracks can vary in distance quite widely, and if your horse is going a further distance, you need to select a horse has previously finished well. If you’re looking at shorter distances, you should choose a horse that has previously been a front runner.


The odds set by the bookmakers is an area you need to study carefully when placing bets, to ensure you are getting maximum value. Staying one step ahead of the bookies is a fine art, and there are various things to consider here. Placing bets that at more than 20 to 1 on the day of the event is generally not a winning strategy. Horses that have been bet excessively on attract poor odds, and are unlikely to provide you with a good return, so it’s best to look to other horses for bargains instead. One clue is to look for horses who have previously won at high odds, as they may do so again.


The horses in a race all begin in from inside a stall, and the selection of their position is made on the day of the event. Tracks are either left handed courses or right handed, and the positioning of the horse can provide it with an implicit advantage before the race has even been run. It is with paying attention to the draw position of your horse when making your selection.

Going / Track Condition

The condition of the track is known as the ‘going’, and is dependent on how wet or firm the track is. A determination of this is made by race officials on the day of the race, and published and announced along with all other race data made available to bettors.


When making a horse selection, it’s important to understand how the specific track may affect your nag. Has it won at that track before? Does it tend to succeed in jumps races or flat races? What about the length of the track? Considering the course is important.

Best Horse Racing Betting Festivals

Horse racing has a rich and prestigious history here in the United Kingdom, thanks to patronage from Royalty. Our love of horse races has also extended to the former colonies, so that there are major race meets in countries like the USA and Australia. Here is a selected range of some of the big race meets in the annual racing calendar.

Cheltenham (March)

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest events in the horse racing calendar. Taking place in Cheltenham, Gloucester in March every year, it consists of National Hunt, or “jumps” racing and runs over four days. With 28 races at the event, there are several major, notable races, including the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. the festival culminates in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which takes place on the last day. Cheltenham can trace it’s history all the way back to 1860. In 2019 Nico de Boinville was the top jockey at the event, winning 3 of the races.

Grand National

The Grand National is probably the most famous racing meet in the world, attracting a TV audience of 600 million people in over 140 countries. It takes place at Aintree Racing Course, during April, in Merseyside, near Liverpool, and the whole event runs over 3 days. The Grand National first began taking place in 1839, and takes race takes place over 4 miles and 2.5 furlongs, with 16 fences and 30 jumps in total (the horses complete two laps of the track) making it an exhausting experience for both horses and jockeys.

First prize in the main race gets the winner £500,000, with the overall prize fund coming in at £1 million. The Grand National differs from other races in that it tends to be the one event in the calendar that regularly attracts people who do not regularly bet to make a wager, once a year.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot takes place in the third week of June each year, and is one of biggest events in the racing calendar, attracting Royalty, and over 300,000 attendees during its five day duration.

Kentucky Derby

This race is the culmination of a two week horse racing festival that takes place in April – May of each year, in Kentucky, Louiseville, USA. A shorter race coming in at 1 1/4 miles, the prize fund is $3 million dollars in total, with the winner taking home a whopping $1,860,000, making this a very lucrative race for competitors.

Glorious Goodwood

Goodwood is a five day racing festival that takes place in late July to early August of each year, on the Goodwood Estate in Chichester, Essex. The event can trace its origins all the way back to 1802, and includes some major flat races including the Sussex Stakes, the Nassau Stakes. The event culminates in Goodwood Cup, which happens on the Saturday. There is a lot of glamour at  includes a Ladies Day, and the festival sponsored by the Gulf state of Qatar.

Types of Betting in Horse Racing

Within horse racing, there are a range of types of bet available to bettors. Here is a selection of the main betting types.


The most common type of bet, this is a single bet placed on a single race, where the bettor chooses the horse that he thinks will win the race.


A single bet is simply a single bet on a single event.


This is a bet on two different horses in two different races. Both must win in order for the bet to pay out.


As the name suggests, this is a bet on three different horses in three different races. All three must win in order for the bet to produce a winning return for the bettor. This type of bet is best suited to experienced and knowledgeable bettors.

Ante Post

Ante Post Betting is betting well before the actual event, and in any case, before 10am on the day before it. This type of betting offers enhanced odds, as factors may emerge which spoil the outcome, in the days leading up to the event.

Each Way

This is actually two bets in one. Firstly you bet half of your stake on outcome of a race, to win, and the other half goes on your chosen horse to “place”, i.e. come within a group of selected places, e.g. the first three or four places in the race. This means you can mitigate your risk, by ensuring that you at least producing a return on half of your stake if your horse comes in second or third.

Place Only

This is where you can bet on a horse to come in certain selected places (e.g. the first three places) of a race. The number of places offered varies depending upon the number of runners, and the event.


A Yankee is a type of combination bet, in which you place 11 bets on four different selections. These consist of six double bets, four treble bets, and a fourfold bet. You must correctly predict two different selections in order to win a payout on your bet. You pay for each bet, so for example, a £1 Yankee would cost £11.

Lucky 15

This is a complex but highly popular type of bet, as it offers good value. It involves making four selections and fifteen bets, as the name suggests. These are composed of four single bets, six double bets, four trebles and a fourfold bet. The good thing about this bet type is that only one of the selections need to succeed in order to produce a return on your initial wager.