How to bet on horses / horse racing

Whether you are at the races or not, studying the form of the horses is a sensible thing to do. Fortunately, you won’t need to carry an enormous form book around with you because the research has been done for you. Essentially, the bookmaker has a research team locked in a dungeon somewhere studying every aspect of each horse and its race history. Once the form assessment of the horses in any particular race is complete, the bookmaker will subsequently release betting odds that reflect the likelihood of victory.

Placing a bet is simplicity itself. Firstly, choose the horse and then try to predict where you think it will finish in the race. Choosing a horse to back isn’t difficult at all, and most punters will pick a horse for its previous race form or because they like the silly name. However you arrive at your decision, you’ll need to get a bet slip with the details of your bet recorded on it. There are usually a range of options to go for in a field of runners, and of course, the betting odds of them winning too, but don’t be fazed by this. Ultimately, you’ll want to back a winner, and you’ll be able to use the odds to help determine the race outcome.

There are a whole host of bets with specific names, and here are the most popular ones to get you started:

  • Win Bet – your horse has to win
  • Each Way Bet – your horse has to finish in the first three
  • Place Bet – your horse has to finish in a predicted place
  • Tote Bets – This is a parimutuel betting system, and bets are pooled
  • Double & Treble – These are accumulative bets

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Horse Racing Odds Explained

It is quite easy to get discouraged by the amount of odds that you’ll be faced with at a bookmaker, not to mention the various types of bet on offer. However, keep calm and carry on, and don’t be hasty. The odds are only a guide, and they can change rather frequently depending on a couple of factors. The weather in Britain as we all know is changeable, which means the conditions at the racecourse will vary and favour a particular horse or horses. The climate and state of the ground are important aspects to a horse’s performance, and this is directly mirrored in the latest betting odds. The amount of money staked on any one horse is also monitored on race-day by the bookmakers, and predictably, they will offer lower odds because a lot of punters fancy a certain horse to win.

Most Popular Horse Racing Festivals

The Aintree festival features the Grand National, which is a National Hunt horse race, and it’s held at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool every year. It’s probably the most famous event in the racing calendar and attracts visitors from around the globe, and it has gained notoriety for the larger than usual fences compared to other courses. Fences like Bechers Brook, The Chair, and Canal Turn have become famous, and the race is regarded as the ultimate test for horse and rider.

The Royal Ascot festival racecourse is located in Berkshire, and it’s the home of thoroughbred horse racing, and just a stone’s throw from the British Royal family’s residence Windsor Castle. Each year the racecourse hosts some of the most prestigious races like the King George VI, and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but the event is probably best known for The Gold Cup.

The Cheltenham festival racecourse welcomes the second richest race meeting of the year. The absolute best of British and Irish racehorses and their trainers will be on show in Gloucestershire for the four-day event. As the festival usually coincides with St Patrick’s Day, it’s a perfect way to enjoy a break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You’ll be treated to some sublime hospitality, and some terrific races throughout the four day event.

Most Popular Horse Race Meetings

Doncaster racecourse is in South Yorkshire, and is one of Britain’s oldest established horse racing centres. It’s a flat racing venue that famously hosts the St Ledger, and the Racing Post Trophy.

Haydock Park is located in Merseyside, which is in the North West of England, and is owned by the Jockey Club. The 5 furlong racecourse currently runs flat and National Hunt racing

Redcar racecourse is perched on the coast of North Yorkshire, England, and was opened in 1880. Although the track is the shape of an oval, it can be made into a 1 mile straight racecourse too.

Chepstow racecourse is close to England, but it’s actually located in Monmouthshire, Wales. It’s another thoroughbred oval-shaped course used for flat and jump racing. They stage around 32 events every year.

Newmarket racecourse is regularly recognised as being the headquarters of British Horse racing. Nestled in leafy Suffolk England, the course hosts two classic races, namely the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas.

Epsom Downs in Surrey, England, is a grade 1 racecourse that is best known for The Derby, which is a flat race run over a mile. This is a very popular course for spectators as you can see the racing for free from the North Downs.

Best Asian Bookmakers for Horse Race Betting

Bet365, 1xbet, and Betfair should be considered as contenders for the best Asian bookmakers award simply because of their experience in this market, and the worldwide coverage they have all established. Although it is difficult to give a definitive list of the best Asian bookmakers for horse racing, there are some details that might help you decide. Your own bookmaker selection criteria will probably be unique to you but let’s face it, all punters want virtually the same thing. In an ideal situation bookmakers will offer great odds all of the time but sadly that isn’t always the case. What you can do to offset this is register with a few of your favourite bookies and switch it up a little.

Special Bookmaker Offers and Horse Betting Promotions

The jury is out as far as whether enhanced odds promotions for existing customers are worth having or not. A cynical view is that you are being offered the opportunity to lose but that wouldn’t be a fair judgement at all. It’s a game of chance after all.

There is no doubt about the advantage of opting for money back specials if they are offered. If you lose, and invariably everyone does, you won’t lose so much.

Reducing the risk of a bet is always a plus if you can do it, and applying a money back on fallers approach during a National Hunt race is a good risk management strategy.

Rewards for picking winners is a bit like a side bet. Bookmakers never waste any time in offering incentives to encourage further bets. However, if they are tempting you with a free bet, you might as well take them up on it especially if you were going to place a bet anyway.

The bet365 ITV Racing 4/1 offer is definitely worth taking a look at if you like to bet on live horse racing. Essentially, if you have backed a winner at 4/1 or more on an ITV televised race, bet365 reward you further with a free bet on the next race shown on television.

Which Bookmakers Offer Early Odds On Horse Racing

Primarily, early odds just means bookmakers release race odds the day before the race. Some earlier than others. This is a good way of weighing up the various prices in advance, and in some cases, it can give you a slight edge when choosing which horse to back because you have studied what all of the bookmakers are saying before they reach parity in their odds.

Bookmakers with Live Stream Horse Racing

Horse racing has always been shown on television at one time or another, and some of the traditional bookies took the initiative and were able to broadcast some of the major races on their premises. Today, we are able to watch live sport wherever we happen to be. However, like the old days, live stream isn’t exactly live at all but that is just a technical reality and nothing to worry about. Leaving the live stream time delay aside, horse racing is one of the most exciting to watch especially if your horse is winning by a nose. The majority of decent bookmakers offer live streams, and so you won’t have to go far to find one.

Horse Race Betting Tips

Horse racing tips are a bit of a fallacy, and most of them turn out to be nothing more than a bit of paddock gossip. Nevertheless, there are some good tactics you can adopt to improve your winning average. Religiously following the form of a horse will yield good results; it won’t eradicate error but it will improve your judgement. Be prepared to regularly trawl the various bookmakers for the best odds before you commit yourself to a bet. It does take a little more time and effort but it is definitely worth it, and finally, don’t be afraid of the promotions because they can turn a bad day into an average one.


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