Horse racing has one of the largest global betting markets of any sport. It’s one of the few sports where betting plays a massively predominate role and many followers of the sport do so in order to make a profit. The amount of money exchanged on each range can differ greatly. Some of the smaller races could turn over just L50,000 on the exchanges whereas the larger races such as the Grand National and the English Derby will amass sums of over L4 million. Many bookmakers see fit to use horse racing as one of their main betting platforms and will target races everyday from their high street shops, online and their on track stalls.
Horse racing is a massive pull for the punter as they can apply a vast amount of knowledge to a race in order to find that perfect pick. Features such as form, ground conditions, jockeys and trainers can all be factors as to how the horse could potentially perform. On the flip side it also appeals to the casual punter. Knowing that any horse has a chance in the race provides unpredictability and evens the field out somewhat.
Some of the major horse racing meetings around the world come in the form of Royal Ascot, Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, Epsom Derby, Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby to name but a few. It’s these kinds of meetings that really pull in the punters and offer the best horses in the most competitive races around the world. These meeting will be made up mainly of Group 1 and Group 2 races, meaning that the ‘creme de la creme’ of horses, trainers and jockeys are on show.
Many keen bettors will spend days and weeks preparing for the big meets of the year to sap every possible avenue of value from the race. The occasions are often held in high regard with events such as Royal Ascot having a member of the Royal family present at every day of the meet. The Grand National for example claims viewing figures of over 500 million for one single race with an estimated L300 million matched in bets alone. It’s known as one of the richest horse races in the world.
Live betting is a feature that has been adapted to Horse racing and one that is becoming increasingly popular amongst all bettors. It’s this form of betting that allows punters to use either their knowledge or a little guess work during a race to predict the outcome. Whilst odds fluctuate quickly and the speed of the race is at such a tempo, it can be tricky to get the odds at a premium once the race has started, especially in the shorter distances. The longer races are where the live betting format really comes into its own as you get time to assess how a horse is running and also compare it to the initial pace of the field.
Compared to most other sports available to bet on, the markets are very limited in horse racing with the major ones being the outright winner and a placed finish (or each way betting). There’s no doubt that when it comes to horse racing betting that you really want to be taking advantage of the betting exchanges to get the inflated odds prices and bypassing the bookmaker’s lines.
A great feature many online bookmakers do offer (and a fantastic reason to sign up with their site) is that of live streaming. There is rarely a race around the country (UK) that isn’t featured and the streaming services are often free. Watching the race will give you a fantastic insight into how a horse is performing and is essential if you want to take advantage of live betting. Be warned though that online streams may encounter a slight delay of a second or two which could potentially be huge in a horse race.
You could literally write thousands of words on betting tips for horse racing. We have condensed some of these tips to bring you the most important ones to apply to your bets.
Research, research, research – We can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research on a horse. Horse racing, more than any other sport, really relies on you basing your decisions on past races. Find out how the horses have got on previously by looking at past results, favoured ground, conditions at the course they will be running at, trainer form, jockey form, how they look in the paddock and listen for any other top pundits touting the horse to do well.
Prepare to lose – Horse racing can be a tough gig to make profitable bets from. There’s no doubt it can be done, but you are likely going to have as many lows as highs, especially when you start out. Don’t get downhearted by poor results and look as to why they lost, before learning from the experience.
You don’t have to wager on each race – There are quality races held 365 days a year around the UK alone, there’s no way you can bet on each race, but feel free to look through a high percentage and ‘virtually’ pick a favourite and see how that horse gets on. Apply everything you would normally if you were placing money on it, but simply make a note. A spreadsheet is a great way to track results and track what information you have learnt from the race.
Just as human beings, horses sweat. A small amount of sweat on a coat is a good omen. A slight ring of sweat between a horse's hind legs show that it is keen. However, a large build up that has gone foamy is not. Look out for horses getting into a sweat just before racing.
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I have a good friend: an aging, slow-moving, sour-old horseplayer who frequents OTB parlors and race tracks around the country. While he has a solid love of the sport of harness racing, he thinks all drivers are scoundrels and that every race is fixed.
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