Your Basic Guide to Horse Racing Betting

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Your Basic Guide to Horse Racing Betting - sportingbet

Welcome to the Sportingbet Horse Racing Betting Guide, your comprehensive companion to navigating the thrilling world of horse racing bets. Our guide will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to make informed betting decisions on the tracks. Whether you're selecting your steed based on performance stats or a name that catches your eye, understanding the basics of betting, or deciding on the type of bet that suits you best, we've got you covered. From grasping the nuances of starting prices and Each Way bets to navigating our platform for placing your bets, this guide is designed to enhance your betting experience and increase your chances of success. Dive in and start your horse racing betting journey with Sportingbet today!

Starting Your Horse Racing Betting Journey

Select the Type of Bet

  • Race Winner: This is a bet on which horse will place first in the race.
  • Forecast: This is a bet on the horses that will place first and second in the race.
  • Tricast: This is a bet on the horses that will place first, second, and third in the race.
  • Betting Without (favourite): This is a bet where your chosen horse needs to finish ahead of all other horses except the specified favourites.
  • To Finish (2nd, 3rd, etc.): This is a bet on a horse finishing at a specific position, not the race winner.
  • Top Finish (To finish in top 2, top 3, etc): This is a bet on a horse to finish within the top positions of the race, not a specific position. 
  • Win by X Lengths: This is a bet on a chosen horse winning by a specific number of lengths. 
  • Money Back (2nd, 3rd, etc. place): This is a bet on the winner of the race, but you’ll get your money back if they finish at a specified other position.

Note that not all races have every type of bet available.

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Selecting Your Horse

Begin your adventure by picking your contender. You can scrutinise the racecard on our website for detailed information on each horse's performance stats and form.

Take a look at who’s the favourite to win and get a sense of why that’s the case. Have they consistently won previous races? Winning previously doesn’t mean a guaranteed win in the future, but it can be a good indicator that a horse will appear at least in the top 3.

Choosing the race favourite can be a statistically sound strategy. The data shows that favourites win approximately 33% of the time, making them a reliable option for win bets. If you opt for a Top Finish bet, where the horse must finish first or second, the favourite pays off about 53% of the time, whilst a Top Finish bet within the top 3, the favourite pays off around 67% of the time. 

Analyse how closely the horse has been beaten in previous races. A horse that consistently finishes close to the winner, even if not in first place, may be on the verge of a win. Narrow defeats can signal competitive potential and suggest that the horse is due for a victory soon.

Consider the distances over which the horse has previously competed and performed well. A horse with a proven record over the race's distance is more likely to excel. Identifying if the horse is running at its optimal distance can provide insight into its potential performance, whether it excels in sprints, middle distances, or long-distance races.

Find out more about the jockey. Does the jockey usually place in the top three when he rides? A good jockey can take a horse from the middle of the pack and turn it into a winner.

Consider the class. There are four race classes: maiden races, claiming races, allowance races, and stakes races. Does the horse usually race in its current class? It may be outclassed if it’s new to the class.

Alternatively, you might choose based on a name that catches your fancy or other fun criteria like the silk colours. It’s all part of the excitement!

Understanding Betting Basics

Starting Price (SP): This is the odds for a horse at the start of the race. It's determined by the betting market’s supply and demand, reflecting how much backing each horse has from bettors.

Betting on the starting price (SP) of a horse, rather than the existing odds, can be advantageous due to the potential for better odds if they drift before the race starts, the convenience of not having to monitor market fluctuations, and the benefit of capturing the most up-to-date information that might affect the odds. Additionally, the SP often represents a fairer market consensus, and some bookmakers offer promotions like Best Odds Guaranteed, ensuring you get the best possible odds. This strategy can be particularly beneficial for bettors who prefer simplicity and want to ensure they are getting the most accurate reflection of a horse’s chances.

Each Way (EW): This type of bet splits your stake between a Win and a Place bet. If your horse wins, you collect both the win and the place payout. If it only places, you collect just the place part of the bet, at a fraction of the win odds.

Choosing to bet Each Way (E/W) instead of placing a single bet on a horse in a race can be advantageous for several reasons. An Each Way bet consists of two parts: a win bet and a place bet, effectively doubling your stake but also increasing your chances of getting a return. This type of bet is particularly beneficial if you believe the horse has a strong chance of finishing in the top positions but are uncertain about it winning outright. If the horse wins, both the win and place parts of the bet pay out, providing a potentially higher return. If the horse only places (finishes in the top specified positions), the place part of the bet still pays out, mitigating the risk of losing the entire stake. Each Way betting is also favoured in races with large fields or competitive line-ups where predicting the outright winner is challenging, making it a safer and more strategic option for many bettors.

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Placing Your Bet Online

  • Log in to your Sportingbet account and navigate to the horse racing section.
  • Select your race from Sportinbet’s wide selection of international horse races.
  • Choose the type of bet you want to make: race winner, forecast, or tricast.
  • On your bet slip, choose whether you want to bet EW or not. 
  • You might be given the option to bet on set odds or the SP, make your preferred selection.
  • Enter your stake on your bet slip.
  • Accept and place your bet.

After the Race

If your horse has crossed the finish line first or placed, wait for the official results. Once the race results are declared, your winnings will be automatically credited to your Sportingbet account.

Horse Racing Terminology

Backstretch: The straight part of the track opposite the finish line or the area where the stables are located.

Banker:  A supposedly certain bet.

Blinkers: A type of headgear fitted to a horse that limits its field of vision, mainly from each side. Blinkers are designed to help horses concentrate in races.

Boxed in: When a horse cannot obtain a clear run during a race due to other horses being in close proximity.

Dead-heat: When the raceday judge cannot split two or more horses at the finishing-line, the prize is split between the horses and a dead-heat is called.

Draw: A term in Flat racing denoting a horse’s position in the starting stalls.

Finish Line: The line at the end of the race.

Form: The current condition or performance record of a horse.

Gate: The starting apparatus for a race.

Going: The underfoot conditions at the racecourse.

Handicap Race: A race in which horses carry different weights assigned by the handicapper.

Homestretch: The final straight portion of the racetrack leading to the finish line.

In the Money: Finishing in one of the top positions (usually first, second, or third).

Length: A measure of distance between horses at the finish. One length is equivalent to about 2.4m, or in time about 0.02s; beaten lengths are normally shown with decimals (0.00 lengths)

Maiden Race: A race for horses that have never won a race.

On the Nose: Betting a horse to win only.

Outsider: A horse whose chance of winning is considered unlikely by the market.

Pacemaker: A horse who races with the aim of ensuring the even tempo of race, thus helping a stablemate who would benefit.

Paddock: The area where horses are saddled and paraded before a race.

Photo Finish: A close race result where the winner is determined by a photograph.

Rail: The barrier on the inside of the track.

Straight: The parts of the track where horses run in a straight line.