how to bet on horses

Horse racing is one of the most popular forms of sport betting around the world, and there is scarcely a country where placing a wager on the horses isn’t a common form of gambling. However, it can be difficult to come to grips with the different terms and bet types used. Without doing proper research it’s all too easy to end up making a costly mistake.

horse bettingTo matters even more complicated, there are several different kinds of horse races, with different lengths of race, different categories of horses, and different types of track. From flat races to hurdles, and from steeplechases to harness racing, there’s no doubt that this is an especially fascinating sport on which to place a bet. However, learning the various key terms and finding out more about the different kinds of bets you can put down may not come easily to you.

If you are wondering how to bet on horses to give yourself the best chance of a win, here is some advice about the different kinds of bets on offer and the best tactics to employ to maximize your bankroll.

The Main Types of Horse Racing Bet

    • Win only – the straight bet for a win is the simplest available and is, as you might imagine, a wager on your chosen horse to cross the finishing line first. Most bookmakers will now pay out on a double result, and that means that even if the winner is eventually disqualified after a steward’s inquiry, you’ll not be out of pocket. A guaranteed best odds situation is the best possible offer to look out for because it ensures that, should there end up being a higher starting price than was taken when you placed the bet, you will receive a cash out at the higher price.
    • Each-way bet – this is two different bets, one for the horse that wins and one for the horse to place. This is a popular type of bet in races with more than eight runners and in competitive handicaps.
    • Forecast – this type of bet allows you to predict the winner and second place horse in the right order.
    • Tricast – this form of betting is quite like a forecast bet. However, you need to choose the correct horses to come in first, second, then third and in the right order.
    • Accumulators – this is a popular choice with optimistic bettors who want to combine several winners in a single bet to multiply their winnings.
    • Tote betting – popular in places where sportsbooks are forbidden and where there is no competition when it comes to pricing, tote betting has high margins that ensure a large profit for the operator of the pool.
    • Jackpot betting – A form of tote bet, this form of betting allows any money that was not won in a previous bet to become part of the prize fund for the current race. This means that the final jackpot can be high. A jackpot bet means punters must find six winners on a single card, while a placepot means that you must choose one horse that you think will place in each of the six races.
    • Laying – a relatively new betting choice, laying means that you can bet against a horse being placed or being the overall winner of a race.

Top Tips for Wagering on Horses

Online betting on horse racing has become very popular, although there is still a significant number of people who prefer to go to the racetrack to place their wagers. If you want to know how to maximize your chances of big wins, here is some helpful advice to get you started.


It is difficult to learn everything there is to know about horse racing, so try to just specialize in a single area. For example, you may want to focus on novice hurdles, learning more about the form and what to look out for during this type of race.

Keep A Database

If you specialize in a single area of horse racing, it’s easy to maintain a complete database in which you can keep notes on each race. You can find ready-made databases that contain expert analysis and you can then add your own notes alongside the professional ones.

Set the Odds Yourself

If you want to have an accurate view of when to place a wager, you need to price up every race to 100 percent. If, for example, you are pricing up a three-horse race at evens, 3-1 and 3-1, however, the prices that are available are 6-4, 2-1 and 5-2, it’s clear that the value is in the 6-4 horse.

Be Patient When There’s A Change in The Weather

horse racing and bettingDuring the summer racing months, the weather usually remains constant, and that presents a problem for bookmakers since the going remains roughly the same for every race. Dry ground usually indicates fast going for pretty much each race of the season. However, as soon as the weather turns, and the rain begins, the racing results will turn, too. So, never rush into placing a wager after a rain spell. Be patient and wait to see the form of the horses before putting on a bet and take care when analyzing the horse’s racing form across fast ground if the race will be carried out on soft ground following a few days of rainfall.

Follow A Small Yard That’s In-Form

Although you might be tempted to bet on a horse from a bigger name stable, thinking that it represents the best choice, in fact, these horses are often overbet when compared with their actual achieved form in their most recent races. Pay attention to what you can see and the information that is before you rather than the hype. A small yard that is in-form may well do better than a larger name, and you may be able to make a bigger profit.

Avoid Betting Odds-On

Betting odds on is never a good idea, so try to avoid it. Instead, focus on each-way wagers. The problem is if you bet odds-on frequently, the hit rate required is high and the price advantage is low. Instead, go for a race with eight to 10 runners and place an each-way bet.

Pay Attention to The Jockey

how to bet on winning horseOften when betting on horse racing, it is best to avoid following the mainstream view. This is often the case when looking at jockeys. Often, a young rider who is a good judge of pace will be a better choice than one who is a “star.” His or her claim often means that he or she represents better value, especially if you manage to pick him or her out before others spot him or her.

These helpful tips will enable you to get started with betting on horse racing. It isn’t always easy to understand the different types of wager you can place. Knowing how best to approach wagering in your first few races may not come easily.

However, if you work hard and put in the groundwork to learn about the form of your choice of race, you’ll find that you have developed the skill to be able to pick out the right horses more often, thus enabling you to win more money.

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Jean Carter is from Oakland, California and studied jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California. After graduation, and pining for a warmer climate, Jean relocated to the Tule Springs suburb of Las Vegas, where she owns and operates her own online jewelry boutique incorporating traditional native American styles with her own unique designs. A true fan of the sophistication and glamor of Las Vegas casino life, Jean is also a freelance blogger specializing in all things suave and fashionable surrounding the casino lifestyle.