Horse racing is unique among sports in that it’s questionable if the sport would exist at all were it not for people betting on it. Horse racing has a long and illustrious history with plenty of Royal connections and rivals football as the sport that is most popular to bet on in the UK and much of the world. Racing takes place on most days of the year – usually with several meetings each day – and with growing coverage of global races too there is no end of horse racing to bet on.
Few gambling experiences can beat seeing a horse you have backed move through the field and earn a narrow victory. The bookmakers below are all great options for betting on horse racing and with regular offers and promotions too you have a great chance of making a profit.
Popular Horse Racing Betting Markets
There are a huge number of different markets connected with horse racing but most punters will stick to the ones outlined below. As well as being the most popular they are also the easiest to understand and a great way to start betting on the horses.
- To Win – By far and away the most popular racing bet is to back your selection to win a given race.
- Each-Way – Backing a horse each-way is good for longer odds bets and is a split wager, with half your money going on the horse to win and half for it to place (usually when finishing in the top three or four and paid at ¼ the odds). So £5 each-way costs £10 and if the horse wins you get paid on both bets, whilst if it places you lose your £5 win bet but get your £5 each-way stake and winnings back.
- Place Betting – Similar to each-way but without the win part of the bet, this is simply a wager on the horse to finish anywhere in the top three or four (usually – depending on the race this can vary) and naturally the odds are lower than for it to win.
- Doubles, Trebles and Other Multiple Bets – Doubles are very popular in racing and this is a bet on two horses to win separate races with the odds multiplied. So you might have a £10 double on El Frank to win the 3.10 and Red Tom to win the 3.40 and you need both to win for you to receive anything. Backing three horses is called a treble but you can select as many as you want and there are also various combination bets that combine singles, doubles, trebles and so on when you have picked several horses.
- Grand National – One of the most famous races in the world is a four mile plus marathon over 30 fences at the Aintree racecourse. Held in April this is the race that even people who don’t normally gamble will have a punt on. Hugely unpredictable it is great for fun but much harder to make a consistent profit. Past winners include Red Rum and L’Escargot (who also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice).
- Cheltenham – The other highlight of the National Hunt (jump racing) calendar, this meeting features the very best horses from Britain and Ireland (and beyond) in four days of high-quality action. Each day has a huge feature race with the Gold Cup the highlight of the lot, won by greats like Golden Miller (who also won the National), Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate and Kauto Star.
- Royal Ascot – One of the highlights of the flat racing season, held in June over five days, this meeting features a good selection of races, from short sprints to the longer test of the Gold Cup, the most prestigious race of the meeting.
- British Classic Races – The five biggest individual races in flat racing are great spectacles and fabulous betting opportunities featuring the best horses around. The 2,000 Guineas is the first of the season with the 1,000 Guineas held at the same Newmarket meeting in late April or early May. Then comes the Oaks and the Derby at Epsom Downs in early June with the final Classic, the St Leger, held in September at Doncaster.