Horse Racing Betting

Last Updated 30 Nov 2021 | Commercial content | 18+

If you’re looking to learn more about horse racing betting and all the markets that you can expect to find, then you are in the right place. By the end of this article, you will know how to bet on horse racing and what are the famous horse races to bet on.

Our Complete Guide to Horse Racing Betting

The general principle that comes with betting on horse racing is simply picking out the winning horse in the field. The number of runners will be dependent on the race itself, with the Grand National being one of the biggest of the calendar year in the UK and the Melbourne Cup being one of the biggest in Australia.

Picking out the winning runner from the bigger fields may appear trickier. But if you follow the horse racing secrets, then you could be in luck. For each race, the bookmaker will have the field on the screen with prices on each horse. Here, you will also find the horse’s rating, form and weight. All of those are crucial details that you must observe if you’re just learning how to bet on horse racing.

From the field, you will then pick the horse that you think will win the race. Once you have selected, you can either put the desired horse to win or place an each-way stake. The each-way stake means that you will get some returns back should your horse finishing a qualifying place. That will be dependent on the size of the field.

Following the race, you will either get your winnings should your horse be successful, or the stake will be lost if your horse loses.

What are the world’s best horse races to bet on?

Bet on Top 9 horse races in the World

Even above the Breeders’ Cup races, the Cox Plate and the 2000 Guineas, these nine events rank as the biggest in worldwide horse racing.

Melbourne Cup

Known as “the race that stops the nation”, the Melbourne Cup is the best horse race in Australia. The huge 3200-metre event is staged on the first Tuesday of November every year.

A Group 1 handicap, the Melbourne Cup, staged at Flemington Racecourse, is for those aged 3 and over and comes with a huge $8 million prize fund. Melbourne Cup betting is a huge part of this event doesn’t get bigger than this event.

Kentucky Derby

The first and most important Triple Crown race, the Kentucky Derby is hosted on the first Saturday in May.

Churchill Downs in Louisville is the venue for this $4 million event, run over 2000 metres. Given its importance in racing, horses to win the Kentucky Derby often become extremely valuable at stud. American Pharoah, Seattle Slew and Secretariat are some of the most famous winners of the “run for the roses”. Find out about Kentucky Derby betting in our dedicated article.

Preakness Stakes

The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness takes place only two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. This time staged over 1900 metres, the Preakness is run at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland. Many punters try their hand at Preakness Stakes betting to enhance their betting experience.

Belmont Stakes

The final leg of the American Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. The race is run over a tough 2400 metres on “Big Sandy”, Belmont Park’s notorious dirt track.

Many horses have won the Derby and Preakness only to fail here, leading to the race being known as the “graveyard of champions”. 13 horses have managed the feat, Sir Barton being the first in 1919 and Justify the most recent in 2018. Belmont Stakes betting gets more interesting if the same horse has won the first two Triple Crown races as winning all three races is seen as a legendary feat in the horse racing world.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of the British flat racing season. The royal meeting takes place at Ascot in June, staged across five days.

There are eight Group 1 races during the week, making Royal Ascot betting very popular as there is so much to bet on. The results of these races go a long way to deciding the champions of each division in the country at the end of the year. Royal Ascot is as famous for its fashion as it is for its thoroughbreds.

Grand National

The Grand National is Britain’s single biggest betting event of any type. A jumps race, the ‘National’ is run over 4½ miles (6800 metres) with the huge field facing 30 fences.

Staged at Aintree near Liverpool, the Grand National is run in April and generates more than $900 million in betting revenue in the country. As well as its extreme distance, the Grand National is known for featuring 40 runners each year and for the popularity of Grand National betting, especially with British punters.

Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival, run over four days each March, is the highlight of the British jumping season. The Festival features the best jumpers from not only Britain but also Ireland and, occasionally, France.

The Gold Cup on the final day (Friday) is the highlight, the other championship races being the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. Cheltenham betting for all of these races plays a large part in the experience for bettors.


Epsom Derby

Known in Britain simply as “The Derby”, this race has lent its name to some of the best races around the world. The Derby is the fourth of the five classics, run primarily for the colts over a distance of 2400 metres.

The race comes with a huge amount of history and a big prize pot for runners – and sometimes those participating in Epsom Derby betting. It tasks the runners to cope with one of the most unique and challenging racecourses in the world in the shape of Epsom Downs.

Dubai World Cup

Now once again the most valuable Group 1 race in the world, the Dubai World Cup is of huge importance.

The race is the highlight of the Dubai Carnival at Meydan Racecourse. The Dubai World Cup is run over 2000 metres on the dirt and comes with a prize pot of $16 million. Learn everything you need to know about Dubai World Cup betting in our guide.

Bet on Famous Horse Races in the UK

Bet on Famous Horse Races in the US

Bet on Famous Horse Races in Saudi Arabia

What are the different horse racing bets? – Types of Wagers

Each gambler will have their own preference on which type of wager they like and how they lay their stake down on the races, but these are the most commonly used when you’re a beginner at learning how to bet on horse racing.

Straight Wagers

  • Win: This is the most straightforward way to lay a wager on horse racing, as punters will simply have to predict the horse that will win the race correctly. Should their selection be the first past the post, then they will be rewarded the returns from their stake.
  • Place: This is also a common method of betting for horse racing fans, but instead of picking the horse that will win, you’re picking a horse that will place. For most fields, this would mean the horse will have to finish at least second for the bet to be a winner. However, with the larger fields, the amount of places increases. For example, most of the leading bookmakers will allow up to six places for the Grand National due to the size of the field.
  • Show: Another straight bet is the show. It is similar to the place bet, except for this betting type you will have the first three places covered. The returns are smaller than the place due to the more places that are covered, but it is a solid option for horse racing betting beginners.
  • Across the board: This may seem like a more confusing bet, but in principle, it is very simple. For this, you will have a Win, Place and Show bet all in one. The returns could be incredibly lucrative, but it is also very high risk. You will need to judge for yourself whether the possibilities that you are betting on are likely before placing this wager. The biggest downfall is that if only the show wins, then at best you are only covering your losses.

Exotic Wagers

It isn’t just about the straight bets, as punters can also make more comprehensive stakes. However, for these bets, the returns can be massive, but more factors need to be correct in order to win.

  • Exacta: This is the most common of all the exotic wagers, and it involves the punter correctly predicted the horses that will finish first and second. The returns could be excessive, but it is also high-risk, as the outcome has to be 100% correct.
  • Quinella: This exotic wager adds a layer of insurance to your bet. It is the same as the Exacta, but in this bet, the horses can finish in either order providing that the horses that you have picked both finish in the top two.
  • Trifecta: Like the Exacta, this also requires the punter to be accurate with their bet. However, unlike the Exacta, this time, punters will have to correctly guess the horses that come first, second and third.
  • Superfecta: The most difficult of all the exotic bets asks punters to correctly guess the horses that will come first, second, third and fourth. Furthermore, they must correctly predict the order in which the horses will finish. It is an incredibly difficult bet to win, and excessive research must be done beforehand.

How to bet successfully on horse Racing? – Strategies and Tips

Tips and tricks on what to think about when betting on horses.


How to bet on horse racing revolves around solid research. That means that you need to look into their past form over their recent runs, how long it has been since they ran, and whether they are wearing any new headgear. The latter of the aspects could have a significant impact depending on whether they are prone to distractions around them.

As well as this, you should look at the ratings as that would be a quick giveaway to their chances. It is also important to look over how they perform at the track where they are appearing. Certain horses do very well on particular tracks but may struggle on others.


The timing of your bet is imperative. That is especially the case when it comes to the bigger meetings at Cheltenham and Aintree. The prices for these races are released very early, which means punters can assess when the best time to get the best odds are.
The odds will change throughout the year depending on the form. It is important to keep an eye on the market movers as it could ensure that you win more from your bet.


This links nicely back to the research stage. Some trainers may look at taking their horse up in distance, and punters should be aware of the competition that they have faced before. The same also goes for horses that are jumping up from Grade 2 events to Grade 1. It is important to look into these issues to ensure that you aren’t disappointed, come race day.

Type of bet

It is important to understand what each bet requires for a winner. Once you have understood the minimum requirements, then you can begin to try new bets. It is also important to start with smaller stakes, before gradually increasing the stake when you are comfortable.


Reading the odds is what ensures punters can win more when they have a winning selection. Understanding the odds isn’t as challenging as you may think, but utilising the right time to make the bet may be. It is important to keep an eye on all the changes in the betting market throughout the horse racing betting season.

Horse Racing Odds Explained

Reading horse racing odds is constantly one of the biggest challenges for beginners. However, it isn’t nearly as confusing as they may think it is. In terms of fractional odds, the shorter the number means the better chance the horse will have of winning. For example, if a horse has odds of 3/1, then it will have a better chance of winning according to the bookmaker than a 20/1 chance.

If you were to place $10 on the 3/1 horse, and it wins, then you will receive $40. That is the odds of 3/1, plus your original stake. It is the same with the 20/1 horse, as you will receive $210 back should you $10 stake win on that chance.

The American odds are also very popular among punters when it comes to horse racing, and they look slightly different from the fractional odds. The ‘-‘ will highlight a favoured horse, while a ‘+’ will highlight an outsider.

Quantity of bets

The smartest bet in horse racing is to be safe with your money. Only be willing to lose what you stake, because there is no guarantee that any horse will win every race. Don’t start chasing your losses if you are on a losing streak, and always stick to the principles that you started the day with.

how to bet on horse racing

How to Know Which Horse to Bet On? – Handicapping Horses

Tips on how to choose the winning horse.

Behaviour in the Paddock

There are many punters that swear by this method when examining how to bet on horse racing. They will watch each horse in the paddock before making their bet. They want to see how comfortable their selection is before wagering their money. If horses look restless and not walking smoothly, then it could be a sign that they may not be ready for the race.

Past Performance

Undoubtedly, the most important aspect in deciding how to bet on horse racing is the form that the horse comes into the race with. If they are on a long winning streak, then they could be difficult to beat. However, it is also important to look at the variables of their recent runs. If they ran with a handicap or over a longer distance, then the result may be a different one.

Previous Class Levels

Jumping up in class is the way that most of the people within horse racing win money. The more prestigious races are Group 1 and Grade 1 events. Horses from the levels beneath that will jump into these categories, but it is important to remember their past form and whether they are running with the higher-quality horses for the first time.

Surface and Weather

The biggest aspects that punters should consider before they bet on the day of the event is going. The surface will play an important role as specific horses will have a favoured terrain. If they perform well on the good but struggle on the soft, then you should know this before placing your bet.

The weather conditions will also have an effect on horses that are carrying weight. If it is raining, then the heavier horses may struggle more.


Apart from the horses themselves, the most important factor in deciding how to bet on horse racing for punters is the jockey. The person that rides the horse will have a crucial impact on whether the runner will win or not. Punters should be aware of the jockey’s history with the horse, and how many winners they have had while onboard before placing their bet.

How to Watch Horse Racing Live Streaming?

All punters will have to do is place a wager on the race, and then they can press play on that specific race just before it gets underway. Then, they can watch the action unfold and celebrate when their horse passes the line before the others. However, you should note that there may be geographical restrictions on accessing live streams.

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