Introduction to horse racing bets

Тhe history of horse racing dates back to the ancient Greeks times (700 BC.). Horse racings in the form that we know them today were introduced in the 17th century when the English King James I organised horse races called at the time ‘Sport of Kings’. From these times until nowadays, horse races are among the most watched (and later the most bet on) sports. They are most popular in the UK, Ireland and USA. The team, on which you place bets consists of a horse, and his rider also called a jockey.

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  1. Major types of horse races
  2. The most used terminology in horse racing bets
  3. A few useful tips before you start betting on horse races

horse racing bets - intoduction

There are two types of horse races

  1. Flat racing
  2. Jump racing

Flat racing

The track is a straight line or oval shape and the one who crosses the finish line first wins. The second type of racing is called National Hunt. These are more complex competitions and are divided into two main categories: hurdles and steeplechases. There is also a third category of National Hunt, which is a flat race with obstacles (Bumpers), it is mainly for young horses and is not very popular.


What is the difference?

The difference between the two main racing categories is that in the steeplechase the horses have to jump a lot higher than they do in the hurdle races. The steeplechase often includes jumping over water or open ditches, which makes the race more dangerous and thrilling. In both types of races – flat racing and National Hunt, competitions are divided according to the age of the horse and its experience as well as the distance that has to be covered.

There are various factors, in which the competitions are classified. They are determined by the prestige, cash awards and the quality of the horses taking part in the race.

The divisions in the flat races are made in groups, and the highest class is Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and so on.

In National Hunt racing, the classification is in Grades, and Grade 1 is the highest, followed by the Grade 2, Grade 3 and so on, and at the end are the flat races with obstacles.

There are handicap races as well. This means that horses are given different weights to carry depending on their own abilities. In this type of races, every horse has an equal chance to win, but the better the horse is, the more weight it has to carry.

Horse racing bets terminology

  • Win – you bet on a horse that you think will win the race.
  • Place – you bet on the place in which a certain horse will finish the race.
  • Exacta – you chose who will finish in first and second place in exact order.
  • Trifecta – you bet on the horses that will finish in the first, second and third place in the exact order.
  • Superfecta – you bet on the horses that will finish in the first, second, third and fourth place.
  • Daily double bet – you choose winners of two of the races during the day. Usually, you bet on two consecutive races. To win, you need to have both bets successful.
  • Each way bet – one of the most famous horse racing bets. Here, you basically place two bets – one for the winner and one for a place. Place bets differentiate depending on the type of race and the number of horses in it. Place bets usually pay off ¼ of the major odd.

You place an Each way bet of £20 on a horse with odds of 4/1 – £10 go to the win of the chosen horse and the other 10 for the place. If your horse wins, you earn £70 – 10 x 4 = £40 for the win plus £10 initial bet, a total of £50. You also earn from the other part of the bet – the particular place. Here you earn ¼ of the ratio, i.e. ¼ of 4/1, which makes 1/1, which in turn means that you earn £10 +£10 initial bet or a total of £20. Your net profit, in this case, equals £50. If the horse on which you bet finishes second or third, you only win the place part of the bet.

Here you can read more about the bets terminology.

What to pay attention to while betting on horse races?

If everyone could guess the exact result on horse races, probably many bookmakers would have gone bankrupt. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken in consideration before you make your choice for the winner in the race. The most important of them are:

  • The horse’s current shape
  • The origin of the horse and its pedigree
  • What is the mood of the coaching staff and the jockey
  • Is the surface of the race a good one for the horse
  • Are the current weather conditions suitable for the horses
  • What weight is given in the handicap
  • Whether and how are the odds for the horse to win moving

Usually, bookmakers offer you history and statistics from past events where you can make a reference for a lot of factors that you would like to consider before betting on your favourite.

Atanas Tanev

Expert Atanas Tanev

Atanas is the founder of the Efirbet Project, and he is the guy behind everything on the website - reviews, tips, bonuses, design, etc. He is passionate about online marketing, affiliates, entrepreneurship and sports.
Published on 14 March 2017, last edit on 25 October 2019