How to bet on horse racing
Better prices, more information and ease of access has transformed the industry and now is the best time to get involved, whether it be on your desktop, laptop, mobile phone or android device.
There is an abundance of different betting options available to horse racing punters. Listed below are the most popular options available at most bookmakers around the world.
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Horse racing betting options
- Win/Place: Bookmakers will offer two face up values on their websites. The first will be the ‘win’ option where punters must select the winner of the race. The second is the place option where the nominated runner can finish in either first, second or third place. Place odds are typically lower than win odds, due to their increased probability. Punters can select more than one horse to either win or place in any race.
- Each Way: This combines both win and place into one solo bet. A $1 each way bet gives you a $1 win and $1 place bet, costing a total of $2. This is a popular bet type for punters who feel as though there is good value with both markets.
- Quinella: Horses must finish in both first and second for this bet type to cash in. Typically, a punter would select two or more horses and they must finish 1st and 2nd in order to win. Payouts are pre-determined by the bookmakers depending on win prices and win pools. This betting option is popular with most horse racing bettors as the payouts can be rewarding.
- Trifecta: Much like the Quinella bet, except this requires punters to select the first three across the line. A full unit (100%) boxed trifecta costs $6 if you select only three horses, but there are options to include more horses for a smaller percentage. Depending on how much you want to spend, you are able to include as many horses as you want. Boxed trifecta’s mean your selected runners can finish in any order, whereas a straight trifecta limits your runners to finish in order of your selection.
- First Four: Bettors must select the first four horses in the race. This option costs more than trifecta’s but the payouts are very rewarding and can often reach six-figure totals. When the pools reach high levels, this is when punters tend to go for first four bets.
Exotic horse racing betting options
- Jockey Challenges: Most bookmakers will offer a jockey challenge on midweek and weekend meetings. Punters get the chance to bet on selected jockeys who compete for points throughout the day. 3 points are awarded for first, 2 for second and 3 for third. Depending on how strong the jockey’s rides are will depend on what price they pay. This is a fun option for punters who like to follow certain jockeys.
- Doubles: This is where you must select consecutive winners from race-to-race. Bookmakers select which races they will be holding doubles on and punters will try select the winner from both races. Payouts are typically better than what a multi-bet would pay out, so doubles are viable options for those who like two horses in consecutive races.
- Trebles: Exactly like doubles but with an extra race thrown in. Punters must select three consecutive winners from three nominated races on the card. Trebles usually pay very well and you can box as many runners up depending on how much you want to spend.
- Quaddie (Quadrella): Bookmakers will often offer two quaddies on one race meeting. The first will be an early quaddie which requires punters to select four consecutive winners. A quaddie will also be held on the final four races of the day and the payouts depend on how much is in the quaddie pool. Bookmakers tend to ‘hype’ the quaddie pools to generate big interest in this option.
- Fixed Odds: Fixed Odds betting is the act of locking in a price at any time. Bookmakers will offer ‘set’ prices throughout the day where any punter can lock in that price, regardless of any market movement. This is a big business for many punters who think they will get value at a certain price. Markets for the bigger races will often open throughout the week, allowing punters to get into the fixed odds market as soon as possible.
Listed below are the best and most popular races to be on throughout the racing world, including in the U.S, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Europe and Asia.
These races attract the biggest crowds, biggest punters and the best deals for those wishing to bet on the big races.
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United States – Triple Crown Series
The Triple Crown of United States Racing includes three races run over a span of one calendar month.
On the first Saturday in May the Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs for a purse of $2 million. The Grade 1 for three-year-old’s is run over 10 furlongs (2000 metres) and it is undoubtedly the most popular race in North America for not only horse racing fans but punters alike.
Dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, the Kentucky Derby stops not only the United States, but race-goers all around the world stop who watch the best three-year-old stayers battle it out.
The first leg of the Triple Crown is steeped in history and has been won by North America’s best thoroughbreds. In recent history, horses such as California Chrome and I’ll Have Another have taken out the roses, but champions of the turf which include Big Brown, Barbaro, Smarty Jones, War Emblem and Secretariat back in 1973, have all paved the way for future champions.
2015 Kentucky Derby market and odds:
|Wake Up Nick||75/1|
The second leg of the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Grade 1 over 9.5 furlongs (1900 metres) has been running since 1873 and carries a purse of $1.5 million. Held only two weeks following the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is a vital race for the winner of the Derby, in order to have a chance to win the Triple Crown.
The second most popular race in North America, the Preakness Stakes has a unique atmosphere, different to the other two Triple Crown races. “Infield Fest” enabled patrons to bring a party atmosphere, especially to the infield. They adopted a ‘bring your own booze’ policy until 2009, later banned after videos were released showing poor crowd behaviour.
This saw the attendance drop from over 100,000 to around 77,000, but they have since recovered and the attendance records are high.
Betting on the Preakness Stakes is usually highly influenced by the Kentucky Derby winner. A large majority of the public want to see a Triple Crown winner, therefore they back the Kentucky Derby winner regardless. This can open up oppourtunities to back other runners at good value, making the Preakness Stakes a major player for horse racing bettors.
The final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. The Grade 1 is run over 12 furlongs (2400 metres) and is usually the toughest race of the three, due to its longer distance.
The race nicknamed “the test of a champion” is held approximately four to five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and takes place at Belmont, New York.
The purse of $1.5 million often attracts horses that haven’t competed in the other two legs of the Triple Crown, due to the distance, so this can often throw in a curve ball to punters.
The addition of “outside” horses has made the Belmont Stakes a must-see for all racing fans, especially if the Triple Crown is on the line. If you’re after a true slog on the dirt track, then betting the Belmont Stakes is the place to bet. It also provides the potential to watch racing history.
The Triple Crown has been won on 11 occasions, the first by Sir Barton in 1919 and the most recent by Affirmed in 1978. All champions in their own right, no thoroughbred compared to 1973 champion Secretariat.
The “People’s Champion” won all three races in record time – all of which currently stand – and it captured the hearts of all horse racing fans and those with little racing experience.
The Triple Crown hasn’t been won for over 30 years, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. California Chrome won the first two legs in 2014 before finishing in a tie for fourth in the Belmont Stakes.
Australian Racing – Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s biggest thoroughbred race. The 3200 metre (16 furlong) race is open to any horse older than three years of age and it carries an extremely large purse of $6.2 million.
The toughest test of endurance the southern hemisphere has takes place at Flemington Race Course on the first Tuesday of November and it is so popular, the day is a national holiday in Australia.
Betting on the Melbourne Cup is a tradition in Australia and it’s never been easier to bet on the Melbourne Cup. The market for the great race opens the day after the race – rarely seen in horse racing betting.
The Melbourne Cup attracts horses from all over the world and is seen as one of the most sought after races in the world. Recent overseas winners include the French based Dunaden, Americain, Protectionist and the Japanese-trained Delta Blues.
Australian-trained winners have come with Fiorente, Green Moon, Shocking and three-time winner Makybe Diva – the first horse to win three Melbourne Cups.
2015 Melbourne Cup market and odds:
|Protectionist||$12 (11/1 or +1100)|
|Adelaide||$17 (16/1 or +1600)|
|Almandin||$21 (20/1 or +2000)|
|Bondeiger||$26 (25/1 or +2500)|
|Real Love||$31 (30/1 or +3000)|
|The Offer||$34 (33/1 or +3300)|
The Melbourne Cup takes place on the second day of the four-day carnival. Day 1 takes place on the prior Saturday at Flemington where the headlining race is the Victorian Derby.
The Derby is run over 2500 metres (12.5 furlongs) for three-year-old’s only and it has a Group One status. The race carries a purse of $1.5 million and despite the race being the main attraction, the day is known to be the “fashion” day of the carnival.
The third day of the carnival is held on the Thursday following the Melbourne Cup and features the Oaks. The Oaks is a race only for fillies and although it isn’t the most popular race during the carnival, big crowds make their way to Flemington and it still remains a popular race for bettors.
The final day falls on the following Saturday and includes the Group One Emirates Stakes. Australia’s best milers take part and the race is popular for many reasons. Not only is the field very even, but it’s the last chance to take part in the Melbourne Cup Carnival so punters don’t shy away from having a bet on the Emirates Stakes.
Australian Racing – The Championships
The total prize money is in excess of $20 million with the Doncaster Handicap being the main event on Day One.
The Doncaster Handicap is a popular race in Australia and is often considered the toughest mile in racing. The Group One worth $3 million is for three-year-old’s and upwards and the 2015 edition will be the 150th running.
The betting market for the Doncaster Handicap opens very early in the year and can be found on any major bookmaking website in Australia and around the world.
The current market includes Hong Kong champion Able Friend – who is considered the best miler in the world – and plenty of local and overseas chances.
2015 Doncaster Handicap market:
|Able Friend||$6 (5/1 or +500)|
|He’s Your Man||$11 (10/1 or +1000)|
|Shooting To Win||$11|
|Royal Descent||$13 (12/1 or +1200)|
|Sweynesse||$15 (14/1 or +1400)|
|Boban||$17 (16/1 or +1600)|
Also on The Championships card is the ATC Australian Derby for three-year-old’s. The $2 million feature has been won by many of Australia’s up-and-coming young horses and maintains its status as a major betting race for punters all around the world.
Australia’s premier 3YO staying race was first run in 1861 and continues to excite horse racing punters with its wide open field and unknowing nature. The market is current open for this feature where the New Zealand-trained Turn Me Loose is well favoured in the market.
2015 ATC Australia Derby leading fancies:
|Preferment||$5 (4/1 or +400)|
|Hampton Court||$7 (6/1 or +600)|
|Turn Me Loose||$8 (7/1 or +700)|
Other Group One races on The Championships Day One card include the T.J Smith Stakes and the Inglis Sires’ Stakes for two-year-old’s.
Day Two features the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes which is a Group One weight-for-age championship. The Queen Elizabeth Stakes is the world’s richest 2000 metre (10 furlong) race on turf and is beginning to capture the eye of international punters.
Horses and punters from all over the world are taking notice since the inclusion of The Championships and the Queen Elizabeth betting market is now dominated by overseas entrants.
2015 Queen Elizabeth market:
|To The World||$6 (5/1 or +500)|
|Protectionist||$7 (6-1 or +600)|
|Ivanhowe||$11 (10-1 or +1000)|
|Farraaj||$13 (12-1 or +1200)|
Other races on the Day Two card include the Group One Sydney Cup, Australian Oaks and the Queen of the Turf Stakes.
With every year The Championships will continue to grow and become a feature meeting for all international and national horse racing and punting fans.
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Royal Ascot Carnival
The Royal Ascot Carnival is where the Queen comes to play and the racing is some of the best around the world.
The carnival stretches over five consecutive days in June where horses travel from all parts of the world – Australia, New Zealand, North American, Asia and other parts of Europe.
Day One kicks off on a Tuesday and features three Group One races. These include The Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes and the St. James Palace Stakes.
Day Two features six races but only one is run at Group One level. Considered one of the most quiet days during the carnival, Day Two is headlined by the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Day Three also features only one Group One – the Gold Cup – the longest race throughout the carnival (4000 metres or 20 furlongs) and always attracts a very big field where punters often get massive value. Due to the big field size, the favourite usually starts at around $6 (5/1) and punters enjoy the value available.
The market is currently under revision at most bookmakers but you can still bet into some of the more favoured horses in the market.
|Forgotten Rules||$4 (3/1 or +300)|
|Pale Mimosa||$13 (12/1 or +1200)|
|Pique Sous||$17 (16/1 or +1600)|
|High Jinx||$26 (25/1 or +2500)|
Day Four’s biggest race is the Coronation Stakes for three-year-old fillies only. The mile race has been won by some impressive fillies in recent times and it is usually won from British stables.
The final day, Day Five, features one Group One with the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The sprinting feature has been won by some of the world’s best thoroughbreds, including Australian champion Black Caviar in 2012 and Irish champion Slade Power in 2014.
Dubai World Cup Carnival
The Dubai World Cup is the feature race during the World Cup Carnival at Meydan and the North American-trained California Chrome is currently nominated for one of the world’s biggest races.
The 2000 metre (10 furlong) race is run for a total purse of $10 million and it is the final race on the World Cup meeting.
The very best thoroughbreds in the world have won the World Cup – going back to the American-trained Cigar back in 1996. In fact, American trained horses have a great record with wins coming by Silver Charm, Perfectly Pleasant, Roses in May, Electrocutionist, Well Armed and Animal Kingdom.
This year will see California Chrome represent North America, among the wealth of chances from around the globe.
2015 Dubai World Cup market and odds:
|Toast of New York||$7 (6/1 or +600)|
|California Chrome||$8 (7/1 or +700)|
|Shared Belief||$10 (9/1 or +900)|
|Tonalist||$12 (11/1 or +1100)|
|Lea||$13 (12/1 or +1200)|
|African Story||$19 (18/1 or +1800)|
|Red Cadeaux||$34 (33/1 or +3300)|
New Zealand Racing – Derby and Cup Day
The New Zealand Derby and the Auckland Cup are the two most popular races in New Zealand and are often good guides into betting on both Australian and Hong Kong markets.
The New Zealand Derby was a fixture on Boxing Day each year but was changed to early March to allow the three-year-old’s to mature more. It has now become a permanent fixture of the Auckland Cup Carnival and remains one of New Zealand’s richest and most sought after races.
The Auckland Cup is run over 3200 metres (16 furlongs) and is New Zealand’s premier staying event. No horses outside of Australia or New Zealand have ever entered the event but the race is gaining popularity among race goers and punters alike.
2015 New Zealand Derby market:
|Taken The Liberty||$31|
2015 Auckland Cup market:
|Show The World||$12|