Horse racing happens to be one of the oldest sports having been played for several centuries. Along with the racing action itself came the opportunity to bet and enjoy the game even more. Horse racing betting has certainly picked up a lot in the last few decades with the growth of online betting options. It has opened up several new markets, but there still remains a sizeable population yet to experience the sport or the betting that goes along with it.

Horse racing betting involves several intricacies and without being aware of such details would only end up in racking up losses. Here is a guide for such a novice to learn about betting on horse races by picking the best odds.

Types of Horse Racing

The United Kingdom has been a hotbed for horse racing for several centuries. In the last century, 3 major forms of racing have dominated the game. The flat and National Hunt racing is the most predominant with the latter comprising of hurdles and steeplechase events.

Flats – A traditional, fast, and straightforward event which consists of several horses running flat track to determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. The track would either be straight or oval.

National Hunt Hurdles – Just like a flat event, horses will have to negotiate hurdles on the track. As a result, it is slightly more complicated than the flat races.

National Hunt Steeplechases – Regarded as much more difficult than the hurdle events, steeplechases involved horses and jockeys having to negotiate far bigger obstacles on the track. There may even be water jumps and open ditches along the way. It is not only more dangerous, but it is also immensely exciting.

Race Classification

Classification of the races helps even out the competition with the best horses competing against each other, while lower grade horses meet opponents of a similar level. Thus, the classification of the race determines the prestige of the event. In turn, it also determines the prize money that a winner would receive from a certain event.

National Hunt races are classified from Grade 1 to bumpers. The Grade 1, 2, and 3 rank some of the best events. This will be followed by listed events, which are not up to the mark of a Grade race but slightly better than the handicap races. Bumpers are the lowest ranked National Hunt events.

Picking the Best Odds

A major element of winning a bet is within finding value amongst several markets. It is easier said than done, as a punter has to look closely at various elements of a horse race in order to arrive at a runner with the best possible odds.

Thankfully, horse racing has a plethora of statistics – especially for the Grand National at – which are available easily across the Internet. One of the most important would be the form of the horse, which is reflected by a series of numbers on the card. These numbers show the position of the horse in the last 5 or 6 races. The weight of the horse is the next element that needs to be read. It will provide information about the handicap. Comparing the weight of the horse with its weight from the previous races will help a punter judge its potential in the upcoming race.

Various other factors that play a role are the distance of the race, track surface, form of the trainer, past performances from a horse on a similar track, past performances from the horse on the same track, and past performances from the horse on a race of a similar distance.

How to Bet on Horse Racing?

Bookmakers offer different markets when it comes to horse racing. They are:

Win – It is the simplest form of betting and the punter needs to back a specific horse to finish in a specific place.

Each Way – This bet is to back the horse to win and also secure a specific place. It ranks as one of the most popular types of bet since the payout is quite high if both events occur.

Straight Forecast – This bet is all about picking 2 horses and backing them to finish in a specific order. The returns are quite high, but so is the risk involved.

Tricast – Tricast involve backing 3 horses to finish in a specific order. This bet can provide serious returns, but it is only for the brave.


Horse racing happens to be one of the most popular sports, and betting on this sport can be hugely rewarding too. The probability of an evening at a top racing venue watching the best animals at the peak of their powers, while also making some money, is unparalleled.