Horse Racing Types Of Bets
Win Only Bets
Horse Racing bookmakers offer a price known as odds. If the horse you are backing has odds of 9/1 to win the race and it does so, you would receive nine units in return for every unit you staked, in addition to getting your stake back. For instance, a £5 bet on a winning horse at 9/1 odds would earn you £45 in winnings, in addition to your £5 stake being returned. This example is a “win only” single bet. You could also back the horse to finish first, second or third, this is a “place only” single bet and it will reduce your odds greatly.
Each Way Bets
Another option is the each-way bet, where you split your stake in half, with one half placed on the horse to win and the other half placed on the horse to place (usually the top 2-3 places depending on the number of runners) at fractional odds. Since this is technically two bets, if you want to place the same stake as you would for a win only bet, you have to double your stake for an each-way bet.
Straight Forecasts and Reverse Forecasts
Straight forecasts and reverse forecasts are another typical bet in the horse racing world. A straight forecast means you are staking on specific horses finishing in the order you pick for first and second places. Alternatively, with a reverse forecast your selections are the two horses you believe will be the first two across the line, regardless of the order. This type of bet effectively doubles your stake, as you are placing two bets – one for each possible order of finish. Keep in mind that reverse forecasts typically offer shorter odds than straight forecasts, due to the increased chances of winning.
Multiple Bets & Accumulators
Additionally, there are other more complex types of bets for experienced bettors, such as Lucky 15, Lucky 31, and Lucky 63 bets. These bets combine multiple selections in various combinations, increasing the potential payout but also increasing the risk. It’s important to understand the rules and potential outcomes of these bets before placing them. It’s always a good idea to start with simpler bets and gradually increase the complexity as you gain more experience and understanding of horse racing betting.
Betting at different racecourses can also be a factor to consider when placing a bet on the horses. Some race courses may be known for favouring certain types of horses or jockeys, or may have particular track conditions that can affect the outcome of a race. It’s important to do your research and understand the nuances of each race course before placing your bets. Additionally, some bookmakers may offer better odds or promotions for races at certain courses, so it can be worth shopping around to find the best value for your bets.
Betting Without Markets
Betting without the favourite can also result in better odds for the horse you’re backing, as the favourite’s absence from the market means the odds for the other runners will shift slightly. It’s worth noting that not all bookmakers offer this market, and it may only be available for certain races or events.
Horse Racing Online Betting Exchanges
Online betting exchanges offer a unique opportunity for experienced punters to act as bookmakers and offer bets on horses to lose. In other words, they can “lay” a horse, which means they win if the horse loses but have to pay out to anyone who backs the horse to win.
Additionally, many exchanges offer the option to place “In-Running” bets, which means you can place bets while the race is still ongoing and as the odds fluctuate. This can be a great way to capitalize on sudden shifts in momentum during a race. However, it’s important to note that In-Running bets can be risky and should only be attempted by experienced bettors who are able to make quick, informed decisions under pressure.
Making Selections and Picking Winners
If you are serious about picking a winning horse, there are several factors to consider rather than just picking a horse based on its name or the colours of the jockey’s silks. Some important considerations include the horse’s odds, recent and historical form, the trainer and stable, the jockey’s form and ability, the horse’s suitability to the ground conditions or “going”, and the weather forecast leading up to and on race day. By taking these factors into account, you can make a more informed decision and increase your chances of picking a winner.
You should also take into account the race distance, the number of horses in the race, and the weight the horse is carrying in a handicap race. Tips from trusted sources can also be valuable, but it is important to remember that nothing is guaranteed in horse racing. Keep an eye on fluctuating odds and be aware of late non-runners, as these can have a significant impact on your bet.
It’s important to also monitor the early prices provided by bookmakers, typically available online the day before the race, and compare them to the final starting price (SP) at race time. Bookmakers often provide best price insurance in case the SP is more favourable for the bettor than the early price they placed their bet at.
If you’re not familiar with Rule 4, you may be surprised to find out that it could impact your payout. Rule 4 is a deduction rule that applies when there are non-runners in a horse race after the final declarations have been made. This rule could also apply to other markets with a set number of participants, in case one or more of them are withdrawn.
The deduction from winnings depends on the odds of the withdrawn horse(s) in relation to the odds of the winning horse. Bookmakers use Rule 4 to protect themselves from potential losses due to non-runners.
Once the final declarations have been made, if any of the horses are declared non-runners, the odds for your selected horse may not accurately reflect its chances of winning the race. As a result, if your chosen horse wins, your bookmaker will reduce your payout based on the price of the withdrawn runner.
If a non-runner has high odds of winning, such as 28/1, then there will be no deductions made to the pay-out. However, if a more likely winner, such as a 7/4 favourite, is declared a non-runner, the price of the remaining field will be affected more significantly. Therefore, the shorter the price of the withdrawn horse, the greater the reduction in winnings through Rule 4. In some rare instances, if a strong favourite with odds of, say, 1/8, is declared a non-runner, a deduction of 80% of winnings, or 80 pence in every £1, may be applied.
Your stake refund rights on a withdrawn selection or any subsequent non-runner prior to coming under starters are not affected by Rule 4.
How Place Terms Work
It’s important to remember that when you place an each-way bet, you are actually placing two separate bets – one for the horse to win and another for it to place. The place terms can vary depending on the number of horses in the race and the type of race. The most common place terms are as follows:
- Handicaps of 16 or more runners: 1/4 win odds on first four places
- Handicaps of 12 to 15 runners: 1/4 win odds on first three places
- All other races of 8 or more runners: 1/5 win odds on first three places
- All races of 5 to 7 runners: 1/4 win odds on first two places
- All races of fewer than 5 runners: win only
Experienced bettors are accustomed to the calculations required to determine the “over-round” in a win market, and can use the same methodology to compute place odds based on those win odds.
The calculation is to sum the percentages arising from dividing each horse’s fractional odds, plus one, into 100 (if working with decimal odds, such as on an Exchange, the “plus one” is not required). So, a horse that is 10/1 becomes 100/(10+1) = 9.09%.
When you add up the percentages for all the horses in a race, they will usually add up to more than 100, typically in the range of 110 to 120 for most races. This total percentage represents the amount you would need to stake on each horse in proportion to their odds to ensure a return of 100 regardless of the outcome.
Similarly, the place odds can be calculated using the same method as the win odds. For instance, in a race with 10 runners, if a horse’s win odds are 20/1, its place odds would be 4/1 (20 divided by 5). To calculate the place percentage, divide 100 by the sum of the place odds and one. In this example, the place percentage would be 100/(4+1) = 20%.
To get the per-place percentage for a race, you need to divide the sum of the place percentages for all runners by the number of places on offer in the race. For example, if the sum of place percentages for a 10-runner race is 120%, and there are three places on offer, then the per-place percentage would be 120%/3 = 40%.
Flat and Jump Racing
Flat racing is a type of horse racing that takes place on a level track, with no obstacles or fences involved, as opposed to Jump racing.
Horse racing in the flat is not only a test of a horse’s speed and stamina, but also of the jockey’s skill in positioning the horse at the right time and deciding when to hold back or ask for more effort.
Most flat races take place on grass tracks, but some racecourses have introduced all-weather surfaces to ensure racing can continue even in challenging weather conditions. The majority of all-weather races are held during the winter months.
The QIPCO British Champions Series comprises the 35 biggest flat races in the UK. These races are considered to be the most prestigious in the sport. The major flat racing festivals in the British racing calendar usually take place between the months of May and October.
Jump racing involves horses and jockeys navigating obstacles or fences throughout the race. These obstacles come in two forms: hurdles, which are smaller, and fences, which are larger.
Jump racing involves testing the horse’s stamina and jumping ability, which is why the horses that participate in this type of racing tend to be older, larger, and more mature than their flat racing counterparts.
Jump racing happens all year round, but the biggest races and festivals tend to happen between October and April. The most prestigious jump races in the UK include the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National, King George VI Chase, and the Champion Hurdle. These races are among the most-watched and most-bet on races in the UK racing calendar.
The Cheltenham Festival
The highlight of the Jump season is undoubtedly the Cheltenham Festival, which takes place over four days in March. This event attracts the best National Hunt horses from both the UK and Ireland, and is considered one of the biggest racing festivals in the world. The pinnacle of the festival is the Gold Cup, which takes place on the final day and is the crème de la crème event of the Jump racing calendar. Alongside the intense competition between horses, the festival also brings out the good-natured rivalry between England and Ireland in the form of the Prestbury Cup, which is awarded to the nation that has the most winners throughout the week.
The four-day Cheltenham Festival features a total of 28 races, with seven races taking place each day. Among them, some races hold a higher status and are referred to as Championship Races, with one such race held on each day of the festival. These highly anticipated races generate a lot of excitement among punters who eagerly await them throughout the year. The race schedule for the festival is as follows:
- Supreme Novices Hurdle
- Arkle Challenge Trophy
- Handicap Steeple Chase
- Champion Hurdle
- Mares Hurdle
- Novices Handicap Chase
- National Hunt Chase
- Ballymore Novices Hurdle
- Brown Advisory Chase
- Coral Cup
- Queen Mother Champion Chase
- Cross Country Chase
- Boodles Juvenile Hurdle
- Champion Bumper
- Turners Novices Chase
- Network Final
- Ryanair Chase
- Stayers Hurdle
- Festival Plate
- Dawn Run Novices Hurdle
- Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir
- Triumph Hurdle
- County Hurdle
- Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
- Cheltenham Gold Cup
- Foxhunter Chase
- Grand Annual Chase
- Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Each of the main Championship races are as follows:
Tuesday – Champion Hurdle 15:30
The highlight of day one is the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy, which covers a distance of 2 miles and half a furlong and is the fourth race of the day, marking the peak of the event. Buveur d’Air and Honeysuckle are two of the most successful horses in the history of the race, both winning it back to back.
As for betting patterns, trainers such as Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have recently won the race four times each and are worth watching out for. Additionally, horses owned by J.P. McManus have dominated the event, winning it four times consecutively from 2017 to 2020.
Wednesday – Queen Mother Chase 15:30
On day two of the Cheltenham Festival, the 2-mile-long Queen Mother Champion Steeplechase takes center stage as the main event. It’s one of the four Championship races and has the biggest prize money of the day at £400,000. In recent years, the race has been won by Altior twice, as well as Sprinter Sacre, Politologue, and Put The Kettle On.
Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in recent years, having won the race three times since 2016. As such, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on for this year’s event.
Thursday – The Stayers’ Hurdle 15:30
Day three of the festival features two noteworthy races, one of which is the Ryanair Steeple Chase at 14:50, but the highlight of the day is The Stayers Hurdle. This race covers a distance of 3 miles and has produced some iconic horses in the past, with Big Buck’s being the most notable, winning the race for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012. Since then, no horse has managed to win it more than once.
Friday – Cheltenham Gold Cup 15:30
The most prestigious race of the festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is held on the final day and offers the largest prize purse of £625,000. It is the race that every jockey, trainer and owner dreams of winning. Recent winners of this iconic race include A Plus Tard, Minella Indo and the Willie Mullins and Paul Townend combination securing back-to-back victories with Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020.
The Gold Cup is a highly competitive race with no clear patterns or dominant trainers. The eventual winner will be determined by which horse performs the best on the day of the race. This makes for an exciting and unpredictable event that truly tests the skill and ability of both the horses and their jockeys. The Gold Cup is the ultimate prize in horse racing and winning it is a dream come true for any owner, trainer, or jockey.
The Grand National Festival
The highly anticipated Grand National Festival takes place in April, a three-day racing extravaganza that leads up to one of the most captivating and renowned horse races in the world. The race is so famous that its jumps, such as Bechers Brook and Canal Turn, are as famous as some of the participating horses.
From legends like Red Rum to recent winners like Tiger Roll, this race is often regarded as the most exhilarating in the sport of horse racing, and it’s easy to understand why. Held at Aintree Racecourse, situated on the outskirts of Liverpool, the city comes alive during the three days for a spectacle that is not to be missed.
The QIPCO Guineas Festival
In May, the UK’s flat season kicks off with the QIPCO Guineas Festival. This highly anticipated event takes place at Newmarket, which is often referred to as the “Home of Racing.” The festival commences with a thrilling start with the first two Classics of the season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas for colts and the QIPCO 1000 Guineas for fillies. Additionally, this festival features two other prestigious races, namely the Derby and the St Leger, making it the opening leg of the Triple Crown.
The Investec Derby Festival
In June, the Investec Derby Festival takes place at Epsom, showcasing two prestigious Classic races – the Investec Oaks for fillies and the Investec Derby for colts. The Derby race is not only the richest horse race in Britain, but also an event that has been replicated worldwide. Over the years, the Queen has been a regular attendee, along with other well-known personalities, to witness the top three-year-old horses battle it out for one of the most sought-after prizes in the sport of horse racing.
Royal Ascot, a horse racing festival held over five days in mid-June, is renowned for its pageantry, spectacle, and royal procession that inaugurates each day’s events. With its highly anticipated and fiercely contested races, the festival never fails to deliver an impressive display of fashion and style. It is a globally recognized event that requires little introduction.
In addition to its reputation for pageantry and style, Royal Ascot is also famous for the quality of its horse racing. The festival features a total of 30 races, including eight Group 1 races, which are considered the highest level of competition in horse racing. These races attract some of the best horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the world, making Royal Ascot a truly international event.
The most prestigious race of the festival is the Gold Cup, a Group 1 race that takes place on the Thursday of the event. This race is one of the most coveted prizes in horse racing and has been won by some of the sport’s greatest horses, including Yeats, who won the race four times in a row between 2006 and 2009.
Glorious Goodwood takes place in late July and is known for its five days of stunning racing, which consistently draws some of the world’s top horses, with the QATAR Sussex Stakes on Wednesday being a particular highlight. The event is also famous for its unique tradition of panama hats and linen suits, which contribute to the summer garden party atmosphere that sets it apart from other racing festivals.
York Ebor Festival
In August, the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival moves the racing action to York for four days. The festival is held on the renowned Knavesmire racecourse, which has hosted many of the greatest horses in history, including Frankel and more recently the superstar filly, Enable.
One of the festival’s standout events is the Ebor, which is Europe’s richest handicap race. The Ebor is known for being a challenging puzzle for horse racing enthusiasts and never fails to provide an exciting and unpredictable race. With the festival’s rich history and impressive lineup of horses, it’s no wonder that the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival is a must-attend event for racing fans.
The St Leger Festival
The Doncaster St Leger Festival, which takes place in September, is home to the world’s oldest Classic race. The festival begins with the Leger Legends Charity Race, a heartwarming event where retired racing celebrities return to the saddle to raise money for worthy causes.
As the festival progresses, all eyes turn to the St Leger race, which has earned the reputation of being the most prestigious of the Classics. The saying goes, “The fastest horse wins the Guineas; the luckiest the Derby – and the best horse wins the St Leger,” highlighting the race’s reputation for being a true test of a horse’s ability.
With the festival’s rich history and the excitement surrounding the St Leger, it’s no surprise that racing enthusiasts from around the world flock to Doncaster to witness this thrilling event.
QIPCO British Champions Day
QIPCO British Champions Day marks the grand finale of the UK Flat season and is held at Ascot. The festival’s centerpiece is the QIPCO Champion Stakes, which has been the backdrop for some incredible scenes, including being the final race of the legendary Frankel, and was won in 2014 by his half-brother, Noble Mission.
As the richest raceday in the UK, QIPCO British Champions Day features some of the most exciting and highly anticipated races of the season. However, the action off the track is equally impressive, with a range of entertainment and hospitality options available to guests.
With its history of iconic moments and the thrill of the racing, QIPCO British Champions Day is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the UK racing calendar and a fitting finale to the season.
The Cheltenham November meeting
As the autumn sets in, the National Hunt season returns at Cheltenham with The November Meeting, a three-day festival of exciting racing. The meeting features a range of events, from the twists and turns of the cross-country course to the Paddy Power Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious races in the National Hunt calendar.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been won by some of the biggest names in horse racing and is often seen as a stepping stone to success at the highest level. With its challenging jumps and demanding course, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is a true test of a horse’s jumping ability and stamina.
The King George VI
The King George VI meeting at Kempton, held on Boxing Day, is a fantastic way to soak up the festive atmosphere with family and friends while witnessing one of the most prestigious contests in Jump racing.
The highlight of the meeting is the King George VI Chase, a thrilling race that features some of the best horses and jockeys in the sport. With its demanding course and challenging jumps, the King George VI Chase is a true test of a horse’s stamina and jumping ability, making for an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for racing enthusiasts.
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