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Everything you’d ever need to know about horse racing

Horse racing is one of the world’s greatest sporting events, with the excitement and tension of each race present from start to finish. It’s this electric atmosphere that makes the sport so appealing for those who like to bet, too. 

While it’s relatively easy to get the hang of the rules in terms of placing your first wager, the more knowledge you have will equate to the more bets you win. Here’s everything you’d ever need to know about horse racing. 

Placing your bet

Placing your bet is all part of the entertainment when it comes to horse racing. Make use of online resources and tipsters that provide information about the race, and ensure you understand what type of bet you’re placing and the pay-out you’d receive if you were to win with the bookies or online.

Understanding the odds of winning is the best place to start, and these are displayed as fractions – for instance, the odds 3/1 would result in you receiving £3 back for every £1 bet (plus the original stake) should the horse you’ve bet on win.

Once you’ve got into the swing of betting on horses, there’s nothing left to do but place your wagers and enjoy the races. 

The types of racing

Understanding the different types of horse racing in the UK is important when deciding which races you want to bet on.

There are two distinct branches – flat racing and National Hunt racing.

Flat racing consists of the horses racing one another down a straight or curved track, and whoever reaches the post first is crowned the winner. 

National Hunt racing includes obstacles around the track in the form of hurdles or steeplechases. The steeplechases result in the horses jumping higher fences than regular hurdles, and often include open ditches and water jumps along the way. 

Learning the lingo

Knowledge is power in the world of betting, so the more jargon you know about the sport, the more likely you are to make better educated estimates.

Take some time ahead of the race, like the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 to clue yourself in on common words and phrases that are regularly used within the sport so that you can maximise your understanding before parting with your money.

Making use of the paddock

Looking at the horses while they get saddled up in the paddock is one of the best uses of your time before a race, as it’s here you can gain a better idea of the horse’s personalities and appearances.

While there are many different factors to consider such as the jockey and the trainer, ideally your horse should be looking calm and alert with a shiny coat. Horses that seem stressed or are sweating excessively aren’t generally going to cope well with the pressures of the race. 

Form history 

Another useful tip to help you pick the right horse is by looking at their form history. The form history is a record of significant details regarding the horse’s past performances and can be helpful to punters when deciding who to back.

Previous wins, earnings, the horse’s preferred running style and their bloodline can all be clues as to what their performance will be like on the day, so look at their lifetime record carefully.