Horse racing was first introduced in the UK in the mid 1600’s with Newmarket becoming the first official venue for horse racing. Horse racing quickly spread across the world with British settlers bringing horses to American and the first US racetrack being constructed in Long Island in 1665.
People have been betting on horse racing since it began with races for the first 50 or so years being between two horses before evolving into multi horse races.
Over 300 years later, horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world to bet on with it being a dominant sport in the UK and Ireland as well as being extremely popular in other countries such as France, the US, South Africa and Japan.
Some sports such as football have several dozen different betting markets where you can bet on anything from the correct score to how many metres a player will run during a game. Thankfully, horse racing doesn’t have nearly as many markets with the main aim generally to bet on the horse which you think will win the race. However, if you’re not used to betting on horses, there are a few other bet types which you should be aware of.
The most common bet in horse racing is to bet on the winner of the race. If your horse wins, your bet wins. You are usually given fixed odds at the time of betting so that you know what your returns will be if your horse wins. However, you can also choose to accept the starting price (SP) of the horse which will mean that your bet will be paid out at the price of the horse at the time of the off, should you horse win.
Another extremely popular type of bet on horse racing are Each Way bets. Each way bets consists of two bets in one with your stake being split equally between a bet on the horse to win the race and a bet on the horse to finish in a place position. The number of places which the bookmaker pays out on will depend on how many horses are running in the race as well as the individual bookmakers terms.
Each way bets are often the preferred bet type for horse racing as your horse doesn’t have to win the race for you to see a return from your bet. For a fuller explanation read our in depth guide to Each Way Betting .
As well as being able to bet on a horse to win OR place with each way bets, you can also just bet on a horse to finish in a place position. This can often be a good bet if there is a strong favourite in a race and you are intending to bet on a different horse as it will be unlikely to beat the favourite and win but could finish in one of the place positions.
Many bookmakers allow you to bet on a horse to win a race when excluding certain horses. For example, if there is a strong favourite in a race, you could bet on the second favourite W/O the favourite. Essentially, this rules the favourite out of the race with your bet being settled on the finishing positions of all other horses.
When placing a forecast bet, you choose two horses. You are betting on your two horses to finish 1st and 2nd in the race in a particular order.
Reverse forecast bets are similar to above where you choose two horses to finish in 1st and 2nd place. However, the difference is that it doesn’t matter which order your two horses finish 1st & 2nd.
Lucky 15’s are a popular bet type with horse racing punters. These bets consist of four selections and 15 different bets – 4 x singles, 6 x doubles, 4 x trebles and 1 x fourfold.
Whatever stake you enter for a Lucky 15 will be multiplied by 15 to give you your overall stake.
Lucky 15 bets are often placed using relatively small stakes. Only one of your selections needs to win for you to see a return but it is possible that you could receive huge returns if all four of your selections win. Some bookmakers offer valuable bonuses on Lucky15 bets , you can read our guide to Bookies offering Lucky15 bets on horse racing .
Yankee bets are similar to Lucky 15’s except that the single bets are removed. This means that at least two of your selections must win for you to see a return. A Yankee consists of 11 bets which include 6 x doubles, 4 x trebles and 1 x fourfold.
Placepot bets are a type of pool bet. You select six horses from six nominated races. If all six of your selections finish in a place position of their race, you will win a share of the pool with any other winners.
Not all bookies offer this type of bet. Visit our bookies which offer Placepot guide for more information.
Tote.co.uk is the most popular pool betting site and they offer a number of different pool bets such as Placepot, Quadpot, Jackpot, Exacta, Trifecta, Swinger, Quinella and more.
There are a number of other types of bets which you can place on horse racing much as doubles, trebles, accumulators, trixies, patents and more. Our free bet calculator page explains how each of them work and you can use the calculator (which also comes in a free downloadable app form) to calculate your profit & returns for each bet type.
Horse racing is one of the most exciting sports to watch. Especially when you have a bet on the race. Several horse races are broadcast live on ITV on weekends but with horse races taking place every day, you may want to watch more races.
Thankfully, many of the top bookies offer live streams of horse races. You usually have to place a bet on the race in order to access the stream but they can make having a punt a lot more exciting.
Some of the best bookies for streaming horse racing are Bet365, Paddy Power and Betfair.
Horse races take place every day in various countries around the world. However, there are some major horse races and festivals which take place annually which attract millions of viewers and bets worldwide.
The Grand National is run annually at Aintree and is the most valuable horse race in Europe with having a prize fund of over £1 million.
It is the most popular horse race of the year in the UK with it attracting views and bets from people who have never watched or bet on a horse race in their life.
The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day racing festival which takes place in March each year at Cheltenham Racecourse.
The festival features some of the biggest horse races including the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle and the highlight of the festival – The Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Visit our Cheltenham Festival Tips page for hot betting tips for this year’s festival from WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith.
The Royal Ascot Festival takes place annually in June at Ascot racecourse. Queen Elizabeth II and members of the British Royal Family attend the festival along with over 300,000 people over the five days of racing.
The featured race at Royal Ascot is the Ascot Gold Cup which is run over a distance of 2.5 miles and takes place on day 3 of the festival.