Your Quick and Easy Guide to the Horse Races

Posted October 9, 2020 in More

Horse racing is continually providing millions with entertainment across the globe and has been for years. From sitting on your sofa screaming at the TV to getting suited and booted for heading to the races in person, horse racing can provide some memorable moments. Many follow for the love of the sport, many others follow for the love of betting on the sport. Despite an abundance of  seasoned fanatics in the sport, it can understandably prove daunting for a newbie to become involved due to the numerous intricacies surrounding it. But fear not! We are going to go over your quick and easy guide to the horse races (mainly in the UK).


Never been to the races in person? What are they like? First off, I would recommend going to anyone, they are a super fun day out. Arriving in plenty of time before the first race you want to make sure you are dressed up to the nines and in a jolly mood (the light alcoholic refreshments will help with that). Grabbing racecards for the races that are handed out to you is important if you want to put a little bit of research into your horses. Equally important is finding a spot to watch the races from. If you are in the concourse you want to be looking to either get down to the track to watch the finish line super close or you want to try and find a bit of hill elsewhere to get a good vantage of the race.


Before the first race starts you want to make sure you’ve had a good read of the race card, got a drink in hand, scouted out the nearest toilet and are looking to stick your first bet on. A lot of people start with a placepot on their first race and it can be a fun additional bet to stick on to kick things off. It doesn’t matter what bookies you use really as they will all be operating at roughly the same odds, but if they are not you want to scope out the bookmakers with the best odds for the horse you fancy betting on. Stick your desired wager on, wait for the race to commence and cheer on your winner.


The exhilaration of your horse winning is a pretty great feeling, it must be said, whether you are cheering on from the concourse or your back living room in front of the TV. Attending the races is a massive date in the calendar for people, and rightfully so. Whether it’s the Cheltenham festival, the Kentucky Derby or the Melbourne Cup, you are bound to have a good time. But whilst you are assured to have good fun, turning up to the races can be daunting for some, and betting on them even more so. Knowing what sort of race you are watching, the horse you are betting on and the type of bet you are placing is important.


Distinctly divided into two racing types, horse racing has various classification systems. The premise of horse racing dates back centuries but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the modern association rules have been applied. Recently, races are split into flat racing and national hunt racing (or steeplechase). Simply put one is a flat race across the turf to the finish, the latter is a race with obstacles and hurdles making it a tad more complicated for all involved. Depending on the prestige of the race or those competing,each race will have a classification system from Grade 1 at the top all the way down to the lower handicap races at the bottom. Grade 1 races attract the best horses and the biggest prize.


Betting is a pivotal part of this sport. Indeed, I would say it is the backbone, and it certainly provides enjoyment for most people. This can be in the form of attendees at events or from home. Regardless of where you are betting from you need to know what and how to bet on horse racing to have any chance of successfully landing a winner other than being super lucky. Whilst luck goes a long way when it comes to sports betting, knowledge goes further. Studying the scorecards to view form of horses, identifying the turf of the race and matching it to best performing horses (horse racing is much the same as tennis in this respect with some horses being better equipped for specific turf, look at Nadal and clay for instance), and personnel surrounding the horse are all key component – I’m talking jockeys, trainers and owners. In horse racing it is not just the horse that is running that day which may win you the race. Prior and external factors are at play with record breaking trainers and owners having large successes with horses that would otherwise lose.


Knowing the odds you are placing on a horse and with what type of bet you are wagering is important as well. Like other sports betting the higher the odds, the bigger the return. But as you extend the odds you face a decreased chance of winning. A 5/1 is less likely to happen than a 4/5 favourite. But unlike other sports, horse racing is more than likely to produce a winner from a horse that wasn’t the favourite. Infact, statistically only 30% of favourites ever win. Additionally, when betting on horse racing you can lower your odds but increase your chance of winning by adding an each way bet to your slip, allowing the horse to place in the top 3 and still return proportionate winnings. Betting on horses can be complicated but if you do your research, follow forms of the horses and understand the different bets that you can apply to your bet slip then you are sure to find a winner sooner rather than later.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash


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