Betting on horse racing can be complex for beginners because it’s very different from betting on other sports. But you don’t need to be an expert to bet on horse racing and get the same enjoyment out of it that seasoned punters do!
If you’re wondering how to bet on horse racing then this guide will help you cover the basics. You’ll learn how to bet on winners, what Each Way means and all about horse racing live betting.
We’ll help you deepen your knowledge and learn more about different types of horse racing, how to bet on horse racing and more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is horse racing?
- Types of horse racing
- How to bet on horse racing
- Each way bet
- Rule 4
- Live stream horse racing and betting
- Famous horse races
The sport of horse racing is practiced in hundreds of countries around the globe. In horse racing, there are a number of horses competing against each other in a galloping race. Jockeys ride on the horses' back around a grass or sand covered track.
The track is usually a rough oval shape but many courses use the natural landscape to create further features into races, such as climbs and downward slopes.
Horses will gallop at speeds of around 30mph on tracks varying from laps of a stadium circuit, to huge expanses of countryside.
And it’s not all about the winner. Horse racing betting fans can back on horses to finish within a certain number of places — called an Each Way bet — and can even bet on horses NOT to win.
Horse racing in the UK, France and Ireland have two distinct forms — either with or without obstacles. National Hunt racing describes the series of races throughout the calendar that involve jumps, fences or ditches. Races without obstacles are called Flat races and run through the summer, when the ground is generally harder.
Many horses are trained to specifically run in either Flat or National Hunt races. In Flat races, the distance covered is between 1,000m and 3,200m (two miles). But National Hunt races are even longer, with races going up to as much as four-and-a-half miles.
Before the race, jockeys mount their horses in the parade ring — a place where punters on the day can get a good look at the horses they want to bet on. There are usually around six or seven races in a single meeting at a specific track, with sometimes as much as 10 meets taking place on the same day. That means there’s always a race about to start!
Let’s move over to our horse racing tips with the different bet types we offer when you bet on horse racing.
The most common bet type that we offer in horse racing betting is ‘To win’. To win means that you simply bet on the outcome of a race, that is, which of the horses you think will win. You can choose to bet on one horse or several, to increase your chances of a potential win.
You will encounter the SP button in horse racing betting. Now, you may be asking yourself the “what does SP mean in horse racing?”. SP stands for Starting Price and it’s the official starting odds for a horse. The SP option exists because the odds on any given horse can change if people start backing it to win. For example, if a horse is 8/1 to win at Leopardstown and lots of people start backing it, it’s odds will fall to maybe 6/1. Equally, if no-one is interested in a horse at 3/1, then the bookmaker might raise it’s odds to 5/1 in the hope of attracting some interest.
Forecast is another popular type of betting, where you bet on a horse to finish in a specific position in the race. When betting on forecast at Unibet you usually try to pinpoint who will finish first and second in a specific race.
Once you have located an interesting bet, click on the odds and enter the amount of money you want to place. To the right of the field where you put your stake you will see the E/W button. E/W stands for Each Way, which means that the stake of your bet will be doubled. Half the bet becomes a bet for whom to win, while the other half of the bet becomes a forecast bet.
Each Way betting works much like handicap betting. If the horse wins the race, the player wins on both parts of the bet. If the horse you’ve backed fails to win the race, you still have the opportunity to win on the forecast part of the bet, based on the number of participating horses.
So for example, you could back a horse for £5 E/W at 12/1 to win at Musselburgh. If it comes second, third or maybe even fourth, you could return as much as £20. It’s not as much as if it had won, but it still covers your stake, which is why many punters like E/W betting.
Pay-outs and odds when placing an Each Way bet may look like the following:
- In races with 2-4 participants, the bet type will change to a ‘To win’ bet.
- In races with 5-7 participants you will be awarded one quarter of the odds if the horse finishes in the top two.
- In races with 8 or more participants, you will be awarded a fifth of the odds if the horse finishes in the top three.
- In a handicap race with 12-15 participants, you will be awarded one quarter of the odds if the horse finishes in the top three.
- In a handicap race with 16 or more participants, you will be awarded one quarter of the odds if the horse finishes in the top four.
Some of the types of horse racing bets may contain Rule 4 which you will notice if the text "Rule 4 may apply" shows. Rule 4 means that if one or more horses are excluded from the race, there will be reduced odds on the remaining horses in the race.
Horse racing betting is unique in many ways and in addition to Rule 4, there is an incredible amount of exciting stuff to learn to become an expert of horse racing betting.
We hope you’ve learnt a lot and that you’ve enjoyed our best horse racing tips by reading this guide. In order to immerse yourself and learn more about the terms, expressions and bet types when it comes to horse racing betting, you can check out our horse racing glossary.
Unibet offers some of the best odds on the market of UK horse racing with betting opportunities on races across the world. Do not miss out on Unibet TV's live stream where you can watch live horse racing on our horse racing stream by placing a bet on the specific race that you want to see.
Unibet offers punters the chance to watch and bet on races across the world thanks to our horse racing live stream service. Here, you can bet during races, as the odds fluctuate depending on events on the track.
Here at Unibet we offer horse racing betting from meetings all over the world — not just the UK, France and Ireland!
If you’re new to horse racing and want to bet on the big races to really get a feel of the sport, then there are plenty of opportunities to do just that! The Grand National is the iconic event in British horse racing, which takes place at Aintree each year. A total of 40 horses line up to tackle the fences on this 4.5mile track.
Grand National betting is a pastime in the UK and Ireland, with many people enjoying sweepstakes in offices and among families and friends.
Another huge race in the calendar is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is the crowning moment of the National Hunt season. Here, icons are made. Arkle, L’Escargot and Best Mate have their names etched in history at the Gold Cup, which comes around every March.
Outside of the UK and Ireland, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is France’s major race, with a staggering €5m available for the winner of the October meeting. Australia has the Melbourne Cup, a race over 150 years old and still iconic around the world.
And in America, the Kentucky Derby is raced on an oval dirt track at Churchill Downs, Louisville, with a $3m purse up for grabs. It is dubbed the ‘Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport’ for the bunch sprint of the horses.