Horse racing is a sport steeped in history and for many people new to the sport it can be difficult to understand.
It’s not as simple as watching to see which horse wins a race. There are form books to study, weather to watch for and hunches to side with.
Horse racing bettors love diving into the statistics to try and get a clearer understanding of which horses will win and place in upcoming races.
And here at Unibet we have a dedicated horse racing suite so you can read up on all the form and stats before a race begins.
This guide will take you through the basics of the horse racing card, so you know what to look out for when deciding which horse to back.
You will learn the language of the horse racing card, as well as the differences in conditions that can affect your chosen bet.
Once you’ve read this guide you will be more knowledgable of horse racing and how to bet on horse racing. So let’s take a look at what you need to know…
What is a horse racing card?
A horse racing is effectively a list of all the horses set to run in a race, with their stats attached. Understanding the card will give you a more rounded understanding of which horses could do well in the race, other than simply looking at the odds.
Each horse will have its jockey’s colours - known as silks - to the left hand side, with the name of the horse next to it. The Unibet horse racing card will display the odds at which you can currently bet on the horse, while there is an option to bet on the Starting Price (SP). We will go into this in more detail later in the guide.
You will be able to see the horse racing card when you select which race you want to bet on.
Understanding the horse racing card
We will now go through each aspect of the horse racing card, so you can understand what these facts and figures actually relate to.
Simply the name of the horse. Many newcomers to horse racing betting may back the horse they like the name of. This happens often in races such as the Grand National and Kentucky Derby, where irregular fans bet on the race.
The name below the horse’s name is that of the jockey. Many famous jockeys run in races each day and some punters like to side with those jockeys.
Below the jockey name is a run of numbers. This is the horse’s previous results. For example, if the results read ‘959483’ then the horse’s last finish was ninth and their best finish over the past six races was third.
The colour of the jersey and hat the jockey will wear. This is important if you want to keep an eye on your horse in the race.
Many horse races stipulate the horses must be of, over or under a certain age.
This is important. Horses with less weight are expected to do better than those with more weight. The weight is the total of the jockey, saddle and additional weights added to the horse’s back.
The name of the trainer will always appear on a horse racing card, as many bettors like to back horses trained by the same person. In the UK and Ireland, there are some trainers who are very successful and whose horses dominate the big races.
The horse’s odds are located in the green box to the right of the name. The odds are live and will move up and down. Click on the odds to open up the bet panel, where you can place your bet. You can also choose what ‘style’ of odds you’d like to use. Many British and Irish punters use the fractional odds style, but others may opt for decimal odds. Canadians and Americans are likely to go with American odds.
It’s always worth looking to see what the previous odds were on the horse you’re considering backing. If the odds are lengthening, it suggests few people think it will do well. If the odds are shortening, then people are betting on the horse, which is driving the price down.
This is a bet option where you bet on the ‘Starting Price’. You won’t know what the starting price is until the betting closes, so the odds could go up and down depending on what happens in the meantime.
What is the race header?
The race header is the introduction to the race, which gives the reader information on the various conditions the horses will run through. There are three factors in the race header that are important for punters to know about…
Type of Race
This will be either Flat or Jumps. In flat racing, horses race without any obstacles in the way. In jumps racing - run as National Hunt events in the UK and Ireland - horses will have to leap over jumps and fences when racing.
This indicates the standard of horse that is running in the race. Horse races are graded into various classes, with Grade 1 the top class available. Races such as the Grand National and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe are Grade 1 races.
This indicates what the ground is like that the horses will run on. When horses run on turf, the ‘going’ can range from Firm to Soft. Some horses run better on firm ground, while others excel on soft. The wetter the ground, the softer it becomes. Some tracks, such as dirt and all-weather tracks, have other variants such as Fast, Standard and Slow — many of which are decided on the amount of water on the track.
Finding the right race
Unibet’s horse racing suite is specifically designed to be easy to navigate. As there are scores of races taking place each day, we’ve made sure you can quickly get to the race you want to bet on.
You can find the Racing suite in the tabs section of the Sports betting area of Unibet. Here, you will find three races that are coming up soon, with the race cards attached.
Below that is the Unibet horse racing grid, where you can discover races from all over the world, taking part at various times throughout the day. Many races will be available to live stream, while you’ll also be able to read up on previous results and check your earlier bets.
The Unibet horse racing suite also offers future bets for major events such as Cheltenham, Ascot and the Breeders Cup. Here, you can bet at longer odds on the horses you think will win certain races — although make sure you know they are definitely running in the race first!
Horse racing betting specials are also available in the Unibet suite. These bets cover the Flat Jockeys Championship and National Hunt Jockeys Championship. These are season-long bets where you can back a certain jockey to win the most races over the course of the term.
Live stream horse racing
We take horse racing seriously here at Unibet and that’s why we offer live streaming of the biggest races each day across the world. You can live stream horse racing from your computer, smartphone or tablet simply by signing up and logging in to Unibet today!
Our live streams are available to anyone who bets £1 on the race in question and come with commentary and a round-up of the race.
Live streaming is a great way to get used to horse racing and understand the sport more thoroughly. It brings you right into the heart of the action, where you can see how the jockeys use tactics to claim race victories.
Here at Unibet we offer our live streaming services on races across the planet. And that means races in Australia, India and Chile can often run during the night for punters in the UK and Ireland. And that’s the real magic of horse racing live streaming — there’s almost always a race to watch from wherever you are!
Unibet Sports App
The best way to follow horse racing on the go is to download the Unibet Sports App to your phone or tablet. Here you can access all the same race card data that is available to users on desktop and laptop computers. You can also live stream horse racing from your phone, so long as you have a strong enough internet connection.
The Unibet Sports App is specially designed to be easy to use and fast. It means you’ll never miss a moment to place those big bets on the races you want to follow.