If you’re keen to bet on horse racing but don’t know how to start, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you place your bets on the races.
Where to Bet on Horse Racing?
To place a bet, you need to find a reputable bookmaker either online or at a bookmaker’s shop. Some examples of reliable bookmakers include Betfair, Paddy Power, Bet365, and William Hill, and SkyBet. If you’re looking for the best bookmaker sign up offers head over to my Free Bets page.
How Horse Racing Betting Odds Work
In the UK, odds are typically expressed as fractions, while in Europe and betting exchanges, they’re usually in decimal form. For instance, if a horse’s odds are 2/1, it means that for every £1 you bet, you’ll receive a £2 profit plus your stake back, which is £3 in total.
Decimal odds are the fractional value plus one, so 2/1 is equivalent to 3.00 in decimal form. The decimal odds show how much you’ll receive back from the bookmaker for a £1 bet, including your stake, while fractional odds indicate your profit.
Not all odds are expressed as “something to one”. If a horse is priced at 5/2, it implies that if you bet £2, you’ll make a £5 profit plus your stake.
If a horse is a strong favorite to win a race, it may be “odds-on”. This means that the number on the bottom/right (your bet) is greater than the number on the top/left (your profit). For example, if a horse’s odds are 1/10, you’ll receive just £1 in profit for every £10 you bet. Odds-on may also be written and spoken as “10/1 on”.
For more on how to interpret odds formats, check out my Odds Guide.
Different Types of Horse Racing Bets
This is a bet placed on a horse to win. Simple as that.
This is a bet placed on a horse to either win or be placed. The place terms differ according to the type of race and number of horses, but it usually means your horse must finish in the top three.
The place part of your bet pays out at a fraction of the main odds, usually 1/4.
For example, a £10 each way bet on a horse at 8/1 costs £20, with £10 on the win and £10 on the place part. If the horse wins, both bets win, resulting in a total of £90 + £30 = £120 for a profit of £100. If the horse finishes second, third, or fourth, you lose your win bet but make £10 profit from the each way win.
There are various types of multiple bets, such as doubles and trebles. For instance, a double involves backing two separate events, such as two horses to win at different races. Both bets must win for you to succeed.
If you’ve got a bet on a horse to win Race 1 at 3/1, and a horse to win race 2 at 4/1, it’ll come in as a double worth 19/1.
This requires you to pick the top two horses in a race in the correct finishing order. So this could be Constitution Hill to finish first and State Man to finish second.
Similar to a straight forecast, but the horses can finish in any order. So if you’re backing the bet I mentioned in the straight forecast, if State Man just edges Constitution Hill you’ll still win.
This is where you pick the top three horses in the correct order. Add in another horse, say Honeysuckle, to finish third, and you’ll likely get some big odds.
This is betting on one horse to beat another. So no matter where they finish, as long as the one you back finishes ahead of the other, whether that’s by half a length or half a kilometre, you’ll get a win.
A Lucky 15 is a type of multiple bet that combines four selections into a single wager. The bet consists of 15 separate bets: 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a four-fold accumulator. This means that even if only one of your selections wins, you can still receive a return on your bet.
To place a Lucky 15 bet, you select four different outcomes e.g. four horses to win you want to bet on and then place 15 bets on them. If just one of those horses wins, you will receive a payout on one of the four singles. If two horses win, you will receive a payout on one of the doubles as well as the two singles. If three horses win, you will receive payouts on the four singles, six doubles, and four trebles.
A Lucky 15 bet can be a fun and exciting way to bet on multiple outcomes at once, while also having the added security of a return even if only one selection wins. However, because you are placing multiple bets, the cost of the bet can be higher than a single bet on a single outcome.
A NAP is a betting selection that is considered the strongest or most confident choice of the day by a tipster or a bettor. It’s worth pointing out it’s not a guaranteed winner, and like any other horse race bet, it carries some level of risk.
Top Trainer/Top Jockey
Here, you can pick a bet that lasts for the whole festival. Backing a trainer to have the most winning horses, or a jockey to win the most races. Trainer Willie Mullins is by far the favourite for this accolade. You can even bet on the nationality of the most winning trainers.
Horse Racing Events
I’ll cover the biggest horse racing meets in the year on my website. I’ll have tips, research, previews, and best bets for the likes of Cheltenham Festival, Ascot, and Goodwood.