How horse Racing works: Betting Guide 2017

Horse racing

Horse racing might be the sport did is the most synonymous with gambling. It conjures up images of smoky betting shops, with huddled working class men processing numbers with a speed and grace that can only be admired. It is a scene of heavy air and heavier men playing a rather elegant game of wits and mathematics from behind a mountain of horse racing bet slips.

Horse racing: A new age of sports betting

While the scene has now changed very much, the game hasn’t. Being good at betting on horse racing remains a game of statistical chess. Although those bet shops still exist, they are a great deal less smoky, and probably not quite as busy, with so much business moving onto the online world, where players enjoy a more convenient way to play.

Playing from home also means you can take all the time you want to pour over the odds, not that anyone is likely to throw you out of the bet shop, but you’re more likely to take a more methodical approach in comfort and with all the information easily spread out on a computer screen. 

William Hill is one of the oldest names in horse race betting and you can find top horse racing results as well as top horse racing today on their website. For more on this sportsbook, read our in-depth William Hill review.


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Horse racing: Tip 1

Never bet on instinct

While it might be tempting to bet on a horse because it’s name sounds like your uncle’s mate’s great grandmother’s dog, it’s more likely a coincidence than it is a sign you’re about to win big money. Particularly if that horse has odds only explainable from missing a few legs. horse racing results

It might not be romantic, but betting on instinct is betting blind. Now, we know betting should be fun. If you’re not having fun, you should stop betting. If putting a little money on a horse you like the name of keeps things interesting for you, go right ahead. However, if you’re there looking to get great horse racing results, then you’ll want to look at the numbers and think about your options. Besides, there’s nothing more fun than winning.

Horse racing: A quick history of the sport of kings

Horse racing today is one of the biggest sports in the world, generating at estimated $ 115 trillion in US dollars. But it’s been a long journey to get there. Perhaps the original form of horse racing was chariot racing, which is believed to have started in ancient civilizations according to archaeological records, in places such as ancient Greece and as part of the Roman empire. This phenomenon is best remembered perhaps through the iconic chariot horse racing scene in the classic blockbuster movie Ben-Hur.

horse racing Chariot race scene from Ben Hur

Horse racing: The royal touch

From there, it moved onto various equestrian sports (some of which still exist today through the likes of polo), with horse racing as we know it becoming popular in the 10th century, largely through its affiliation with royalty. The royals are even partially responsible for employing breeding standards and certainly played a big role in embedding horse racing in our culture. This tradition continues today with Queen Elizabeth having owned and bred horses that have competed at events such as the Royal Ascot.

Horse racing: A brief ban

Sports Including horse racing were banned in 1654 by Oliver Cromwell, alongside other “disreputable” behaviours like pubs, music, hot foot on a Sunday, makeup, bear baiting, swearing, the theater and even Christmas! The law against horse racing was overturned by Charles II, who had a great passion for the sport, even winning the Newmarket Town Plate.

Horse racing: Winning’s in the blood

In keeping with the great royal tradition of horse breeding, 95% of thoroughbred horse racing today have their genetic ancestry from this era. All of these horses come from three stallions, The Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian and Godolphin Arabian. No other sport has such royal roots and has connected with so many people. Horse racing is truly the sport of kings.

Knowing your horse racing history is important, but not quite as important as knowing your horses and your numbers, which brings us to…. horse racing

Horse racing: Tip 2

There’s no replacement for knowledge

Many people view betting on horse racing as blind luck, but while luck plays a factor, it’s closer to poker than it is to a coin flip. A good gambler needs to know everything about the horses he’s picking from, the odds he’s choosing from and much more to ensure he is not shooting in the dark. Make no mistake, the difference between a good gambler and a bad gambler is night and day and only one of them is going home with a return.

Traditionally, you’d stay on top of your picks using a daily horse racing form and although that’s still an option, it’s just as easy to get all this information online. From here you need to go about honing your handicapping skills: that is the process of decoding all this information to work out which horse gives you the best odds.

For example, by looking at the Beyer Speed Figures (usually the starting point for handicapping), these numbers give you the greatest insight possible to how well a horse is likely to perform based on their past performances, as well as their pace and speed. 

Track distance

Next up, you’ll want to look at the track distance and the experience your horse has of traveling that distance. Remember we mentioned pace? Well that’s going to play a big factor here. If your horse is very fast but rapidly loses its pace, it may be unwise to bet, even if it has performed well on shorter tracks. If a horse has little experience on larger tracks then you are taking more of a gamble but the potential for a winner is still there. See if your odds give you a good reflection on this and weigh up that risk to decide whether it’s a worthwhile bet.

Other factors you’ll want to know are things like the weather, the track and the post position. Getting all this information and understanding it is the absolute key to being successful in betting on horse racing. All the tips, inklings and instincts are no match for knowing your subject and making an informed, intelligent bet based on what you think is a decent potential reward for the risk you are taking. horse racing today

Horse racing: Big Winners

While most of us are happy to go home with a few additional quid in our pocket, there are always those who strike it lucky and win huge prizes. Horse racing is no exception, so we’re going to take a look at a few exceptional stories to get you feeling lucky.

Horse racing: The £1 bet

Accumulators are a great way of winning big without much cash. In fact, in 2011 an unemployed man won £353,000 on a £1 horse racing accumulator. The father of two initially thought he had only won 21,000. Only discovering his true winnings after asking his son to work out how much he’d receive in total. The enormous return came from each way accumulators at Towcester, Kemton, Brighten and Nottingham.

The man, who wishes to remain unidentified said he regularly put on these bets. Proving that sometimes it pays to dream big.

Horse racing: The 50p bet

What’s more impressive than winning over a quarter of a million on a £1 bet? How about winning a million on a 50p bet? Fred Craggs of Yorkshire won the astonishing sum of money on an 8 horse accumulator. Perhaps even more amazingly, all these bets were blind guesses based on name alone. Perhaps it was fate after all, as one of the horses chosen what the aptly named “A Dream Come True”.

Horse racing: The upset

Frankie Dettori is a horse racing legend. His victory on all seven Ascott races at odds of 25,000 to 1 will go down as the greatest upset perhaps in history of horse racing. No one was more pleased at this astounding victory than Darren Yeats of Morecambe. He had put his faith in the Italian born underdog, netting £550,000 off a £59 bet.

Top bookmakers like William Hill post the latest up to the minute horse racing results on their website. Read our in-depth Coral review for more on this top sportsbook.

Horse racing: Tip 3

 Know the ways to bet

Gambling has become so much more than simply picking a horse and hoping for the best horse racing results. Aside from the skill in knowing the many different aspects to the race, there’s also choosing how to bet most effectively. This includes what combination of bets can land you the best returns.

There’s the basics:

  • win: meaning your pick needs to win the horse racing for you to get a return
  • place: which means your horse needs to come either second or first for you to see a return
  • show: this allows you to see a return if your pick comes first, second or third.

This alone allows you to make tactical choices and opens up your betting to greater odds and options.

There’s also the possibility of betting on multiple results. Many experienced gamblers use to bring home big money. You can bet Quinella horse racing results. This means you bet on 2 or 3 horses to place first or second in any order. Exacta horse racing: this means to bet 2 horses that place first and second in your chosen order. Trifecta horse racing: where you must correctly bet 3 horses in first, second or third in the correct order. Finally there’s Superfecta: where you must bet 4 horses in first, second, third and fourth places.

These horse racing options give you the opportunity to really flex your gaming muscles. Use everything you’ve decoded from facts and figures at your disposal to create really interesting and high stakes bets. You can combine this with accumulative betting if you really want to go for those high numbers.


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