Horse Racing Betting

A beginner’s guide to horse racing betting in the UK

Equestrian bets are arguably the most popular betting in the UK, but for those who have never placed a bet on the sport of kings it can be tricky to know where to start.

Studying form is impossible without a working knowledge of racing, while the various types of bets, from a simple single to a lucky 15, are confusing for many.

However, horse racing betting can be very profitable for those who can carry out enough research – and this guide will give you everything you need to know before you start placing bets.

The best horse racing betting sites:

The basics of racing

Horse Racing UK

At the most basic level, betting on this sport is very easy to understand – you simply place a bet on the horse you think is going to win the race.

But for those who have never even placed a bet on any sport before, the odds can still be hard to get your head around.

The Grand National is one of the top UK sporting events of the year and many casual gamblers use it as one of their only tipples ever, so let’s use it as a quick example.

In 2009 there was one of the most famous upsets in Grand National history, when rank outsider Mon Mome surprised everyone to win the race at massive odds of 100/1.

This means that for every £1 staked on the horse, £100 profit would be returned, making anyone who picked the horse out a very happy punter indeed.

Obviously picking a 100/1 winner is quite rare, but it goes to show that there can be a lot of money to be made from horse racing betting sites in the UK.

Each-way betting

Picking a winner on the horses is always tough and big races like the Grand National often have massive fields, which makes it even more of a challenge.

This is where each-way betting can prove to be extremely useful, as this typically offers you around 1/4 of the odds for a finish in the top four or five, or sometimes six for big races.

As an example, betting £1 each way on Mon Mome in the 2009 Grand National would have resulted in £100 profit from the horse winning and a further £25 for the each-way portion.

Even if the horse had placed in second, not won, the each way part of the bet would have still delivered a nice profit to anyone lucky enough to have selected Mon Mome.

In the UK, it is very common for sports fans to put a number of bets into an accumulator, which result in gigantic odds and even larger payouts if they come off.

These bets are extremely tough to land in any sport. but the appealing odds make small stakes each-way accumulators a tempting option for those who want to give themselves a chance of winning a life-changing amount of money.

Lucky 15 type betting selections can make this a more profitable way of gambling on the sport of kings. In this bet, there are four singles, six doubles, four trebles, and one fourfold – so 15 bets in total, hence the name.

This means that even if only one of the horses is a winner, there will still be some winnings for the punter, and it is also possible to place these bets each-way too, although that doubles the stake. Small stakes are recommended for each-way Lucky 15 bets as a result.

horse racing in uk

Picking winners

Lots of UK sports fans have their own horse racing betting systems to try and guarantee a profit from watching their favourite action.

But there are no shortcuts to picking winners, and just as in most gambling there is always going to be a degree of luck involved.

Being able to understand form is a must for anyone who is getting serious about gambling on horses. The form shows how a horse has been performing in their recent races, with the number one indicating a win.

Free horse racing tips are easy to find all over the internet and some of them can be extremely profitable. But it is worth taking some time to check out the record of a tipster before deciding whether or not to follow them with a selection and if so, how much to stake on the bet.

And if your selection gets off to an awful start in your chosen race, you can always try your luck with horse racing live betting, which is an increasingly popular option in the UK.

Watching a horse race live – whether in person, on the television or via an online stream – is the most exciting way to follow your selections, but if you are unable to do so for whatever reason, check today’s horse racing results as soon as possible to see if you are a winner.

Making profits

Discipline is one of the most important things you need if you are going to make a profit from gambling over the long-term.

It can be easy to get complacent after some big wins and start to slack off on researching horse racing predictions, which is often a good way to find winners.

And on the flip side, plenty of UK’s sports betting gamblers have had problems in the past when they start to chase losses, so it is advised to step away and perhaps rethink your strategy if you are on a poor streak, rather than continuing to place a lot of losing bets.

One of the best ways to maximise profits from betting is to always take time to find the right value for your selection. Even if you have a strong fancy for a particular horse, if their price is too short then it might be worth steering clear.

Take a bit of time to check out the latest horse racing best odds to ensure you are getting the top price on offer for your selection – you might be surprised at how much prices can sometimes change between different bookmakers for the same race.

If you are putting together an accumulator or a Lucky 15 type bet, it is still worth shopping around for the best prices as this will maximise your potential winnings.

While a lot of punters stick to the same stakes for each bet as part of their strategy, others find it is beneficial to bet more when they find a bet that offers strong value, then reduce the amount of money they place on a wager when a horse is not available at particularly good value.

Some UK gamblers also like to use a horse racing bet calculator as this is a good way to track how much you are spending on your bets and how much you could be in line to make in profits.

Mistakes to avoid

There are a few common pitfalls in betting that lead to people wasting money.

Firstly, as mentioned previously, betting on poor value selections is always a bad idea, while chasing losses has to be avoided at all times.

Placing too many bets is not recommended either. It is usually more profitable to stick to a few races – higher grades are usually easier to predict than lower-quality fields – and select which races you plan to bet on in advance when possible.

There are so many races in the UK that it can be too simple to find yourself betting on a lot of races every day and this is unlikely to result in profits. Instead, be more selective and only bet when you are sure your research has produced a solid wager.

Check UK horse racing results regularly to keep an eye out for horses that are starting to win more regularly. It is also worth having a list of horses you like to follow, but this does not mean you have to bet on them in every race they enter.

Losing track of your bets is another common mistake made by UK punters in gambling, especially those who are running accounts with a lot of different bookmakers. For this reason, a lot of people swear by tracking results on a simple spreadsheet.

This also makes it easier to see what courses, horses and jockeys you make more profits on – but take care not to forget about checking prices for value before betting. Lots of bookmakers also run promotions on a regular basis too, so watch out for these and take full advantage of them.

It can be very tempting to go for big wins all the time by placing accumulators and Lucky 15s, but massive profits are not likely to come this way. Instead, focus on finding value with solid selections and grind out a steady income instead of hoping for an impossibly rare million to one shot to land.

A broad approach to betting can be another way to lose money quickly. It can be much more profitable to focus specifically on one area, be that one racetrack or novice hurdlers for example. It is not possible to be an expert in all areas of gambling at one time.

You should now be ready to start placing bets on horses – we wish you luck!


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