Horse Race Betting in South Africa

Horse racing is very popular in South Africa and the rich and famous from around the country can be found at the tracks hoping to win big at these glamorous events.

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Our BettingTop10 guide will bring you information on everything you need to know about betting on horse races. This includes information on the best sportsbooks to bet at as well as how to increase your chances of winning.

Our expert tips will guide and we even tell you where to find free bets. We do all the hard work so you can sit back and focus on placing your wagers. We have information on in-play options, bet types, mobile apps, and more so keep reading.

Horse Racing Betting Odds Explained

Betting on horse racing is easy enough as you are merely placing your money on the horse you think will win. There are some things you need to know though and the first of these is how to read the odds. The odds can be displayed in decimal or fractional displays and we have both of these explained below.

  • Fractional Odds: In this display, the odds are shown as fractions and will look something like 3/1, 3/2, 10/1, etc. The first number is the amount you can win and the second number is the amount you have to bet in order to win. If we take 3/1 it means you have to bet 1 ZAR in order to win 3 ZAR. In this format, it is very easy to calculate your winnings. You also get your stake back so your total win at odds of 3/1 would be 4 ZAR. The smaller the odds are, the better the chance your horse has of winning the race.
  • Decimal Odds: In this format, the odds are displayed as decimals and will look something like 3.00, 2.00, etc. To calculate your winnings, you have to multiply your stake by the decimal number. For example, if you bet 1 ZAR at odds of 3.00 you will win 3 ZAR.

Types of Bets You Can Place

There are lots of different horse racing bets that you can place and below we have listed the most popular.

  1. Each Way Bet: This is where you bet on the horse to cross the post in either first or second place. If your horse is first across the post you win as much as you would with a normal bet, but the good thing is you also win money if your horse comes in second place too.
  2. Bet Without: This is where you place your bet on a horse to win on the pretence that the favourite to win is not included in the race.
  3. Accumulator: The accumulator bet, the double, the treble and the goliath all involve betting on several horses in several races over the course of the day with all the wins accumulating into a bigger cash prize.
  4. Forecast Bet: In this bet you aren’t betting on a horse to win. You are predicting who you think will be the first three to four horses to cross the finish line. You also have to predict which order they will cross the post in. This can lead to big wins if you predict correctly and there are always great odds for this type of bet.
  5. Reverse Forecast: The reverse forecast is where you predict the first couple of horses to cross the post without having to guess the order in which they’ll come. You do have to double your wager for this type of bet and it is similar to the each way bet.

Horse Racing - south africa

Horse Racing Betting Tips for Beginners

Our BettingTop10 experts have come up with a list of tips to help you get started betting on horse racing. These tips will help you get the most out of your wagers and hopefully increase your chances of winning too.

  1. Study the Form: In horse racing, you have to study the form if you want to be successful. This is where you will start and it will show you all the different statistics including the horse’s previous wins, who the jockey is, and more. It will help you pick the horse you want to place your money on.
  2. Course Distance: What type of race is it and how far does the horse have to run. A horse that bursts out of the gates may not have the stamina to finish in first place so be sure to check their past performances for the type of race you are betting on.
  3. Ground: Different terrains and ground covering can make a big difference as can weather so be sure to look at this too. The size, weight, and gait of a horse will also have an impact on how they run.
  4. Know the Trainers: Study the trainers and find out what they’ve done in the past. Do they train for specific races, or are they all round? Find as much information as you can as this will help when choosing who to back.
  5. Jockey: Another important factor is to know the jockeys and how successful they have been during their career. Some will specialise in certain races and distances so having this knowledge is always an advantage.
  6. Where the horse is drawn: If you are betting on short races the position in which the horse is drawn will affect the outcome. Horses on the outside will have a slightly longer distance to run that those on the inside.

How to Bet on Horse Racing in South Africa – The Rules

Horse racing is controlled by two organisations. Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited controls racing in the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng. Gold Circle controls racing in the Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal. There are a number of different types of horse racing in South Africa and knowing what each of these is important when it comes to betting real money. The main types include:

  • Flat racing: This is where the horses gallop directly between two points around a straight or oval track. The tracks are usually level. The track surfaces can vary and turf and the newly designed synthetic surfaces are commonly found at tracks. The horses run over distances that range from 400 meters up to 2 ½ miles. Distances between five and twelve furlongs are the most common.
  • Jump Racing: Often known as steeplechasing, this is where the horses race over obstacles and hurdles. The horses progress to bigger obstacles and longer distances as they get older.
  • Endurance Racing: This is where the horses travel across country over extreme distances generally ranging from 25 to 100 miles.

Annual events and tournaments

South Africa is home to three famous horse races that take place each year and we have details on these below. You will be able to bet on these races at top online sportsbooks and some will even include international horse racing events too.

  • The Summer Cup: Johannesburg host this race meeting and the first prize is R1.2 million. This is held at Turffontein and is also where the South African Derby is held.
  • The J&B Met: This is held at Kenilworth Race course annually in January and February. This is one of South Africa’s biggest summer racing, fashion, and entertainment occasions. It is attended by over 50,000 and the this is where the finest horse racing can be found.
  • The Durban July: This is an annual event held at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban every July. The race take place on the first Saturday in July and is often seen as the highlight of the racing calendar. The course is a turf course and the Durban July Handicap is open to horses of all ages. The winner gets a grand prize of R4.25 million. It is the biggest of all the horse racing events. The main race is over 2.2km and there are plenty of other races held too including the 1.4km Golden Horseshoe and the 3km Gold Vase.
  • The South African Derby: This is a group 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses. It is held annually in Johannesburg.

Other Popular Venues

  • Arlington Race Course
  • Fairview Race Course
  • Bloemfontein Race Course
  • Vaal Race Course
  • Newmarket Race Course
  • Clairwood Race Course
  • Scottsville Race Course
  • Griqualand Race Course
  • Milnerton Race Course

In-Play Betting

In-play or live betting is great for horse racing enthusiasts and allows you to bet on a race as it unfolds with odds being updated numerous times throughout the race. You can place a bet a few strides before a fence to say the leader will fall.

You’ll find a lot more markets available in the in-play platform and you can even bet on the go using your mobile so you don’t have to miss out on any of the action. Some sites even stream the races.

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A winning Strategy for Professionals

When it comes to forming a winning betting strategy there are several things that you must take into consideration. Our experts have created a winning strategy that you can follow to help increase your chances of winning on horse racing betting.

  • Study the form – This includes checking the horses’ history and performance to date. Look at wins, losses, falls, etc. See who the trainer and jockey is, and check the horses weight. Knowing how to read the form is one of most important things you can do and it will greatly improve your bets.
  • Know the horse you want to bet on – If you’ve chosen your winning, be sure to get as much information as you can about the horse before you place your bet.
  • Understand the betting types – There are lots of different types of bets that you can place so make sure that you know the difference between them and which ones will work best for your budget and your knowledge base.
  • Know the different course grounds and tracks – Knowing the type of ground a horse is most comfortable on can help when choosing who to place your money on. Has the horse raced at the track before and how did they perform? Get as much information as you can.
  • Read the expert tips before every big race meet to see who the favourites are and the newcomers. Be prepared before you part with any money.