Horse Racing Betting Explained – A Handy Beginners Guide

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Horse racing is one of the most popular and historic sports in the world. In this horse racing beginner’s guide, we will be covering everything from general horse racing terms to understanding form guide to the most popular events of the year, with plenty more in between. Get your saddle ready, we’re going for a ride.

If you want to see the best bookies for betting on horses, check out our full horse racing betting guide.


Best Bookmakers for Beginners Betting on Horse Racing

  • The best place for Horse Racing betting
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SBK logo
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Paddy Power
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  • Horse Racing betting giant
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Betfair Exchange
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William Hill
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List of Best Bookmaker for Horse Racing Beginners

Horse Racing Betting Explained: Horse Racing Terms Glossary

Having horse racing betting explained is on one hand quite simple, on another seemingly overly complex.

In a typical horse racing event, a selection of horses race, and the first over the finish line wins. You bet on the outcome of that event. It is about as straightforward as sports get. However, the jargon that surrounds horse racing can often make it seem a lot more confusing than it is.

Here, in our horse racing terms glossary, we are going to have the horse racing terms explained to provide a somewhat horse racing form guide to help you better comprehend the intricacies of the sport.

What Does Starting Price (SP) Mean?

Starting Price (SP) refers to the betting odds on any horse at the start of the race. When you place a bet, you'll usually be given the choice of the current odds on the selection and the Starting Price.

However, most online bookmakers, especially the finest horse racing betting sites, offer best odds guaranteed which means you will be paid out at the bigger price regardless.

What Does Non-Runner (NR) Mean?

Non-runner (NR) is a term used when a horse will no longer be taking part in the race. Almost all bookmakers will refund stakes placed on horse racing non-runners.

What Does PU Mean In Horse Racing?

PU (or P) means the horse was Pulled Up by the jockey. In other words, the jockey has decided that the horse will cease to play any further part in a race.

What Does UR Mean?

UR (or U) means that the horse has unseated its jockey i.e. the rider has fallen off the horse.

What Does BF Mean?

BF (or beaten favourite) means that the horse started out the race as a favourite, but was subsequently beaten by another horse.

What Does BD Mean?

BD (or brought down) means that a horse was knocked down by another horse during a race.

What Does F Mean In Horse Racing?

F means that a horse fell during a race.

What Does 0 Mean In Horse Racing Form?

0 (zero) means that a horse finished in 10th place or lower.


What Does Rule 4 Mean?

In horse racing in the United Kingdom, Rule 4 is a ruling put in place to appease the market when a horse is withdrawn from a race after a wager has been placed. It is a deduction on the odds at the rate of 90% to the pound.

What Does Ante-Post Mean?

A wager placed at least a day in advance of an event is referred to as being ante-post. These can be placed a long time ahead, as soon as the market opens. UK betting sites will not typically offer non-runner refunds on ante-post bets.

What Does Non-Runner No Bet Mean?

Non-Runner No Bet (NRNB) is a condition applied by bookmakers when a selection doesn't run in a race. When the bet is under the condition of NRNB, then the stake will be returned in full to the customer, otherwise, no refund will be forthcoming.

What Does It Mean To “Back” A Horse?

When you back a horse, it means you have selected that horse for your bet, usually to win, but it can also refer to other markets.

What Does Cash Out Mean?

Cashing out is a widely available betting feature which allows you to take a payout before the completion of a bet, based on the current performance of that market. In other words, you get a larger offer the more likely your bet is to win.

What Is The House Edge?

This is also known as the overround, and like our last example, is not only heard of in horse racing circles. The house edge is the mathematical edge the bookmaker has based on the provided odds. This is calculated by how far above 100% all converting odds come to. The lower the house edge, the better your odds.

What Does It Mean When A Horse Is A Favourite?

The favourite is the horse considered most likely to win the race based on who has the shortest odds.

What Does Being In The Frame Mean?

If a horse is in the frame it means they have finished in one of the top four places. The reason this is so important is that many markets allow you to bet on more than just the winners of a race.

What Is A Banker In Horse Racing?

You may think that banker has something to do with the operator or cash flow, but it actually is slang for a “sure thing”. However, we would advise that there are no sure things in the world of gambling.

What Is A Blanket Finish?

This is a close finish featuring several different horses.

What Does It Mean When People Talk About Form?

Generally, form refers to the performance quality and results of a horse’s recent races. There is also a form guide, which provides information in this regard.

What Does The Going Mean In Horse Racing Terms?

This is another slang term for the state of the ground, for example, whether the ground is firm or soft. Both the characteristics of the racetrack and the weather can significantly affect a race.

What Does It Mean When A Horse Is Considered An Outsider?

It’s the opposite of a horse being considered the favourite. This is when a horse is considered very unlikely to win. It would generally have one of, if not the, longest odds of all racers.

What Does It Mean To Back A Horse On The Nose?

This is another easy-to-understand slang term, it means you are only backing your horse to win the race.

What Constitutes A Photo Finish?

In some races, the result is so close that photographic evidence is used to determine a winner, hence, a photo finish. Another relevant term here is when a horse wins “by a nose”, which means that they won, quite literally, by a nose in length.

What Do People Mean When They Talk About Their Return?

A return is the amount of money you receive for a bet, meaning both winnings and stake.

What Does It Mean When A Bookmaker Has Shortened The Odds?

It means that a bookmaker has decided to reduce the odds of one market due to a large number of bets being placed in one direction.

What Is Tote Betting?

Put simply, tote is a form of pool betting where your winnings are calculated by the amount you have entered in the pool alongside the number of winners. It is exceedingly popular in British horse racing.

Other Horse Racing Betting Terms

Score: This is slang for £20
Pony: This is slang for £25.
Ton: This is slang for £100.
Monkey: This is slang for £500.

You can also read GentingBet Sports Betting Review

Different Types Of Horse Racing Explained

To continue our horse racing betting explained guide, we have listed the different types of races out there so you can get a full picture of the diversity horse racing can offer.

Flat Racing

Flat races traditionally take place during the summer and are run over distances between 5 furlongs and 2 and a bit miles on courses without obstacles. As the name would suggest, they are run on flat, level ground. They are a test of speed, stamina, and skill. The lack of obstacles means that many consider this to be the purest form of horse racing. In the United Kingdom, there are 35 flat racecourses including the Royal Ascot and the Derby.

National Hunt Racing

National Hunt can also be referred to as jump racing and traditionally takes place during the Autumn, Winter and Spring months, culminating in or around The Grand National which is usually held on the first Saturday in April. National Hunt races can sometimes be referred to as steeplechases and are run over distances between 2 miles and 4 1/2 miles with obstacles such as hurdles and fences.

Harness Racing

A unique form of racing, the most striking visual distinction is that the horse also has to pull a sulky alongside their weight and a jockey. But even more unusual is that the goal is not to go as fast as possible, but instead to maintain a pace without breaking stride. It is an incredibly intense, disciplined, and strategic form of this sport. So distinct is Harness Racing that some of our horse racing betting explained advice does not apply. But that just shows just how versatile a sport horse racing is. And it is no obscure option either, with the Prix d’Amerique in Paris taking in 40,000 spectators for their 100th anniversary in 2020.

Quarter Horse Racing

Almost the polar opposite of our previous pick, quarter horse racing is all about speed. This can be thought of as the horse racing equivalent of a sprint, taking place in a quarter of a mile or less. To give you an idea of just how fast these races can be, the world record is held by Winning Brew, who completed a quarter of a mile in 20.57 seconds.

Endurance Racing

Once again, we go from one extreme to another. As the name would suggest, Endurance Races take place over much larger tracks. The Mongol Derby, for instance, takes place over an eye-watering 1000 kilometres. To put that in perspective, It is around 2484 times the length of a quarter horse race. If that sounds impossible, do note that they must change horses every 40 kilometres. The race lasts ten days. This is an extreme example, but it is still common for an endurance race to last 12 hours and go over 100 miles. An astounding test of willpower as well as ability.


What Is A Handicap Race?

A handicap race is where each horse is allocated a weight (based on their perceived ability) by a ‘Handicapper' in order to level the playing field and give every horse an equal chance of winning. Famous handicap races include the Grand National (UK) and the Melbourne Cup (Australia).

The speed at which a horse can gallop is affected by the amount of weight it carries. Handicap weights are calculated based on the official ratings published by the British Horse Racing Authority and are expressed in imperial pounds.

So, what are horse handicap ratings?


Horse Handicap Ratings Explained

Horse ratings represent a horse's level of ability in relation to the weight carried and are expressed in pounds (lb). The bigger the number assigned to a horse, the more capable it is considered to be.

For example, a horse with a rating of 140 would carry a total weight (including jockey, saddle and irons) of 140 pounds (10stn).

The Official Ratings (abbreviated as OR on a racecard) use the same criteria as the Racing Post Ratings (abbreviated as RPR on a racecard), but are compiled by the British Horseracing Board (BHB).

Classification Of Races

In both Flat and National Hunt racing, there are a series of classifications that are designed to help indicate the prestige, prize money and quality of the race. Both are split into classes from 1-7.

Class 1 Flat races are divided into the following:

Group 1 – Races of major international importance.
Group 2 – Major international races but of slightly less importance than Group 1 races.
Group 3 – Important domestic races.
Listed Races – Just below group races.

Class 1 National Hunt races are divided into the following:

Grade 1 – The best championship races where the weight a horse carries is determined by age and sex.
Grade 2 – The weight a horse carries is determined by age and sex but they are also made to carry more for any races they may have previously run.
Grade 3 – The weight a horse carries is determined by the horse’s handicap rating.
Listed Races – Just below graded races.

After Class 1 races, we then have Class 2 through to 7 which apply to both Flat and National Hunt Racing and are based on a horses handicap rating as follows:

Class 2 – Heritage Handicaps, Handicap rating of 86-100, 91-105 and 96-110.
Class 3 – Handicap rating of 76-90 and 81-95.
Class 4 – Handicap rating of 66-80 and 71-85.
Class 5 – Handicap rating of 56-70 and 61-75.
Class 6 – Handicap rating of 46-60 and 51-65.
Class 7 – Handicap rating of 46-50.

So, how do handicaps work in horse racing?


Understanding Horse Racing Odds

Before placing your horse racing bets, you need to familiarise yourself with odds. We'll explain the basics below but for a comprehensive explanation you can read our ultimate guide to understanding how betting odds work.

  • Fractions – Traditionally used by bookmakers in the UK and Ireland. Fractional odds quote the amount that will be paid out (on the left) should the bet win relative to the stake (on the right). For example, for odds of 5/1, for every £1 you place, you will make a profit of £5 (should the bet win) meaning the total return would be £6.
  • Decimal – Traditionally used by bookmakers in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Decimal odds quote the exact amount that will be paid out should the bet win. For example, for odds of 10.0, for every £1 you place, you will receive a total return of £10 (10.0 x £1).
  • American – Traditionally used by American bookmakers. American Odds can be either (-) or (+) and are based on a 100 take. A (-) number shows how much you have to stake in order to achieve a profit of $100. A (+) number shows how much profit you will make if you stake $100.


How To Read Racing Forms

Once you have an understanding of horse racing, the next natural step is to learn is how to read racing form cards. Racingpost cards, for instance, are a good place to start. A horse racing form card, or race card, has a deliberate structure and gives you information about each race. Being able to read a horse racing form card is, understandably, very important if you want to be successful.

Below we explain the different aspects of the card along with other factors you should consider before placing your bets. You can use the image below of a fairly standard online UK racecard as reference.

Horse Racing Form Card Graphic


The first larger number (far left) is the number of the horse in the race (which you will also see on the horse’s saddle throughout the race) assigned by the track officials. These numbers are always displayed on a racecard in order of the amount of weight the horse is carrying.


The smaller number (to the right of the horses number) represents the draw that the horse has got in the stalls. The lower the number, the closer the horse will be to the rails which can be an advantage on certain tracks and distances.


Below the horses NO. is a line of numbers which represent the horses form. Form runs from left to right, with the oldest races on the left and the most recent on the right.

  • The numbers 1-9 indicate the position the horse finished in the race.
  • The number 0 indicates that the horse finished outside the first 9.
  • The symbol – separates racing seasons. Numbers before the – are for last season.
  • The symbol / indicates a longer gap – for example if the horse missed an entire racing season.
  • P or PU indicates that the horse was pulled up by the jockey and did not complete the race.

The following abbreviations normally apply to jump racing:

  • F indicates the horse fell.
  • R indicates a horse refused.
  • BD indicates the horse was brought down by another runner.
  • U or UR indicates that the horse unseated its jockey.


The second column displays the name of the horse along with the shirt (known as silks) that the jockey will wear. You will also see a number (which shows how many days it was since the horse last ran) and some abbreviations.

  • C indicates a horse has won on that course before.
  • D indicates a horse has won over that distance before.
  • CD indicates a horse has won over that course and distance before.
  • BF stands for beaten favourite and indicates a horse was favourite for a race, but did not win.


This shows the age of the horse (fairly self explanatory).


This is the amount of weight the horse will carry (including the jockey and the saddle) as decreed by the conditions of the race. You may also see some more abbreviations depending on whether the horse is wearing or using any equipment.

  • b indicates the horse is wearing blinkers.
  • v indicates the horse is wearing a visor.
  • e/s indicates the horse is wearing an eyeshield.
  • c/c indicates the horse is wearing a eyecover.
  • h indicates the horse is wearing a hood.
  • t indicates the horse is wearing a tongue strap.
  • p indicates the horse is wearing a cheek pieces.

Underneath the weight is the official rating of the horse.

Jockey & Trainer

This shows both the name of the jockey and the trainer of the horse. If a jockey has a number in brackets to the side of his name then it means he is an apprentice jockey and is claiming a weight allowance.


The final column shows the odds bookmakers are offering for the horse to win.


The table below features basic going descriptions along with their abbreviations that you may come across.

Going Description Abbreviation
Fast FST
Firm FM
Good GD
Good To Firm GD-FM
Good To Soft GD-SFT
Good To Yielding GD-YLD
Hard HD
Heavy HVY
Slow SLW
Soft SFT
Soft To Heavy SFT-HVY
Standard STD
Standard To Fast STD-FST
Standard To Slow STD-SLW
Yielding YLD
Yielding To Soft YLD-SFT


How To Place A Horse Racing Bet

If you have never placed a bet on horse racing before, especially if you have never placed a bet online before, then the process may seem intimidating. This isn’t just related to horse racing but also helpful for other sports. With that in mind, below is pretty much all you need to know about placing a bet online though do check out our full guide to this for more comprehensive information and tips.

Set up an account – This usually requires you to fill in a registration form including details like your name, e-mail, and date of birth. You will also be asked to choose a password for you to log in safely.

Login to your account – Use that username and password to log in to your account.

Deposit funds – If you didn’t already do this during the sign-up process, it is time to deposit funds. The specifics of how this is done depends on your chosen payment option, but it generally all boils down to providing a few details and how much money you want. If you have ever bought anything online, you should know what to expect here.

Select the event you want to bet on – Horse racing events should be easy to find on the sportsbook. There is usually a tab of current live events as well as a list of available sports. Go there, find the event you want, and select it.

Select your market – Same process here but now you are choosing the actual market and horse (or horses) you want to back. Select them and they should be added to your bet slip

Finish the transaction – On your bet slip you just need to enter your stake, confirm your bet and you are good to go.


Horse Racing Betting Explained – Markets

paddy power


Hopefully, you have now got a sense of what horse racing is about, and you are ready to approach these markets with confidence thanks to our horse racing guide. But to do so, you will need to know what you can bet on. Here, we are going to break down the two main categorisations of horse racing bets alongside the actual markets. That way, you’ll know everything you need to make the right bet at the right time.

Straight Bets

These are thus called because they are the most straightforward option here. That makes them perfect for those of you who are just learning the ropes. We would say it’s probably a good idea to start with straight bets before moving onto more complicated options. Here are some examples of horse racing straight bets.

To Win Bet – Exactly what it sounds like, back your preferred horse to win the race. They win, you win.

Place Bet – Increase your chance of winning with a place bet. Here you win if your selected horse finishes in first or second place.

Show Bet – Same as a place but here your pick can finish up to third place

Each Way Bet A slight variation on the place bet here you are essentially putting on two bets, one to win and the other to place, meaning there are different pay-outs for each result.

System Bets

Also known as exotic bets, system bets are a great deal more complicated than their straight bet equivalents. They are, as the name suggests, a systemic, strategic approach requiring a wide number of different bets. Because they are so convoluted and because the number of bets involved often means they require high stakes, they can seem intimidating. However, when you break them down, they are quite easy to understand once you get used to the concept. With that in mind, check out some of the most popular system bets out there.


Horse Racing Bet Types

There are a range of different wagers you can place when it comes to horse racing. Below we'll explain each in detail.

  • To Win – This is the most simple and common bet. When placing a ‘To Win' bet, you are backing a horse to win the race (makes sense) and will only get paid if it finishes first.
  • Each-Way (E/W)Most common when wagering on horses with bigger odds. When placing an ‘Each-Way' bet, you are effectively placing two separate bets. The first bet will be on your horse ‘To Win' the race and the second bet will be on your horse to ‘Place'. The amount of places that each bookie pays out on can vary but generally most bookies pay out on the top 3 places at a quarter (1/4) of the odds.
  • DoubleConsists of 2 selections taking part in different events. Both must win for you to see a return.
  • Forecast: When placing a ‘Forecast' bet, you are required to predict the top two horses in the exact order they finish.
  • Reverse Forecast: When placing a ‘Reveres Forecast' bet, you are required to predict the top two horses in the either order they finish; however, you must stake both outcomes.
  • Tricast – When placing a ‘Tricast' bet, you are required to predict the top three horses in the exact order they finish. As you can imagine, this can be extremely difficult, but the rewards can be huge.
  • TrixieConsists of 4 bets: 3 doubles and 1 treble. When placing a ‘Trixie' bet, you need at least 2 of the 3 horses you have chosen to be successful. The advantage of a Trixie is that should 1 selection fail, you will still get a return.
  • PatentIncludes 3 selections consisting of 7 bets: 3 singles, 3 doubles and a treble. The main advantage of a Patent is that you only need 1 successful horse to generate a return.
  • YankeeIncludes 4 selections consisting of 11 bets: 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a 4-fold accumulator. With a Yankee, you need at least 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.
  • Lucky 15Includes 4 selections consisting of 15 bets: 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a 4-fold accumulator. With a Lucky 15, you only need one selection to be successful to generate a return.
  • Lucky 31 Includes 5 selections consisting of 31 bets: 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 4-folds and a 5-fold accumulator. With a Lucky 31, you only need at 1 selection to be successful to generate a return.
  • Canadian/Super Yankee– Includes 5 selections consisting of 26 bets: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 4-folds and a 5-fold accumulator. You need 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.
  • HeinzIncludes 6 selections consisting of 57 bets: 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds and a 1 6-fold accumulator. With a Heinz, you need at least 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.
  • Lucky 63Includes 6 selections consisting of 63 bets: 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 4-folds, 6 5-folds and a 6-fold accumulator. With a Lucky63, you need at least 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.
  • Super HeinzIncludes 7 selections consisting of 120 bets: 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 4-folds, 21 5-folds, 7 6-folds and a 7-fold accumulator. With a Super Heinz, you need at least 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.
  • GoliathIncludes 8 selections consisting of 247 bets: 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 4-folds, 56 5-folds, 28 6-folds, 8 7-folds and an 8-fold accumulator. With a Goliath, you need at least 2 selections to be successful to generate a return.


Major Horse Races to Bet On UK

The UK is one of the best places in the world to bet on horse racing. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the very best these isles have to offer. Check out our detailed 2021 sports events calendar to find out when each race takes place.

Champion Hurdle (National Hunt)

The Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race, open to horses aged four years or older, that runs on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. It is run over a distance of around 2 miles and ½ furlong and features eight hurdles to be jumped.

Queen Mother Champion Chase (National Hunt)

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase that runs as part of The Cheltenham Festival. The race is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run over a distance of about 2 miles during which there are thirteen fences to be jumped.

Cheltenham Gold Cup (National Hunt)

The Cheltenham Gold Cup betting sites is a Grade 1 National Hunt horse race run on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival. It is one of the most prestigious races in British racing and is chased over a distance of about 3 miles 2½ furlongs during which there are 22 fences to be jumped.

Grand National (National Hunt)

Held at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, the Grand National is an annual National Hunt horse race that runs on the first Saturday in April. It is a handicap steeplechase with a huge field of 40 horses that takes place over a distance of 4 miles and 2½ furlongs that includes 30 fences and two laps and was first run in 1839. Despite being among the most anticipated UK racing cards, this is NOT one of Britain’s five classics, no National Hunt races are.

King George VI Chase (National Hunt)

Dating back to 1937, the King George VI Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase, open to horses aged four years or older. It is run on the 26th of December, known in the UK as Boxing Day, and is part of Kempton Park’s Christmas Festival. The race goes off over around 3 miles and includes eighteen hurdles to jump.

2,000 Guineas Stakes (Flat)

The 2000 Guineas Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in the UK that is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is one of Britain's five Classic races and the first to run each year. The race goes off on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket over a distance of 1 mile and it is scheduled to take place each year in late April or early May.

1,000 Guineas Stakes (Flat)

The 1000 Guineas Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race that is the second of Britain’s five classic races to go each year in late April or early May on the Sunday following the 2000 Guineas. The race is run on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket over a distance of 1 mile and is open to three-year-old fillies.

Epsom Oaks (Flat)

The Oaks Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and it is scheduled to take place each year in late May or early June. It is the second oldest of the five Classic races and the third of Britain's five Classic races to be held during the season.

Epsom Derby (Flat)

Often called Blue Riband of the turf, the Derby Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in England open to three-year-old colts and fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs Racecourse over a distance of one mile, four furlongs and 6 yards on the first Saturday of June each year. It is Britain's richest horse race, and the most prestigious of the five Classics.

St Leger (Flat)

Established in 1776, the St Leger Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race that is run at Doncaster and open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run over a distance of 1 mile; 6 furlongs and 115 yards takes place each year in September. The St Leger is the oldest of Britain's five Classics and the last of the five to be run each year.

The Major Horse Races, Meets and Festivals Each Year

The Cheltenham FestivalCheltenhamMarch
Grand NationalAintreeApril
Scottish Grand NationalAyrApril
Craven MeetingNewmarketApril
Sandown Gold Cup CelebrationSandown ParkApril
1,000 GuineasNewmarketMay
2,000 GuineasNewmarketMay
Chester's May FestivalChesterMay
Dante MeetingYorkMay
Epsom Derby Meeting (Derby & Oaks)Epsom DownsJune
Royal AscotAscotJune
John Smith's Northumberland PlateNewcastleJune
Eclipse MeetingSandown ParkJuly
Newmarket's July MeetingNewmarketJuly
King George DayAscotJuly
Glorious GoodwoodGoodwoodJuly
Ebor FestivalYorkAugust
Sprint CupHaydock ParkSeptember
St. Leger Meeting (St Leger)DoncasterSeptember
Western MeetingAyrSeptember
Ascot's September FestivalAscotSeptember
Cambridgeshire MeetingNewmarketOctober
Newmarket's October MeetingNewmarketOctober
Champions DayAscotOctober
North West MastersHaydock & AintreeNovember
Hennessy MeetingNewburyNovember
Tingle Creek MeetingSandown ParkDecember
Christmas Festival (King George VI Chase)Kempton ParkDecember
Welsh Grand NationalChepstowDecember


Major Horse Races to Bet On Internationally

Horse racing is hugely popular the world over and UK bookies will offer prices for you to make a bet on some of the world famous races going off around the globe. These include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup, known as “the race that stops the nation”, was first run in 1861 and is Australia's most famous annual horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over and is held each year at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. It is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world.

Kentucky Derby

Dubbed the Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. The race normally runs on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is an American Grade I stakes for three-year-old thoroughbreds and goes off over a distance of one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

The Breeders' Cup Classic is a Grade I Weight for Age thoroughbred horse race for 3-year-olds and older run at a distance of 1 1⁄4 miles. The event, which runs on dirt, is held annually at a different racetrack in the USA as part of the Breeders' Cup World Championships in late October or early November.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

France’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat horse race open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Longchamp in Paris over a distance of 2,400 metres and takes place each year on the first Sunday in October. After the Epsom Derby, the race is generally considered to be Europe's second most prestigious horse race.

Dubai World Cup

Carrying a purse of $12 million, the Dubai World Cup is the world's richest horse race and has been running since 1996. The race is run at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse each year in March as the final race Dubai World Cup night.


Horse Racing Explained – Other Factors To Consider

There are a lot of different things that can affect the result of a horse race. Here are five examples to help get horse racing betting explained more thoroughly and to get your critical thinking going. This should give you an example of the kind of thing you’ll want to consider when making predictions.

Type Of Race

The kind of race you are watching has a massive impact on all the horses involved. Despite this, it’s an often-overlooked part of horse racing betting explained articles. Usually, horse trainers will stick to a certain kind of race but the lengths involved in particular will impact the results of the race. To put it simply, some horses are better suited to some races more than others.


And it’s not just the type of race and the length of the track you have to consider, it is also the condition of the track itself. As we mentioned in our horse betting terms explained section this is known as the “going” and this indicates how soft or firm a track is. Some horses are specialists in certain conditions, while it can spell disaster for others.


Perhaps the most important thing to know in terms of getting horse racing betting explained, and before making a bet, is the recent form of the horse in question. In other words, how did their last races go compared to the others? Knowing this and correlating it with conditions and race types is a really strong foundation of knowledge for smarter betting.


Always remember that the horse is not out there alone. There is also the jockey to consider. They are a vital part of the result. On many occasions, a bad jockey has led to a terrible result for a favourite, so it is something to be considered deeply. You should view the form of the jockey just as you view the form of the horse.

Number of horses

This one is simple. If all other things are equal, more horses mean your pick has less a chance of winning. More horses also mean more caution, at least to a wise bettor. It may be worth changing a win bet to a place bet, for instance, should the circumstances suggest that is the wisest course of action.


Top 10 Racing Rules To Keep In Mind

Image Of Horse Close Up Mid-Race

When it comes to getting horse racing betting explained, it is worth pointing out that while you can understand much of how horse racing works simply by watching a few races, a deeper knowledge of how horse racing works can only serve to make you a better bettor. Plus, we have some interesting facts to enhance your appreciation of the sport of kings. Do note that the rules stated here are typical examples but could vary with the bookmaker. That said, here are ten of the most important rules for you to learn about our favourite equestrian pastime.

Bets are generally void if a race is abandoned.

However, if a bet is postponed by a single day, generally the bet still stands.

Bets from the UK and Ireland are generally settled on a first past the post basis alongside the official result.

The official result is announced at the weigh-in.

Each way bets have increasing place terms with the number of horses in the race
Typical place terms would include four places for 16 or more runners, three places for less, and two places for a small number of runners (around 5).

There is no set maximum or minimum bet, this is instead down to the bookmaker.

Customers are generally allowed to place bets right until the race begins, even if it is late to start.

Best Odds Guaranteed does not generally apply to live betting.

If a horse refuses to come out of stalls or start once the race has begun it will be considered to have lost the race, rather than as a non-runner.


7 Magnificent Horse Racing Facts

  • After winning the Derby in 1921, the world’s most successful horse at that time was discovered to have tuberculosis, effectively meaning it had won with the use of a single lung.
  • No horse over the age of 18 has ever won a race. The life expectancy of a horse is 30.
  • The first woman to ride in a professional race was Diane Crump. This was in 1968 at the Kentucky Derby. This was so controversial that she had to be escorted to and from the track due to fears for her safety.
  • The world’s most famous and successful racehorse, Secretariat, holder of the record on every Triple Crown race, was found upon his death to have a heart weighing 22 pounds. That is 2 and a half times the size of a normal horse heart.
  • The last horse to win the British Triple Crown was in 1970, this is partly because few owners will put their best horse in the St Leger race due to fears its length may have long-lasting consequences for the horse performic wise.
  • In the 1928 Grand National, only 2 horses made it to the finish. 41 other competitors fell due to appalling weather conditions.
  • Frank Hayes occasionally took the saddle as a jockey between being a horse trainer and stable worker, and the only race he ever won, he did so after dying from a heart attack mid-race, with the horse carrying his body over the finish line


History of Horse Racing

In one form or another, horse racing has existed for as long as humans and horses have been in contact with early records showing that horse racing took place in Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. UK horse racing is believed to date back to the 17th century during the reign of King James I. Consequently, many of today’s courses are sited on or close to old royal hunting grounds. The sport really gained influence in the 18th century during the reign of King Charles II who established Newmarket which today is the home of British National Stud Bloodstock, the showcase for British Thoroughbred breeding, at Rowley Mile.

It was for Newmarket that The Jockey Club was established in 1750. The newly formed organisation, which is still in existence today and runs 14 British racecourses, set the rules of the sport, prevented dishonesty and set about creating a level playing field for those involved. Thirty years later in 1780 the Epsom Derby was run for the first time, four years after the first running of the St Leger Stakes in 1776. Today, along with the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas and The Oaks, these make up Britain’s five classic races. Through the centuries, horse racing became more and more popular and thanks to TV and the internet, it is now one of the most watched and bet on sports in the UK.


Horse Racing Betting Explained FAQs

Fixed odds simply mean that the odds you have accepted, or possibly requested, are locked down for you no matter which way the market moves.
SP simply means starting price, as in the odds when the race went off. If you need help calculating your predicted final payout, check out our free betting calculators that will help give you a sum total of your estimated final winnings for a variety of different betting systems.
NR means non-runner, as in a horse that was scheduled to run in a race but then, for whatever reason, didn’t.
Each way betting in horse racing is the same as it is in all other sports. It just means your bet includes two stakes, one for the win and another for a place.
You can bet live on many races, the only caveat is that Best Odds Guaranteed promotions may not apply.
The most popular types of horse racing are flat and national hunt races. The latter is best known for the obstacles such as fences which horses must overcome. Many of these popular races can also be streamed live.

ThePuntersPage Final Say

Our aim here was to get horse racing betting explained to anyone and everyone. This is helped in our opinion by the virtue of horse racing offering a perfect blend of simplicity with depth. Ultimately, a race of any kind is not too hard to understand. But by digging deeper, just as we have done in this article, you can not only learn how to make smarter bets but also develop a new appreciation for the sport of kings.