Horse Trotting Betting Guide – Everything You Need To Know in 2022

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A form of harness racing, trotting is an exhilarating mix of strategy and mental endurance as well as physical excellence. Here, we’ll be breaking down all the things you need to know, the how, where and when’s of horse trotting betting, alongside strategic trotting tips, so you can hit these markets at the right pace.

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What Is a Trotting Race?

Trotting is a form of harness racing, in the same way T20 is an alternate form of cricket.

  • Trotting is much more common in Europe, especially continental Europe, whereas North America generally prefers the faster speed of pacing.
  • Harness racing is where the jockey is pulled on a two-wheeled cart as opposed to riding the horse. If you think of a modernised version of chariot racing, you’re not too far off. In fact, many consider its history to begin with chariot racing in the early Olympics.
  • The inclusion of the cart (also known as a sulky), however, is not the only way in which harness races are different to your standard horse race. You see, harness races take place across two different gaits known as trotting and pacing.
  • Gait is a term that refers to a manner of walking, with the distinction between these two versions of the sport dictated by the movement of the legs of the horse.
  • The trotting horse must be moving its legs in diagonal pairs, meaning that as the left leg moves forward, so would the right hind leg, hitting the ground at the same time.
  • A pace is where the horse moves laterally - that is to say, the left front and side would hit the ground together, as would the right legs in the next stride.
In horse trotting betting, if a trotting horse breaks its stride, then it may be disqualified. On an initial break the horse may be allowed to be pulled back to trot, but if the stride is broken for a long period or multiple times, then disqualification is very likely. This is the key rule distinction between horse trotting online betting and your more common traditional horse racing betting - the possibility of disqualification at the slightest break in discipline is why this is considered as much a strategic and psychological sport, as it is one of speed and endurance.

 

Trotting Racecourses in the United Kingdom

Because trotting races are not common in the UK, only a few venues are worth mentioning here. These are York Racecourse, Musselburgh, Ludlow, Corbiewood Racecourse near Bannockburn and Tir Prince Racecourse in Wales. It is also in Wales where the nomadic Tregaron Festival, the nation's showpiece trotting event, runs each year.

Why Bet On Harness Racing – Trotting Races

With so many ways to bet, including horse racing alongside greyhound racing, you may be wondering whether it is worth going out the way to bet on harness racing.

Here are top five reasons why we consider horse trotting betting online to be one of the most fascinating and satisfying sports to bet on today.

  • 01
    It’s an amazing spectacle
    Horse racing is always an amazing spectacle - just consider the iconic Cheltenham Festival or The Grand National. If the atmosphere of the sport is a big part of your experience, then you will love the unique twist horse trotting betting racing has on the sights, sounds and pageantry of racing. The race itself with the two-wheeled cart has a unique look, and there is an elegance to maintaining the gait which provides an experience like no other.
  • 02
    Easy to understand
    The basic concept of a horse race, even with the additional rules, remains similar. You can expect most of the same markets that are available for any other form of horse racing, from picking winners to placing big forecast bets. Even the racing form remains largely the same.*
  • 03
    Plenty of promotions are available
    We will go into the specifics of what you can expect in more detail shortly, but know that right now, plenty of horse trotting betting promotions are available.
  • 04
    It’s growing in popularity
    While we would not necessarily say that the sport itself has exploded into greater realms of popularity in recent years - it has its origins back in the days of chariot racing, after all - it is getting much bigger in terms of online betting. That means you can expect to find more horse trotting betting sites, offering more markets and more coverage.
  • 05
    The rules add a strategic element
    The thing which makes trotting horse betting unique is that gait requirement. It fundamentally changes the sport, providing unique strategic elements that should intrigue any racing fan.
*Our horse racing guide for beginners can provide tons of useful information for this variation of the sport, alongside horse racing in general. Read more about the similarities between horse trotting betting online and other forms of horse racing betting here.

How Is Trotting Different From Other Forms of Horse Racing?

Understanding the differences between trotting racing and other forms of horse racing is vital.

For context, when we have discussed horse racing in this article, we are largely referring to both flat racing and jump racing, as these are the two most common forms of the sport that you’ll find when betting on horse racing online. Here are the key differences between trotting racing, and those two very common options.

  • Trotting is a form of harness racing, in other forms of racing the jockey rides the horse itself.
  • There are no jumps in trotting.
  • The gait is different for trotting compared to pacing and galloping.
  • There are rules disqualifying racers in horse trotting betting for breaking a gait. This is not the case in flat or horse racing, where speed is the primary objective and a gallop is employed.
  • Forms of harness racing, as we see with trotting races, are often run on clay or dirt surfaces, whereas other forms may be ran on synthetic surfaces such as turf.
  • The lower impact of trotting racing allows for horses to race more often, sometimes multiple times a month.
  • The breeds of horses often come from different lineages - for instance, they tend to be Standardbreds due to them being more placid. They also have shorter legs than the Thoroughbreds you can find in flat and steeplechase races.
  • There is generally less money in trotting, although the purses available are still plentiful.
  • Trotting racing often starts from behind a motorised gate, allowing the horses to get the correct gait before beginning.

Other than that, you should pretty much know what to expect. That’s the magic of trotting racing, just enough difference to intrigue, not enough to confuse.

There are also considerable differences between trotting racing and endurance racing, where horses are tested on extremely long races, and virtual horse racing, which provides a computerised rendition of all kinds of horse racing.

 

Most Popular Horse Trotting Events

(Source: Pixabay | © Verga)

While horse trotting betting online may not quite be as universally covered as some other forms of horse racing, make no mistake that the number of betting options out there is vast. This is a sport which is popular across continents, meaning there’s no shortage of events for harness racing fans. The only problem this poses for us is that there’s so many great options to choose from – picking just a few to showcase was quite a challenge!

After a lot of consideration, here are five key examples of top horse trotting betting events.

Prix d’Amerique

Considered by many to be the most important and prestigious trotting event in the world, this race has taken place on the last Sunday in January every year since 1920, and was originally founded to honour American troops in the great war. It takes place in France, but is an international affair, bringing together the best the world has to offer, with coverage in dozens of countries to challenge for half a million euros over 2,700 metres.

V75

Note that we said the most important horse trotting betting events, rather than specific races. That is because the likes of the V75 exist. The V75 is a betting game where you pick seven pre-decided races, and if five or more predictions are correct, congratulations are in order - you've won. This allows you to bet across different classes and divisions, and is the perfect way to get into the sport in a broad, newcomer-friendly way using Scandinavia’s epic selection of races as a platform.

Hambletonian Stakes

Moving into North America now to showcase the international scope of the sport, we could think of no better example of harness racing in this region than annual Hambletonian Stakes. This race takes place between three-year-out Standardbreds across a single mile, with a whopping million dollar purse to be won. A great showcase of the distinctly American history within the sport, this event takes place every August.

Inter Dominion Trotting Championship

The Inter Dominion series aims to provide the best trotting racing Australia and New Zealand has to offer, making a triumphant return in 2018. The 2022 edition is set to take place in the epic Tabcorp Park in Menangle, South Wales, Australia. An amazingly diverse racing event.

Elitloppet

Back in Sweden now with arguably their grandest trotting race with the Elitloppet (“the elite race”).An event that's one of scandal and of great history, it offers a little under a million dollars in prize money. It’s also home of the world record for a mile rate at 1:55:3 over 1.95 miles, achieved by Wild Love in 2021! This is proof that history is always being made in this great sport.

Key Horse Trotting 2022 Event Dates

There are hundreds of horse trotting betting online events to choose from. To narrow your choices down to the very best, we’ve provided a list of 10 event dates you can look forward to. If you want a more comprehensive look at races throughout the world, there are resources throughout Europe and America for you to check out online.

RaceLocationNext Racing Date
Auckland Pacing CupAlexandra Park, Auckland, New Zealand12/03/2022
ElitloppetSolvallas Internationella Elitlopp, Stockholm, Sweden27-29/05/2022
York 3YO ChampionshipYork Harness Raceway, York, England18/06/2022
Huge Abergs MemorialJägersro trav & galopp, Skane County, Sweden26/07/2022
HambletonianMeadowland Racetrack, New Jersey, United States6/08/2022
Little Brown JugCounty Fairnground, Delaware, United States29/09/2022
New Zealand CupRiccarton Park, Christchurch, New Zealand12/11/2022
Inter Dominion Trotting ChampionshipTabcorp Park, Menangle, South Wales, Australia12/12/2022
Prix d’AmeriqueVincennes Hippodrome, Paris, France29/01/2023
The York 3Y0 Championship in the United Kingdom is not one of the largest harness races by any means. In fact, because the sport is less popular in the UK, we don’t think any British examples can be considered at the same scale as many of the other on our list. However, we’ve put it here as an example to show you that although harness racing may be lesser-known, it is regularly available to watch and bet on in the UK.

 

Promotions and Trotting

Trotting betting is not as popular right now as some other forms of horse racing, though that does not mean that there’s not a ton of great horse trotting betting online sites. However, it does mean that trotting betting bonuses are not always the focus at your favourite horse racing betting sites.

What does this mean for promotions and trotting? Well, it means that there might be few dedicated trotting betting bonuses.

Notice here that we say, “dedicated trotting betting bonuses”. Many of the finest promotions out there are broadly available across a wide variety of sports.

So, while trotting may not appear in many bonus headlines, horse trotting betting does still have access to an enormous variety of general sporting promotions as well as most horse racing promotions. These can range from free bets and welcome offer bonus codes to enhanced place and profit boosts – not a shabby selection at all.

 

Live Betting and Trotting

While live coverage is broadly available for horse racing – and this including horse trotting betting – often you will only be available to bet before the race begins.

The reason behind this is simple – the race may simply be too short and too fast-paced for live betting to be feasible, and this remains the case with horse trotting betting. That said, we do take live coverage very seriously in our look at the best horse trotting betting online bookmakers, with live betting available on some horse trotting betting sites.

 

Horse Trotting Betting Markets

The betting variety for horse trotting betting is virtually identical to typical horse racing markets – everything you could expect from a flat race you should be able to find on your favourite bookmakers for trotting racing.

Think of how the markets don’t really change across flat racing and steeplechase racing as an example. It’s the same for horse trotting betting; with the exception of the possibility of being able to bet on harness racing disqualifications, the markets you can expect are identical. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key markets you can expect:

Outright Win

Of course, as with absolutely anything in sport, a winner must be found, and where there’s a winner, there’s a wager – an outright wager, to be exact. With an outright bet, punters are required to successfully predict, while risking money for potential profit, the winner of the upcoming event. So, in this case, we mean the winning horse and cart of a trotting race.

Each-Way

If your online bookmaker is offering each-way betting odds, then you are in luck. Each-way bets are really handy and definitely well worth considering, given that they allow your selection a certain leeway to finish well, yet ultimately fall short and still return a paying bet.

This is because an each-way bet is comprised of two parts. The first part is dedicated to your selection registering an outright win, while the second part is a place bet, meaning your horse and its rider can finish in the top three or four challengers.

Head-To-Head

Head-to-head betting pits two rivals against each other, which mean that you are predicting which horse will win between two or more selections. One has to beat the other, but doesn’t necessarily need to win the race in order to return as a winner.

Forecast Betting

Select not just the top two horses, but the top two in the order in which they finish, making this market great for long odds. A Reverse Forecast bet sees you do this again, but this time lightening the difficulty by allowing you to predict them in any order.

Place Insurance

An interesting market similar to each-way, Place Insurances allows you to only get your stake back if your pick places in second or third in return for higher odds if they win (although lower odds than simply backing them To Win). An interesting mid-ground in terms of risk and reward.

 

Trotting Betting Strategy & Tips

Horse racing is a sport of great strategy, with horse trotting betting perhaps even more so. It’s a race with tons of depth, and that’s one of the things we love about it. Even so, the key things to keep in mind can be broken down to a few key trotting tips. These include the following:

  • 01
    Study the racing form
    Just like regular horse racing, the most important thing you can do to get ahead is to study the racecards. You should generally know what to expect here if you have ever studied any kind of horse racing form before, as it includes largely the same information. This is your readily available trotting horse racing study guide, especially useful if the sport and competitors are new to you, and even handier considering the regularity with which they run.
  • 02
    Understand the difference between horse racing types
    Helping contextualise those racing forms and your own betting strategy are the rule differences between horse trotting betting and other kinds of horse racing. The differences are simple, but if you learn them and keep them in mind while studying the forms and making your bets, you will already be a step ahead of most newcomers to horse trotting betting online.
  • 03
    Watch trotting races before betting
    And, if you are brand-new to horse trotting betting, then you will want to check out the sport yourself before testing your luck. Not only does it hammer home those important differences for strategic reasons, but it is also a ton of fun to watch horse racing. Arguably the most enjoyable of our harness racing tips.
  • 04
    Use those general promotions
    As mentioned, just because horse trotting betting is not necessarily the first thing advertised with general promotions does not mean they are not available on horse trotting betting sites. They are plentiful, and you should absolute seek out and use them wherever possible.
  • 05
    Bet more conservatively to begin with
    What we are referring to in our fifth example of harness racing tips is betting even smaller than you typically would to begin with to get some experience. This is also great advice if you are new to placing a bet online generally.

 

Trotting History

  • Historians, and Hollywood for that matter, tell us that Roman gladiators used chariot races - far more bloody than the chases we have today - as a source of entertainment. That may be so, but as far as we know, trotting racing has quite an international post-Roman era history.
  • Around 1554 in Valkenburg in The Netherlands, 3,000 horses competed in trotting matches at a horse fair. This event has evolved into The Golden Whip, the most famous trotting event in Holland, and was first run in 1777 at Soestdijk.
  • In the UK, trotting races first took place on Newmarket Heath on 29th August 1750. At the time, the Earl of March and the Earl of Eglintowne bet 1,000 guineas that four horses would be able to lead a four-wheeled carriage, with one person inside for 19 miles inside of an hour. A century and a half later, the modern-day Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, steered a trotter around the former racecourse in Lanarkshire, Scotland. However, the sport of harness racing was fully formed in the United States during the 1800s following a competition between mail-delivery horses.

 

Trotting Racing – Interesting Facts and Stats

  • In Europe, most harness races are trot-based.
  • In the US, New Zealand and Australia, pacing is preferred.
  • The horses pull a cart known as a ‘sulky'.
  • The whip is there purely to make a loud noise and not to hit the trotting horse. Instead, the idea is to focus their attention.
  • Horses can race from ages 2 through 15 years old.
  • The Prix d’Amerique is considered to be the most prestigious trotting race in the world.
  • Most trotters are Standardbreds, as their temperament is considered more suitable for this type of racing.
  • Horses are released while moving, thanks to a motorised starting gait.
  • Most horses bred for this type of racing come from the same Standardbred named “Hambletonian”
  • It is more popular than flat racing in many parts in the world; however, this is not the case in the UK and Ireland.

 

Trotting FAQs

This is more about leg movement (gait) than it is about speed, although there is a tiny difference regarding the latter. Trotting is where front and hind legs of differing sides move forward at the same time, whereas with pacing, the entire left side moves alternately with the entire right side. Most horses trot naturally.
Pacing is about three seconds per mile faster than trotting, even though it is slightly more unnatural for the horse. In Europe, trotting is the only stride allowed for the majority of races.
Harness races start slowly and already on the move behind a vehicle known as a gate car. This has shields that form a barrier which, when out of the way, allows the horses to gradually increase their speed.
In Wales, the home of British trotting racing, grass tracks are more popular. However, in the rest of the UK, all-weather tracks are in place.
Yes, you can. While not as popular on UK bookmakers as flat or steeplechase races, they are still commonly available across multiple operators, including those recommended in this article.
Yes – although they may not be exclusively aimed at trotting markets, many general sports betting promotions are available to use on horse trotting betting.
It depends on the bookmaker. Live betting is less common on horse racing generally, not just for horse trotting betting, due to the fast-paced nature and shorter running times.
There are literally hundreds across the world! Some prominent examples include Prix d’Amerique, Little Brown Jug and the New Zealand Cup. Check out our events date table for more.

 

ThePuntersPage Final Say

Horse trotting as a racing sport is unique, for sure, but that is very much to its strength as its adds in elements of spectacle and strategy not seen elsewhere – but not so much so that you are learning something completely new. There’s more that horse trotting betting has in common with traditional horse racing than distinguishes it, including markets and promotions.

Trotting still remains horse racing’s greatest hidden weapon in the likes of Britain and Ireland, and we expect it to become prominent amongst more UK/Irish bookmakers as time goes on. But there’s no need to wait – you can enjoy what horse trotting betting has to offer right now!