Betting on horses is a Great British tradition that goes back at least 300 years and is popular amongst many. With so many races to choose from, running near daily around the world, it offers a wide variety of betting opportunities.
Whether you’re taking a punt on the Grand National, getting into the spirit of the Cheltenham Festival, or want to join in with the excitement of the Melbourne Cup, you’ll find everything you need for successful horse race betting at Grosvenor Sport. We’ve got up-to-date odds for all the horse races that count and plenty of horse race betting markets, plus stats and horse racing betting tips.
To help you get started with your betting, we’ve put together this clear and simple horse racing betting guide to explain how horse race betting odds work and the different types of bets you’ll be able to make. Stick with us and make the most of our horse racing betting tips for successful betting.
HOW DO HORSE BETTING ODDS WORK?
Horse racing odds can look a little intimidating at first, but you’ll quickly get the hang of them.
The odds you’ll see in horse betting are based on the probability of something happening, such as a horse winning a race. You’ll see the odds written as a fraction like 4/1. This means, if the exact same race was run five times, we’d expect that horse to win one of them and lose four.
If you were to bet £1 on a horse to win at 4/1, and they do, you’d win £4 and get your £1 wager back. As an example, let’s say you want to place a bet to win. You can read horse race betting odds like this:
|Runner||Odds to win||Pay-out for £1 bet|
The favourite to win the race has the lowest odds, as the probability of winning is the highest. In the above example, horse 3 is the favourite at 9/4, and offers the lowest pay-out.
Horse racing odds are affected by how other people bet on the race and are continually changing. When you win with a bet, your pay-out will be based on the odds at the time when you made the bet.
Grosvenor’s Pro Tip: When picking bets, our bet calculator gives you details on the stakes you’ve selected, the total amount and the potential win amount. It’s the perfect way to plan your betting.
WHAT TYPES OF BETS CAN I MAKE ON HORSE RACES?
With our comprehensive horse racing betting markets, you’ll see there’s a wide variety of bets you can make, from simple to win wagers to combined bets on the outcomes of multiple races. Here are the most common bets you can make on horse racing:
WIN BET, PLACE & EACH-WAY BETS
Win bet: The simplest bet you can place on a horse race. This is a bet on whether or not a horse will come first. If your horse wins, so do you.
Place bet: This is bet on whether a horse will finish in a particular place in a race, usually first, second or third (sometimes fourth too). If your horse finishes in the top three places, you win.
Each-way bet: This combines two bets into one, a win bet and a place bet. If your horse wins the race, you’ll win on both bets. If your horse finished second or third, you’ll win on just the place bet.
These combine two, three or more bets across multiple races into one wager. You can bet to win, to place, or each way on multiple races. You need to win each individual bet to get your pay out.
Double bet: A bet on the outcome of two races.
Treble bet: A bet on the outcome of three races.
Accumulator bet: A bet on the outcome of four or more races.
Multiple bets usually offer longer, more unlikely odds than single bets, as the odds of each individual bet are multiplied together. But if you win, your returns will be higher.
STRAIGHT FORECAST, REVERSE FORECAST & TRICAST BETS
Whereas multiple bets allow you to bet across more than one race, forecast bets combine bets on more than one outcome in a single race. This includes combining bets on which horses you think will come first, second and third.
Straight forecast bet: You bet on which horses will come first and second in a race, and in which exact order.
Reverse forecast bet: You bet on which horses will come first and second in a race, but in any order.
Tricast bets: You bet on which horses will come first, second and third in a race, and in which order.
As with multiple bets, the odds of each individual bet in a forecast bet are combined. This gives you longer odds but higher potential winnings if your forecast bet plays out.
TIPS ON PICKING AND BETTING ON YOUR FAVOURITE HORSE
Some people pick a horse based on nothing more than its name or the colours the jockey is wearing. But if you want to maximise your chances of winning, you need to approach horse race betting with a more systematic style. We recommend you study the horses running, their past form and the course, and you get to know the jockeys and the trainers, before you place your bets.
AGE, WEIGHT AND FORM OF THE HORSES
Age: Different horse races are open to horses of varying ages. For example, the Grand National is open to horses aged over 7 years. Often younger horses have the advantage of youth, so a seven-year-old horse may be a better bet in the Grand National than a nine-year-old runner. However, sometimes experience counts. So don’t overlook older horses entirely, especially if they have good past form on similar courses.
Weight: Typically, lighter horses are quicker, as they carry less weight. If you’re comparing runners of a similar ability and form, you may want to bet on the lighter one.
Form: A horse’s recent form is one of the most important factors to consider as it shows how well a horse is currently running. If a horse has won or placed in recent races, it may well perform well that day. If a horse has recently finished at the back of the field, it likely won’t and could even be carrying a slight injury.
GET TO KNOW THE COURSE, TRAINERS AND JOCKEYS
As well as casting your eye over the runners of a race, you should understand the course and know the jockeys and trainers too.
Course: To pick the right horses in your bets, you need to know about the course they’re racing on. Whether it’s flat or has jumps, each course is unique and some racetracks will favour certain types of horses. A short course with a downhill finish will typically favour faster-paced horses. A longer course with an uphill finish will favour strong stayers.
Jockey: Just as a horse can be in good form, so can a jockey. A recent string of race wins can show a jockey is at the peak of their game. Also, some jockeys do well in particular types of races or on specific courses. It pays to know the riders and the races they have history with.
Trainer: It pays to keep an eye on trainers too. If a trainer has racked up a host of recent wins, it shows they’re keeping their horses in good condition and are doing the right work to get them winning. Just like with jockeys, some trainers have favourite races too, and their horses may be more likely to win or place in those races.
TYPES OF HORSE RACING COMPETITIONS
There are two main types of races to bet on in the UK; flat races and jump races.
Flat races are run on a flat course, and are organised as Group 1, 2 and 3 races, plus Listed races. Group 1 races are the most important. The most prestigious of the Group 1 races in the UK are The Classics – the 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks, the Derby, and the St Leger Stakes.
Jump races, also called National Hunt races, are run on a course that includes fences, like hurdles and steeplechase water jumps. Jump races are organised into Grade 1, 2 and 3 races, then Listed, Handicaps and Bumpers. The two most prestigious British jump races are the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL & GRAND NATIONAL
The two biggest events in the National Hunt calendar are the Grant National and the Cheltenham Festival. Both are massive occasions, full of pomp and ceremony and tradition, and include some of the most popular races in the world to bet on. These are absolute must-sees in the horse betting calendar.
Grand National: A 4 mile and 2.5-furlong race with 30 hurdles, held each year at Aintree Racecourse in April. The Grand National is one of the most popular races to bet on in the UK and is the most valuable jump race in Europe. It’s definitely a race you don’t want to miss out on. The Grand National draws in tens of thousands of casual betters each year, who don’t normally bet on horses. Picking runners based on their names is common with the Grand National. But having read our horse racing betting guide and tips, we know you’ll be studying the form of the runners, jockeys and trainers.
Cheltenham Festival: A four-day National Hunt meeting held annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse. The Cheltenham Festival is a huge meeting that offers upwards of 25 races, including some of the biggest Grade 1 races in the National Hunt season with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, and the Stayers’ Hurdle. The Cheltenham Festival is bursting with horse betting opportunities for a canny wager.
Place your bets with us for the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival, as well as for the rest of the races from around the world. Our extensive offering of horse betting markets and competitive odds ensures that you’ll find exciting horse betting opportunities at Grosvenor Casino year-round.