The Beginners Guide to Horse Racing

Betting on horses is one of the most popular sport outlets when it comes to gambling.

Believe it or not, it actually is not relatively difficult to pick up as a beginner, and that preparation and research that you commit to in the beginning is massively important when it comes to progressing fast and picking up what you need to know and when it comes to understanding all the different types of bets there are in horse racing. 

Within this short guide, you will become familiar with the foundation and principles of horse race betting.

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Straight Wagers

This form of betting is usually the first genre of betting within horse racing, that punters feel most comfortable in attacking. They come in the form of Win bets, Place bets and finally Show bets.

These bets are available for all types of horse racing, so you could comfortably try these out, the next time big races like The Royal Ascot, Kentucky Derby and Melbourne Cup!

Win Betting 

Win betting is of course in the name, meaning you will need the selection you place a bet on to actually win. There is no leeway for this bet to secure you a return. It either has to be right, or you go home with nothing unfortunately. So, this is ultimately the most difficult bet of all three straight wagers.

Winning odds are primarily determined by the form of the horse in question.  On average most people receive a return on this form of betting on every three races. It is often the most exciting betting experience out of all three, and therefore the most popular choice for beginners!

Place Betting 

Place betting is the betting type that will require you to select which horse will come in the places. The terminology is a little different between the US and UK.

In the US, place betting typically means your horse needs to finish in the top two for you to receive a return on your bet.

In the UK however, how many places are offered depends on how many horses are in the race and the type of race. As a rule of thumb though, it is normally two places if there are 5-7 runners, three places for 8-15 runners and four places for 16+ runners.

Place betting is easier to get a return from in comparison to a win bet. However, the payoff of this bet is lower for that very reason – for example a quarter or a fifth of the win odds. Therefore, when going into making this bet you will have to pay more to win less, but have a higher chance of achieving a return.

A variation on place betting is each-way betting. This is where you are placing half your stake on a horse to win and half on it to finish in the places.

Show Betting 

Show betting is more common in the US than the UK.

A Show Bet means you will need to make sure the horse that you selected finishes in first, second or third place.

Again, just like place betting, because it’s considered an easier option to pick, you will be paid less if you manage to make a winning bet from this scenario – again normally a quarter or a fifth of the win odds.

Exotic Betting 

Last but not least, we have the exotic bets. These are far more difficult than straight wagers, that is for sure.

Newcomers to this form of betting will often struggle in getting to grasp the foundations of this, therefore it is not recommended that beginners jump on these right away, before they have adjusted to the principles of straight wagers. You would be running before you can walk essentially.

The easiest of all exotic bets in horse racing is the Exacta bet. This is where you will need to select the first two horses to finish across the line (and in the correct order).

Another alternative exotic bet you could try is the Quinella betting, where you pick the first two horses to finish and it can be in either order.

You could up this then by selecting Double exotic betting, where you will need to predict the right horses for two consecutive races, but definitely build up your try of these exotic bets within the order mentioned above.



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