How To

A Guide on How to Bet on Horse Racing


You are in the right place if you don’t know your fillies from your colts, your bays from your greys, and your bumpers from your jumpers. Here is our beginner’s guide to horse racing:


Humans have raced with horses for as long as we have been able to tame them. Peoples have been racing horses by either following in a chariot or on their backs. Evidence shows that ancient Greeks were racing with them as early as 700 BC.

People began racing with horses in the form we know today in the 17th century. This is when King James I suddenly liked horse racing. “Sports of Kings” was born during this time, and it became popular with the English aristocracy.

The origin of most of the big races around today was in the 1700s. The sport itself and horse breeding became more effectively regulated during this time, so horse racing became more popular. It is even more popular these days because of the internet and television. Horse racing is one of the most popular sports to bet on and watch in Ireland and the United Kingdom visit sports betting India for some online betting.

Types of Horse Race

There are two distinct branches of horse racing in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Firstly, flat racing, which is simple. The horses start and run around a curved track or in a straight line. Once they finish, the winner is the first horse past the post.

Secondly, National Hunt racing, which is a little bit complicated for both the jockeys and horses. This is because the horses must negotiate obstacles on the way around the track.

Hurdles and steeplechases are the two main categories of National Hunt racing. (There are also flat races known as “bumpers” in National Hunt racing. However, these races are not very common.)

How are hurdles and steeplechases different? The horse must jump higher and more solid fences in steeplechases than the hurdles in the hurdle chases. Steeplechases usually include water and open ditches jump to add a little more excitement and danger. However, the excitement and danger depend on whether you are riding or watching the race.

Horse races are also categorized by the distance they will run and the experience and age of the horses in both National Hunt and flat races.

Classifications of Races

The series of classifications in both National Hunt and flat racing indicate the prestige, such as the quality of the horses in the race and the amount paid out in prize money (purse value).

Group 1 offers the biggest purses and attracts the best horses because it is the top classification in flat racing. The races descend in rank through Group 2, Group 3, listed races, and lastly handicap races.

Grade 1 races are the best races in National Hunt racing. The races go down through Grade, Grade 3, listed races, handicaps, and finally bumpers (flat). They also give races “class” from 1 to 7. However, all listed and graded races belong to Class 1.

An official from the Jockey Club provides a decent show with exciting and close races by setting the weight that each horse must carry in handicap racing. In general, better horses usually carry more weight.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

The betting element brings most of the excitement of the horse races for most fans of horse racing. The part and parcel of horse racing experience these days is the build up to the race, the tension before the race, the explosion of the horses, and the disappointment or jubilation as the horse you backed finish the race.

You are or are not likely to be a beginner in betting if you are new to horse racing. You can learn more about horse racing in our How to Best on Horse article. It is important to learn how to place your bet before placing your first bet, especially if you are a beginner in a horse racing bet.

To summarize, you must first understand the odds since the UK system mostly displays the odds as fractions. For example, you will receive £5 back (this includes your original stake) for every £1 you bet in the odds of 5/1 if your horse wins the race.

There are also each way bets in horse race betting. You will place two bets if you are backing a horse each way: you will bet on one for the horse to “place” and another for the horse to win the race.

A horse can place in second, third, fourth, and even fifth depending on the size of the field (because bookmakers usually provide special offers on the biggest horse races, such as the Grand National). The bookmarker pays the place at a part of the main odds, usually ¼ of the main odds.

The cost of each way is twice the stake of a winning bet, but there are two chances of winning. The bookmarker pays for both the win and the place bets if your horse wins the race.

There are a variety of bets in horse racing betting, which include Totepool bets, multiple selections from different races, predicting the correct order of the first two or three horses, and many more. You need to understand each type of bet before you place your bet. New to horse racing betting?

Read our How to Bet on Horse Racing before you place your first bet.


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Akash Saini
Akash is an editor of Ok Easy Life. He is an atheist who believes in love and cultural diversity. Reach out to him at