Horse racing betting is a ginormous industry in its own right within the betting world. With 100’s of races every day throughout the world, you will never have a problem finding an event to bet on. Due to its popularity, there are several wagers that can be placed on horse racing as well as jargon you might not be familiar with.

Throughout this guide, we will give you a brief intro to everything you will need to know about betting on horse racing.

Horse Racing Betting Explained

Horse racing betting is simply defined as the act of gambling on horse races. Typically punters will be betting on a horse to win the race or finish in the top few positions but due to the evolution of betting markets, there are now several bets that can be placed on horse races. All of these different types of bets will be explained later in the article.


The odds on horse races have the potential to fluctuate a lot. Maybe more so than the majority of other sporting events. This is because there are several factors that can influence the chances of a horse winning a race. As an experiment, you should watch the market 10 minutes before a race begins up to the point where the race gets underway to get an understanding of how crazy the markets can be.

Odds are formatted in the same way as they would be with almost any other sport. Usually represented as either fractions or decimals.

The most typical horse bet will be in the form of fixed odds. These odds are the easiest to understand because when you place a bet with fixed odds your bet will remain the same no matter how the market reacts at a later date.

Punters will also have an option to place an ante-post bet or to place a starting price bet. An ante-post bet can be placed before the horse racing market opens in the hope of backing a horse at a greater value than it will be closer to the start of the race. While with a starting price you will be betting with odds that the horse is set at the beginning of the race.

Starting Price

A starting price or SP refers to the price of the horse when the race gets underway. As touched upon before the odds for a horse race can fluctuate a lot in the lead up to a race and the potential for odds to drift is very high. you will benefit from this type of bet if the odds for the horse you have backed begin to drift.


Handicap betting in horse racing is used to bring the whole field closer together. In races where there is a heavy favorite, they might decide to handicap that horse slightly by carrying extra weight allocated by the handicapper. The secret to successful handicap betting is predicting which horses will still be good enough to overcome their handicaps.

Race Cards

Race Cards will be provided for every race and will usually consist of the same information. The most important things being the names of the horses running and their odds. The card should also include the horse’s form and the ground conditions that will be in place during the race.


It is possible to study the form of horses before you place a bet. The form effectively looks into how the horses have performed in previous races. We can use this information to decide what types of bets represent good value. We can also use it to understand which horses have the most experience.

Photo Finish

A photo finish will be needed in the event where the finish is too close to call with the naked eye. In the past, a lot more races were declared as dead heats but with the vast amount of technology available to sport these days, it’s usually very easy to declare a winner even if it’s by the finest of margins. Dead heats do still exist though even with the invention of photo finishes.

Rule 4

Rule 4 is used to shorten the odds of your runner when horses have been withdrawn from a race. This happens because the chances of your horse winning increase because there are fewer runners in the field. In other words, an amount of money is taken away from the balance to make up for the shortened field.


If there is a non-runner in a horse race this can affect the odds of the horse you have bet on. If the horse you have backed is the non-runner, your bet will consequently be void and your stake will be returned to you.

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