When speaking about horse racing, some people tend to not treat the subject very seriously. In all fairness, except for a select few countries from around the world, horse racing isn’t that popular to warrant a discussion.
The UK, though, is one of those countries where the discussion is not only warranted – it’s absolutely necessary. The sport has been around for quite some time, and excites all types of Brits: young and old, rich or poor, doesn’t matter. Horse racing is a crowd favourite, and the biggest races of the year are notable days in anyone’s calendar. The UK sports betting industry, of course, has followed suit.
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How To Choose A Good Betting Site For Horse Racing
Finding the best bookmakers to start a long-lasting relationship around horse racing betting can be a bit hard. First off, you have to understand the sport well enough – we’re not saying it’s particularly hard, but it’s not as easy as football betting either.
Moreover, you don’t have the luxury of that many events as in other sports. The calendar year only has so many races, and you have to make them count.
Finally, some online betting sites just choose to ignore this segment of the market, by either offering sub-par betting options or not treating it with the priority it deserves. In order to find a reliable bookmaker to start you betting career, here are a few things which you should consider:
Welcome Bonuses, Free Bets And Promotions
Bonuses are another extremely important topic. A good bookmaker has a good balance between an exciting welcome bonus and several free bets and promotions for existing customers – and by a good balance. We value a good welcome bonus quite highly, and if the bonus is right and you also play your cards right, you’re in for a treat.
For example: if you’re an experienced punter and a bookmaker gives you a 100% welcome deposit bonus, up to a few hundreds of pounds, you will essentially play on house money your entire betting career. Sure, it’s important that they keep you on your toes with some bonuses over the course of the year, but the welcome one is the most important.
Quality Of Odds
Quality of odds is a bit of a no-brainer, but equally important as in any other sport. Take a few minutes of your day and analyse each broker’s odds to those of their competitors. Take 3-4 different races and compare odds, and do this over a significant period of time: a month should be enough.
Then, you will be able to reach a clear conclusion about the quality of their odds. Make no mistake here! Even small differences, like 0,02 – 0,03 here and there will add up at the end of the year. Pay attention to how quickly they change odds as well.
We all know that a bookmaker changes odds based on how popular a certain event is and how many people bet on one horse or the other. The quicker the broker is to change odds, the fairer these will get (although, viewing the problem from a different angle, they will be harder to exploit.)
Betting Markets And Options
Markets and options are probably the most critical aspect of betting on horse racing. The number of races each year is fairly stable – there are few major races in the UK in January and February, and the season begins in March and ends in December.
Make sure your bookmaker of choice offers all these major races, and a few foreign ones won’t be bad as well – they simply add do the depth of events you can bet on. Also, the more betting options you have on a single event, the more ways you have to make money.
Live streaming services are not critically important, but nice to have – and since technology has kept evolving in the last few years, it has become almost a pre-requisite. Since horse races don’t tend to last a whole lot, using a broker which offers live streaming services can be quite nice.
After all, it’s great to be able to watch the race in the same place you placed your bet in. It feels almost like being there at the track, with the wind blowing through your hair and being able to smell the horses. Well, not really, but it’s as close as you can get from the comfort of your own home.
Website Quality And Features
Website/app quality is another must in the 21st century. Nobody has the patience to work with slow, unresponsive websites any more, and no real broker doesn’t have his website optimized for mobile traffic nowadays. Bonus points if they have a mobile app as well, and double bonus points if they both work flawlessly. Customers will be spending a lot of time on this website and app, so the better they work, the happier you’ll be in the long run.
Banking methods are worth spending some time on, too. All bookmakers will surely allow you to deposit and withdraw money using classic means like a credit card or debit card. But in modern times, we expect some other services as well.
For those who value privacy, a bookmaker must allow pre-paid cards. For the same people, being able to deposit money in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can be extremely useful. For clients who value ease of access, e-wallet like PayPal or Skrill are at the top of their books.
But regardless of what the banking method is, it has to be quick. The average deposit time should not exceed a few minutes at most, while the average withdraw time shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 business days in any case. Typically, both should be a lot faster.
Security cannot be ignored either. As a rule of thumb, the more irritating their requirements are, the more secure the website/app is. Make sure that you’re dealing with a legitimate broker before sending over valuable private information like pictures of your ID or credit card details. If they ask for Two-Factor Authentication, complex passwords and frequently require you to verify your identity, that’s usually a good thing.
Regulation And Licensing In The UK
Regulations are standard these days. Simply put, never even vaguely consider playing with a bookmaker who is not regulated and working in accordance to the full extent of the UK law. It’s simply not worth your time, money and energy.
Online vs Offline Betting
With horse racing betting, unlike other sports, there is quite a large debate going on between offline and online betting. This might sound weird at first, but just think about it: when it comes to a football game, is the excitement really better if you go at the stadium?
You’ll pick your team from home, place your bet, and then watch 90 minutes of football – the end result is quite far away. For horse racing, the situation is exactly the opposite. In fact, not only are racing days very exciting and races settled very quickly, but placing bets at the hippodrome is quite a social affair.
You’ve seen it in the movies, and real life is very close to that. People rushing towards betting booths, ready to place their bet on the underdog horse, for the small chance to win a fortune. If you are into betting for the thrill of the game and also enjoy socializing with others who follow the same passion, by all means, go outside and bet offline. If convenience is the name of the game for you, online betting will certainly be better.
Horse Racing Betting Types
Now that we’ve discussed most of the organizational things, it’s time to get down and dirty and get into the actual betting activities. There is a lot more to horse racing than just picking a horse and hoping it wins the race – there are lots of different kinds of bets you should know. Here are a few:
The classic three bets: Win, Place and Show
Win — If your horse finishes 1st, you win the bet. Big money, low percentage of success. If your horse finishes 2nd by 0.01 second, you lose all your money.
Place — If your horse finishes 1st or 2nd, you win – less money than for the Win bet, but more than the show one.
Show — If your horse finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you win.
If you’re looking for some extra punch, here are some bets you should know:
Across the board — Three equal Win, Place and Show bets.
- If your horse finishes 1st, you win all three bets.
- If your horse finishes 2nd, you win on the Place and Show bets.
- If your horse finishes 3rd, you win on the Show bet.
This kind of bet looks like an insurance bet, but you almost always lose money if your horse finishes 3rd. The only way to really take advantage of this bet is to pick a big underdog and hope he does well.
Exacta — Pick two horses in one race. If they finish 1st and 2nd, in exact order, you win.
Quinella — Pick two horses. If they finish 1st or 2nd, in either order, you win. Also known as an Exacta Box.
Trifecta — Pick three horses. If they finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd, in exact order, you win.
Superfecta — Pick four horses. If they finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, in exact order, you win.
Daily Double — Two specific races make up the Daily Double. Pick one horse in each race. If they finish 1st in both races, you win. You have to make your bet before the first race.
- Pick 3 — Similar to the Daily Double, but for three consecutive races.
- Pick 4 — Similar to the Daily Double, but for four consecutive races.
- Pick 6 — The biggest bet you can make. Pick the winning horse in six consecutive races. If you win, you win big.
Horse Racing In The UK
Horse racing the second spectator sport in the UK in terms of fans, only behind football. Its history dates back many centuries, all the way to the year 200 AD, where Carl of Yorkshire organized the first horse race. Up until modern times, horse racing has been ever-present since that event.
Nowadays, it brings almost four billion pounds in the UK economy every year – not a small feat by any means. It’s also the second most popular sport in terms of number of bets placed in the UK, second to football once again. Every serious bookmaker has at least some betting offers around horse racing, and we even know a few ones which are 100% dedicated to the sport.
Most Famous Horce Racing Events In The UK
Last but not least, we’d like to discuss the most famous races in the racing calendar, so that you can make your schedule and betting system around these.
There are lots of major horse racing events worldwide which are likely to quickly fill up your calendar, but we only want to discuss the UK ones today. Here are the ones which you should definitely know:
- The Victor Chandler Chase (mid-January)
- The Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham, March)
- The Queen Mother Champion Chase (Cheltenham, March)
- World Hurdle (Cheltenham, March)
- Grand National (Aintree, April)
- 2,000 Guines Steak (early May)
- Epsom Derby (first Saturday in June)
- Gold Cup (June)
- St. Lager Stakes (Doncaster)
- King George VI Chase (Boxing Day, Kempton Park)
With that, we’d like to call it a day and hope we’ve at least sparked your interest for betting on horse racing. It’s a fascinating sport with centuries of history in the UK, and the feelings you get at the hippodrome during races are truly something else. We recommend that everyone visits a live race at least once in their life.
After that, everyone can return to online betting, which happens quicker and is overall a lot more efficient. There are very few places in the world where horse racing is as loved, watched and lived as it is in the UK, making it a truly remarkable market for seasoned bettors and beginners alike.