Horse racing is one of the most popular sports to bet on in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Only football can match its appeal for punters, who try to make their fortunes gambling on the races.

However, customers can fall into traps when betting on the races, allowing the bookmakers to rake in the cash. We’ll now give you a masterclass on what to look for when betting on horse racing to ensure that you get the most out of the experience.

Find the best value

Bookmakers will differ in prices across the board. There will be discrepancies, especially in the leading events when they are competing for customers. Using an odds comparison website will help you find the best value, ensuring that you’re not missing out on potential profits. The odds on the 2,000 Guineas winner Kameko drifted before the contest to 10/1, which was more than a healthy price for bettors that backed Andrew Balding's charge.

It’s also prudent to look for promotional offers offered by the bookies that may offer price boosts. They are more common around the big events – such as the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. Getting an odds boost on a leading contender could make all the difference between earning profit and breaking even on a raceday.

Study the horses

When you’re betting on horse racing, there can be a lot of competitors to take in. You may only be familiar with a few horses or perhaps none at all. It’s a trap many rookie bettors fall into. You have to build up at least a background knowledge of the competitors to have confidence in betting success – otherwise, you’re leaving it all to chance.

The bookmakers love it when customers leave it to chance or bet on a horse for its name or the colour of the jockey’s jersey. Becoming familiar with a horses’ performance on the track – judging it by conditions and distance – will arm you with a compendium of knowledge when it comes time to place your bet. The form guide is also your friend. It’s a good way to see where your chosen horse has succeeded and failed in its career. It may just give you the edge when you need it the most.

Record your wins and losses

Knowing where you have succeeded and failed is a good way to either maintain your winning record or a way to avoid the same mistakes. If a certain horse has failed you after being named the favourite, you will know for next time to avoid it or at least determine the reason for why it could not deliver in the contest. The same goes for a jockey, who may have endured a poor performance.

It might have been the jockey or it might have been the horse. Two strikes against either may convince you not to proceed with bets involving the horse or the jockey in the future. Keeping evidence is the best way to ensure that you don’t forget. On the other hand, if a horse has a successful run over a distance or on a racecourse, you will want to note their victory and ensure that you’re paying attention to their odds for their next meet.

Use the markets to your advantage

There are an abundance of markets available on horse racing events, especially at the major events. In an ideal world, you will pick winners on every race if you line up an accumulator, racking up a huge profit in the process. However, it rarely works out like that. There are ways and means to earn the little victories that will keep you on the right track.

Using bets such as trixies and Super Heinz or fold bets can protect you from suffering defeats should one of your horses fail to fire on raceday. You use them just like a normal bet, although your stake may be elevated to reflect the odds. Only put down an amount you’re comfortable with as there is still an element of risk involved as with any punt.


Ensure that betting remains fun – when you’re not enjoying yourself, stop. Have a budget in mind before you start to bet and stick to it no matter what. It can be easy to get carried away with success or chase losses with subsequent unsuccessful bets.

Always keep in mind a budget and ensure that you’re satisfied with the capital at risk. Most of all, make sure you’re having fun either at the races or watching them online with a bet.


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