Let’s face it, for many, horse racing just wouldn’t be same if you couldn’t place a bet. Not only would some people not be interested, a huge amount of funding for the sport would be gone without it. Horse racing is synonomous with betting, and vice versa. Quite simply, both racing and the bookmakers need each other to survive.
Betting on horse racing is still extremely popular, and many bookmakers have special offers and promotions to attract customers to bet with them. These can include free bets for new customers, best odds guaranteed when you take early prices, or enhanced odds on favourites in high profile races.
How To Place A Bet
Exactly how to go about placing a bet on the horses can be a little puzzling to some people, especially if they have never placed a bet before. Although it may seem complex and intimidating, it's actually very simple once you know how it works. The first thing beginners need to get the hang of is “the odds” – usually shown as fractions in the British system.
We will start with a simple example. If a horse is 2/1 and you place a £1 bet to win and it does the business, you will win £2 plus your £1 stake back - £3 altogether. Simple, right?
Not all odds are as straight forward as this however; other common betting odds include 11/8, 6/4, 15/8 and 11/4 to name but a few. When these more complex fractional odds are used, it's often hard to know which price is actually higher, let alone what your return on a winning bet will be.
If this is confusing for you, you're not alone! But help is at hand. This video featuring Timandra Harkness might help to make things a bit clearer.
Now we have covered win bets, let’s take a look at backing a horse each way.
An each-way bet is made up of two parts; the “win” part, for the horse to finish first and the “place” part, betting on the horse to finish placed. As you are essentially placing two bets, an each-way bet costs twice as much as a standard win bet. Or to look at it another way, your stake is split into two equal parts, one for each part of the bet. So a 50p each-way bet will actually cost you £1. If you onl wanted to stake 50p, that would be 25p each way.
The number of places that get paid out in the "place" part of the bet varies depending on the bookmaker in question, and the number of runners in the race.
In general, your horse must finish in the top 3 for you to secure a return, however on some of the races with bigger fields including the Grand National, this is increased to fourth and occasionally, fifth. For instance, if your horse finished second it will have “been placed” and the place part of your bet will be paid out at a fraction of the odds. This fraction is usually ¼ but again it varies depending on the bookmaker. Some online bookies pay higher odds on the place to try to attract customers from their competitors.
Alongside win and each-way bets there are plenty of different bets you can try your luck at including picking the correct order of the first two horses home and selecting multiple choices from different races. Picking a winner isn't an easy task. The best advice I can give is always make sure you know what you're betting on, before you hand over your cash!