Horse Racing Articles and Guides

horse racingIf you haven't found what you are looking for in in our guide to the best horse racing betting sites then you may find what you're looking in here. At OnlineBetting we aim to answer all of the important questions that punters ask, after all the best way to add value to your bets is by understanding the rules and permutations, you know what they say 'knowledge is power'.

We've got informed and expert perspectives on all things to do with racing that reflect your needs as a punter. Find everything you need from explanations of Rule 4 and Dead Heats to guides to history, betting controversies and more.

Horse Racing Bookmakers

bookiesYou would think that given Horse Racing pioneered betting in the UK that it would be an entry level requirement that all betting sites would have a good horse racing book. That is very much not the case. At OnlineBetting we don't assume everybody bets for the same reasons which is why we list top bookmakers by the sports they are best at as well as their features. Find the best horse racing bookmakers in our horse racing betting sites guide.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

Horse Racing Guide 2Our comprehensive guide to how to bet on horse racing has everything you need to know to add great value to your wagers. Whether you’re a complete beginner or seasoned regular you will find something you didn't know about betting on the sport. 

In our guide to betting we explain starting prices, favorites, best odds guarantee, disqualification and non-runners, ante-post betting, totepool, race cards and more.

Flat and National Hunt Grades, Groups and Classes

hr1Getting your head around all the different grades, classes and groups in horse racing can seem like a mountain to climb for the uninitiated, especially considering they are different for flat and jump (National Hunt) racing.  Once you understand the basics however the system is fairly straight forward. In this article find details about all categories and types in UK horse racing today.

Top Horse Races, Meetings & Festivals

topracesDon't miss any of the best horse races in the UK with our comprehensive list of the major meetings and races. Whether it’s the flat season or the jump season there is a quality horse race to look forward to. We talk about the five Classic flat races, the St Leger, Epsom Derby, Oaks and 1000 and 2000 Guineas as well as the top festivals such as Cheltenham, Royal Ascot and the Champions day and not forgetting of course the Aintree Grand National, and more.

Horse Racing Terminology

hrThe sport of horse racing can seem quite complicated to the amateur bettor with its various terminologies from furlongs to fillies and grades to Ginneas. In this section we explain all of the aspects you need to know to get the most out of watching and betting on the nags. We discuss flat racing and National Jump racing, distances, breeds, grades and classes, ground conditions (going), form, handicapping and other types and terms.

History of Horse Racing

historyDiscover the origins of the sport of kings from the ancient Egyptians to the modern day.  Horses and humans have a longer history than any other animal and this culminates today in one of the biggest and richest sports in the world.  We will tell you about the early history from King James I, the banning of the sport by Oliver Cromwell, the role of Queen Anne and Ascot, the formation of the Jockey Club and the classics, where jump racing came from and how gambling on horse racing came about.

Rule 4 Explained

rule 4Rule 4 is system by which bookmakers deduct winnings when non-runners are announced in horse and dog racing as well as other events with more than two contestants in a field. The rules, defined by the Tattersalls Rule of Racing governing all horse racing is designed to protect bookies in the event of a withdrawn selection. Deductions are based on the odds price of the withdrawn selection and can range from no reduction at all for a 14/1+ withdrawal up to 90% deduction in winnings if a 1/9 or longer odds selection is withdrawn.

Horse Racing Track and Ground Types

synthetic track smallIf you only ever watch the big UK and Irish races you could be fooled into thinking all racing happens on turf and grass.  This is not the case, especially outside of Europe where the predominant ground type for racing is in fact dirt, in various mixtures of mud and sand.  Following on from some early failures better technology has seen synthetic all weather tracks now appearing at racecourses across the globe too.  What effect does the ground type have on racing and will all racing end up on artificial surfaces?

The Tote

the toteThe Tote is a great British betting institution.  Established by the government in the 1930's to provide a regulated pool betting market at race courses across the UK it was for a long time the most popular way to bet on horse racing.  Known for having generally better payouts than fixed odds it is still loved by many. In the modern era the Tote has fallen on hard times, first through legalisation of off track betting in the 1960's through to online betting and privatisation of the tote in 2011 to Betfred, but now run by a consortium things are looking up.   Our guide looks at the tote from its origins through to its precarious future.

How To Read A Race Card

race cardThere are few sports where the bookies will give you a massive dossier of key information for the contestants, but in horse and greyhound racing the race card, which is available online from top bookies and in the meeting programme or in the newspaper, is a critical piece of kit for those that want to study their bets.  To begin with a race card can seem daunting, containing countless numbers, letters and abbreviations, this can be very off putting to the occasional bettor.  There really isn't however a lot to it and with a few basic pointers you can be getting the best out of the racecard in no time.  Read our guide to how to read a race card for UK racing to help you bet online and at the track.

Handicapping in Horse Racing

horse carrying weightsWith around 60% of UK horse races being handicaps it is worth knowing a bit about the system, how it works, how it is calculated and how it is used.  Handicaps on the surface are self-explanatory, horses with a better track record are 'handicapped' more than horses that have performed worse in the past, the system therefore is designed to level out a field of runners. 

Handicapping means the odds are more evenly spread than they would otherwise be and this should hopefully add more enjoyment for punters and spectators. It is the job of the handicapper to set a horses handicap, and while this is an effective system it is by no means fool-proof, if it was then you wouldn't see 10/1+ horses winning handicap races, which you often do.  Therefore knowing even a little about how a handicap is calculated can give you a serious advantage over time.

Weight, Sex and Age in Horse Racing

horse weighing scalesFor every horse race you care to look at it will clearly list any age, weight and sex restrictions on the race card, and there is a reason for that; because it can be one of the most influential factors when it comes to the subsequent result. 

For the passing punter who bets occasionally on horse racing it can be daunting to try to get to grips with the importance of age, sex and weight in racing and so to help you our guide sets out the main categories and factors to be aware of in jump and flat racing.  Often by doing a small amount of research into the weight, age and sex of previous winners you can often pick more results over time.

How Often Do Horses Fall In Jump Racing?

faller insuranceThere is nothing worse than backing a runner in a race only for it to fall before the end, this is, however, part and parcel of jump racing due to its nature and most punters accept this can happen.  Indeed there are many faller insurance offers out there from bookies for this reason. 

The question is how likely is a horse to fall in a National Hunt race?  In our case study we look at the Cheltenham Festival as an example of the incident rate in elite racing, which is where most of us bet the most money.  Largely the data agrees with the anecdotal evidence that fallers are around one in twenty horses, although, there is huge variation depending on the race type, jockey experience and conditions.

How Does a Horse Falling Affect Its Next Race?

horse and jockey fallingWe've all had horses fall in jump racing, which is frustrating if you've backed it and don't have faller insurance, but how does falling affect the performance of a horse in subsequent races?

In our article we look at two of the biggest jump race meetings on the calendar, the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National, to see if horses that have fallen in these races either suffered poor form before the race they fell in or if their results are affected in the next races.  Largely falling makes little difference to a horse, the most important thing is it's form.

Draw Bias In Flat Horse Racing

horse racing stallsGenerally in flat racing horses are lined up in electro-mechanical stalls that release all of the runners at the same time.  The numbered slot each horse is given is randomly assigned and is known as the draw.  Number one is closest to the rail with the last number (which is different depending on the number of runners) being furthest from the rail.

This produces something known as draw bias that can have an affect on the chances of winning.  Generally a number one draw is seen as the best as this is closes to the rail.  Draw bias affects races differently depending on the distance, ground, number of turns and the angle of those turns.  Naturally some courses have a bigger draw bias than others.

Horse Racing Families

aidan obrienHorses are obviously bred in families but when you look at horse racing as a sport you could assume in many cases that the jockeys and trainers are too.  Horse racing tends to run in families because of the access limitations that naturally mean those that grow up around elite horses are more likely to go into horse racing as a profession.

While there are lots of families in racing there are of course some that have gone on to dominate the sport.  We look at the most prestigious families to grace horse racing, such as the Mullins', the O'Brien's and the Walsh's, and why they have excelled so much in the sport.

Frankie Dettori The Scourge Of The Bookmakers

world classAsk 100 people to name a jockey and you can bet over half of them would pick Frankie Dettori, the Italian is known the world over for riding tens of thousands of horses with thousands of winners in the biggest races over an illustrious career that started in the mid 1980's.  He is also known for ruining many days for the bookmakers, such as when he rode 7 winners at Royal Ascot in 1996 costing the industry millions and he has completed many similar feats since.

We think Frankie deserves his own page given the impact he has had on the racing and gambling industry, so we've done just that.  Enjoy.

The Grand National

crowd and stands at the grand nationalStill the greatest horse race on the planet, the grand national attracts more in bets than any other sporting event of the year, it also brings in more spectators than the super bowl and champions league final combined. 

We've got everything you need to know about the Grand National in our event guide, from the very basics of how to bet on the big races right up to full race cards, the history of the great race, a guide to the course and all of the fences, how to get there, day guides, about Aintree and Liverpool and so much more.

Cheltenham Festival

cheltenham racecouse entrance and signHorse racing doesn't get any better than the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest and best national hunt meeting of the year and the culmination of the jump season. 

Unlike the Grand National this is more than about just one race, the package of 28 races at Cheltenham, including five of the very biggest in the calendar, make a exceptional 4 days of racing.  Loved by punters, this is also the time of the year when you can get the absolute best value out of bookmakers.