Horse Betting made easy

how to bet on horsesHow To Bet On Horses

Betting on Horses can be a fun and exciting past-time, though for the uninitiated, learning how to bet on horses can be overwhelming. From reading form to learning the horse racing lingo, there can be many things to consider when finding winners. However, with a little guidance and a keen eye, anyone can learn how to bet on horses.

Before delving into form or listening to the latest trainer comments, you will need to decide how & where you want to place your bet. There are 3 main options: the racecourse, a betting shop or online.

How To Bet On Horses At The Racecourse

When at the racecourse you will have to enter the betting ring. A busy, colourful environment where many trackside bookmakers will be paying out on the last winner or taking bets on the next race. Once you have made your selection, you should take time to choose the bookmaker offering the best odds. Simply approach the bookmaker, tell them the number of your desired horse, the type of bet you wish to place and the stake you want to bet. The bookmaker will then take your cash and provide you with a printed receipt of your bet. Keep this safe – should your bet win, go collect once the official race result is confirmed.

Alternatively, many racecourses offer Tote/Pool betting where you can select multiple horses across either 4 or 6 races, playing for a share of the Quadpot, Jackpot & Placepot pools. This can offer a more affordable way to have a pick in each race.

Bookmakers at racecourses generally offer worse odds than both Betting Shops and online bookmakers. Though nothing beats a day at the races – taking cash from a bookies hand.
Away from the track, the main ways to place a bet on horses are either in a betting shop or online.

How To Bet On Horses In A Betting Shop

To place a bet in a traditional betting shop, you will need to fill in your paper betting slip. Complete the slip with the name of the racecourse, the time of the race, the name of your chosen horse, the amount you wish to bet and finally the type of bet you are placing. Ensure you write clearly to save any confusion. When doing accumulator bets, you will need to include the racecourse and times for each horse selected.

You then hand your slip to the cashier along with your total stake. The cashier confirms the bet and provides you with a printed receipt. Keep your receipt safe as you will need this to collect any returns from your bet. All Betting Shops have large TV screens showing the races and pay winnings once all jockeys have weighed-in.

Some benefits of using a betting shop include the fact the tools you need to find / watch winners are freely available; multiple TV screens, racecard prints on the walls, various Racing newspapers to hand, cashiers that can help you learn how to bet on horses in a betting shop.

How To Bet On Horses Online

Betting Online is becoming increasingly more common. With rapid technological advancements, more bettors are using smartphones and tablets to place their bets. A gambling commission survey of 2017 reported that although declining in use for gambling, laptops remain the most popular method of accessing online gambling in 2017 with 50% of online gamblers using a laptop. The use of mobile phones has seen the largest increase to 39% (an increase of 10 percentage points)”

Most bookmakers offer specialised mobile websites and slick, easy-to-use apps. Be sure to familiarise yourself with these websites and apps before placing your bet. You don’t want to select the wrong horse. More often than not, you can watch live race coverage provided you’ve bet on the race. Many bookmakers will offer a full results service and quick automatic bet settlement.

Learning How To Bet On Horses

Racecards give you the information that you need to make an informed decision when learning how to bet on horses.

If you are at the racecourse, you will likely either be given a racecard upon entry or you can purchase one once inside. Good quality racecourse racecards can be great souvenirs.
Find yourselves in a Betting Shop and there will be printed racecards on the walls, live cards on TVs and several copies of the Racing Post to hand.

Online, such sites as Racing Post , AtTheRaces have very detailed racecards. Infact, horse betting online provides you with a much wider offering of information.

Before composing your own Horse Betting Strategies, you should ensure you’re familiar with reading a basic racecard.

How to read a basic racecard

First up pay close attention to race type, distance, class and going. Consider which runners these factors favour. CD beside a horse’s name denotes a Course and Distance winner whilst the string of numbers aside a horse’s name represents recent form figures. For example, form figures of 12216 would mean the horse finished 6th on its most recent start and 1st on its penultimate run.

All horses are designated a weight to carry. The weight a horse carries varies depending on the race conditions. Handicap races see a wide range of weights whilst Pattern races will often have level-weights. Certain weight adjustments can be given based on a horse’s previous wins, age, and gender. Weights in handicap races should ultimately reflect the horse’s ability, the higher the weight, the better the horse.

Other crucial information found on a racecard includes the horse’s trainer and jockey, a horses official rating, details of a horses most recent performances including distance, ground and class.

With a basic understanding on how to read a racecard you should proceed with leaning what bet types you can place.

Different types of bets

A win bet is when you only bet on which horse wins the race. Your selection must win in order to get a return.

An Each-way bet is when half your stake is on the winner of the race and half is on whether your horse will place. The number of places paid for each-way bets changes depending on the number of the runners.

When deciding whether to bet win or each-way, you should consider the number of runners and the odds of your horses.

Horse betting example:

For example, if a £1 each way bet is placed on a horse priced at 12/1 and it finishes 3rd; returns will be as follows:

The £1 win part of the bet is lost
The £1 place part of the bet is settled by dividing the odds by the place factor of the race, typically 1/5 or ¼.
12/1 @ 1/4 the odds: 12 divided by 4 = 3/1. £1 at 3/1 = £4 returns

The place factor of each-way bets are predefined by the following place terms:

Non-Handicap Races

2 – 4 Runners: Win Only
5 – 7 Runners: 1/4 the odds and 2 places
8+ Runners: 1/5th the odds the first 3 places

Handicap Races

2 – 4 Runners: Win Only
5 – 7 Runners: 1/4 the odds and 2 places
8 – 11 Runners: 1/5th the odds the first 3 places
12 – 15 Runners: 1/4 the odds the first 3 places
16+ Runners: A 1/4 the odds the first 4 places

horse betting types

Horse Betting Types


Accumulators, also known as Accas and Multiples. A bet where your stake is placed on more than one horse with any winnings from the first winner rolling onto your next selection. Accumulators can be placed as either win or each-way bets.

A Double

A Double is an accumulator of 2 selections, with a Treble being 3 selections. A fourfold features 4 horses and so forth.

A Trixie

A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 horses across 3 different races. The bet consists 3 doubles and 1 treble. You require at least 2 successful selections in order to get a return as this bet does not contain any singles.

A Patent

A Patent is similar to a Trixie but includes singles. There are 3 singles, 3 doubles & 1 treble in a Patent.

A Yankee

A Yankee consists of 11 bets involving 4 horses in different races. The bet includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator.

A Lucky

A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 horses in different races. The bet includes 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 four-fold.


A Canadian bet consists of 26 bets involving 5 horses in different races. The bet includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus an accumulator.

A Straight Forecast

A Straight Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in the order specified.

A Reverse Forecast

A Reverse Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in either order. This represents 2 straight forecasts

Combination Forecasts

Combination Forecasts involve 3 or more selections in a race, with any 2 to finish 1st and 2nd in any order.

Straight Tricasts

Straight Tricasts involve 3 selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the order specified.

Combination Tricasts 

Combination Tricasts involve 3 or more selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order.


Gamble Aware. Please Gamble Responsibly. 18+ Only