How to Bet on Horses: A Step-By-Step Guide


Nothing’s a sure bet in life, but at the races, there are some pointers to help you win.

Horse racing has always been wildly popular, as has betting on it. Famous races such as the Grand National, Royal Ascot, the Kentucky Derby, Melbourne Cup and many more show the sport’s truly global appeal. Horse races are thrilling, fast-paced events that capture the attention of punters everywhere looking to make some money on the thoroughbreds during festival days at racetracks all over. 

But how to bet on horses if you’ve never done it before? What do seasoned punters do that lets them win lots of cash — and can you do the same and take home racecourse winnings of your own? We’ve put together this simple guide to get you in the betting saddle.

Betting from Wherever

The first thing you need to know about how to bet on horses is that these days you don’t need to go anywhere to do it — not to a faraway race meeting or even your local bookies. That’s because you can do it all online, thanks to the growing number — and appeal — of online betting. 

Next, you may have heard of terms like “studying the form” and “the favourite”. These are important considerations when you’re looking to place some bets. Studying the form involves several elements concerning any particular horse that’s due to race, such as their condition, if they’ve been ill recently, how often they run and when they last ran — and where they ended up. Race performance is seen as the most important aspect of a horse’s current form. 

Weighing up these different elements will allow you to form something like an informed decision about a horse and its chances of doing well in an upcoming race. How do you get such vital info? Study the racing publications — including those online — and follow any information about horses you’re interested in.

All Eyes on the Favourite

A horse expected to win in a race is known as the favourite, and many people will place bets on it, hoping it will be a sure thing. Betting on the favourite especially happens at such major racing events as the Grand National — held at Aintree in England since 1839 and arguably the most famous horse race in the world — when casual punters may make their one bet of the year, just for fun. But because of the favourite’s popularity, the odds — the money you get if it wins — will be low. 

After all, there’s always a chance a dark horse can upset the field and win. A horse not expected to win — said to have an outside chance — will usually have higher odds, meaning you get a lot more cash if they win. 

Your Betting Choices

You may have different betting options when placing your bet — online or at the bookies. If you’re betting on the horses in the UK, you can use the usual fractional method (such as 4/1, 7/2 and so on), the newer decimal odds system (5.00, for instance, meaning if your horse wins you get this times your stake). You can also just bet on the favourite, which will be indicated by an F, or a joint-favourite — JF — as well as placing a bet each way.

Betting each way really is two bets, as you’re betting on a particular horse to win while also for the same horse to end up in a place position. The advantage can be that you get a payout if your horse wins and also if it places in the race. 

So now you know how to bet on horses, you can take a flutter at the next big race, or test out your strategy at a small local one first, and see if your nag makes it past the post. 

You can place free bets at UK betting sites right here at Freebets — plus you’ll find all the best daily British betting offers and details about the best sites to bet with. Place your free bet now!

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