Horse Racing Betting Guide

How to Bet

Nowadays, punters can place bets on horse racing in person, with on-course bookmakers or in licensed betting shops, over the telephone or via the Internet. Multiple bets – in the form of doubles, trebles and accumulators – are popular with betting shop and stay-at-home punters, not least because they offer the possibility of high returns for a small outlay. However, the only way to back horses seriously is in single win bets, which is the least profitable area for the bookmaker.

When to Bet

With the exception of Christmas Eve and Good Friday, horse racing takes place ever day of the year in Great Britain and Ireland. However, certain times of year are better than others for punters, so it`s helpful to know when to bet and when not to. Inclement weather, changes to the going and large fields on the Flat mean that January and February and September and October are difficult times for punters. March and April – which include the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals – can be profitable months for National Hunt enthusiasts, while May, June, July and August generally bring settled weather and consistent underfoot going conditions and can be profitable months for Flat enthusiasts.

What to Bet

What to bet or, in other words, how much to bet, is entirely your own business and depends on your personal circumstances. It is, however, important to set aside a betting bank, or betting tank, which you use exclusively for betting purposes. The size of your betting bank depends on your expected winner frequency, which is linked to the prices of the horses you back. If you always back favourites, you`ll need a smaller betting bank than if you always back horses at longer prices. Not all punters realise that roughly two-thirds of the horse races run in Great Britain and Ireland are won by one of the first three in the betting market.


The process of determining a selection to back is worthy of an article by itself, but the most important factor is that you must be confident that your selection can win. If you`re making your own selections, look for horses with good recent form, preferably winning form, which are at their peak, progressing or improving. These are the horses that win the majority of races. Of course, if you don`t have the time or the inclination to do the donkey work yourself, you can always rely on racing tips, which are freely available in national newspapers, racing publications and on the Internet.