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how to bet on horses

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

This is how to bet on horses in a few easy steps:

  1. Sign up to one of our recommended horse racing betting sites if you’re a new customer. If you already have an account, then log in to it.
  2. You need money to bet with, so check your balance. Make a deposit to your account from the payment method of your choice.
  3. Visit the horse racing section of the online bookmaker’s site and find the race of interest.
  4. Look through the field of horses to find your fancy and, by clicking or tapping on their odds, add your selection to the betslip.
  5. Now enter your stake, that is the desired amount of money you want to bet on the horse.
  6. When you’re happy with the wager, hit Place Bet and you’re on.
  7. All you have to do now is wait for the horse to run and the result to come in.

how to bet on horses

That’s how to place a bet on horse racing in a handful of straightforward steps. It sounds simple, but the process of finding winners is more difficult. We’re going to show you how to bet on horses in the UK and do well. There is so much to consider. Knowing how to place a bet on the horses is one thing, but what type and which runner to back are different matters entirely.

How to Bet on Horses – The Different Types of Bet

A key aspect of learning how to bet on horse racing is to understand the various different wagers available. These are the most popular types of bet punters place on the action:

Fixed Odds Bets

  • Win – As simple as it gets, back a horse to win the race.
  • Place – You can instead bet on horses finishing within so many places.
  • Each Way – More on this below, but you can back a horse both to win and place in the same bet.
  • Ante Post – If you wager before final declarations for a race come out, then this is called ante post betting and there is the risk of not getting a run for your money.
  • Distance – To get a better price on a fancied horse, you can bet on them winning by at least a certain distance. These are measured in lengths in the official result.
  • Without the Favourite – If you want to take the favourite out of the market, then you can. That’s where betting without comes in. In this market, it’s almost as if the most fancied runner isn’t actually competing. Should the horse you back beat the favourite or finish second to it, then the wager is a winner.

Pool Bets – Straight & Exotic Wagers

  • Win – Just the same as a fixed odds bet to win.
  • Place – Again, exactly like a fixed odds bet to be placed.
  • Exacta – Also called a Forecast bet; When you bet on two horses in the same race to finish first and second in a particular order.
  • Quinella – Sometimes called a Reverse Forecast. The bet is on two horses in the same race to finish first and second, but in any order with both permutations covered.
  • Trifecta – Also known as a Tricast bet in some areas. Where you bet on three (or more) horses in the same race finishing first, second and third in a particular order. Can also be reversed, and thus be any order if you add more lines.
  • Swinger – In this exclusive to the Tote betting wager, you pick two (or more) horses in the same race and they must both finish in the first three for it to be settled as a winner.
  • Placepot – Pick a horse that finishes placed in the first six races of a particular meeting.
  • Jackpot – Pick a horse that wins in each of the first six races of a particular meeting.

Accumulators

A horse racing accumulator sees you pick a horse in different races and put them together on the same slip. We’ve more on what is acca betting elsewhere on site too if you want to know more about how they work. Here are the three main types of accumulator:

  • Double – 2 picks from different races on the same slip, both must win for a successful bet.
  • Treble – 3 picks from different races on the same slip, all must win for a successful bet.
  • Accumulator – 4 or more picks from different races on the same slip, all must win for a successful bet.

Full Cover, Combination & System Bets

You can also take your accumulators and turn them into full cover bets, or combination and system wagers. This means as well as an acca with however many selections in it, there are also other permutations based on separate events like all possible Trebles, Doubles and even Singles:

  • Trixie – 4 bets on 3 horses as 3 Doubles and 1 Treble.
  • Patent– 7 bets on 3 horses as 3 Singles, 3 Doubles and 1 Treble.
  • Yankee– 11 bets on 4 horses as 6 Doubles, 4 Trebles and a Four-fold accumulator.
  • Lucky 15 – 15 bets on 4 horses as 4 Singles, 6 Doubles, 4 Trebles and a Four-fold accumulator.
  • Canadian– 26 bets on 5 horses as 10 Doubles, 10 Trebles, 5 Four-olds and 1 Five-fold accumulator.
  • Lucky 31 – 31 bets on 5 horses as 5 Singles, 10 Doubles, 10 Trebles, 5 Four-folds and 1 Five-fold accumulator.
  • Heinz– 57 bets on 6 horses as 15 Doubles, 20 Trebles, 15 Four-folds, 6 Five-folds and 1 Six-fold accumulator.
  • Lucky 63 – 63 bets on 6 horses as 6 Singles, 15 Doubles, 20 Trebles, 15 Four-folds, 6 Five-folds and 1 Six-fold accumulator.
  • Super Heinz – 120 bets on 7 horses as 21 Doubles, 35 Trebles, 35 Four-folds, 21 Five-folds, 7 Six-folds and 1 Seven-fold accumulator.
  • Goliath – 247 bets on 8 horses as 28 Doubles, 56 Trebles, 70 Four-folds, 56 Five-folds, 28 Six-folds, 8 Seven-folds and 1 Eight-fold.

Fixed Odds Prices vs. Pool Betting

If you want to know how to bet on horses in the UK, then there are three ways of going about it. Most punters take fixed odds prices offered by the bookies, while pool betting on the Tote is an alternative service. You can also bet on the exchanges, but more on those later. Each of these approaches to gambling on horse racing serves a slightly different section of the betting public.

Pari-mutuel betting pools like those provided by the Tote work well if you aren’t concerned about prices. You won’t know the returned dividends, i.e. the payouts, in advance. These things are only calculated with Tote betting after the race has been run. This is because of how the pari-mutuel wagering system works.

A fixed odds bet, meanwhile, sees you receive a return relative to the stake you bet based on the prices offered by traders on online bookmakers’ sites. You can thus know, or at least work out, in advance what you stand to gain from such a wager. That’s the main different between fixed odds prices and pool betting in a nutshell.

How to Work Out a Bet on the Horses

The format determines how betting odds work, whatever sport you’re wagering on. As it’s no different with horse racing, this is how you calculate what you could win. With fractional odds, which after all are the traditional way of expressing prices here, you look at the ratio of denominator to numerator to see potential profits.

Let’s say you back a horse at odds of 9/4 and put £20 on the bet. For every £4 wagered, you receive £9 in winnings. A £20 stake here means £45 in profit. Calculating total returns from a fraction also requires you to add the stake on, so the you get £65 back from the bookies if the horse wins.

With decimal odds, it’s even simpler. You just multiply the number by the stake and get total returns that way. A £20 bet multiplied by the decimal form price of 3.25 equals £65. For working out the profit, you just have to subtract the stake from the final total. For working out the profit, you just have to subtract the stake from the final total. If you want to take all the hard work out of number crunching, we have a horse bet calculator on the site that does all the sums automatically.

How to Bet on Horses Each Way

It’s not all about finding the winner, if there’s value in backing horses to finish placed. This is where you need an understanding of what does each way mean in betting in order to appreciate it something many gambling experts agree on. This is the best way to bet on horse racing as you can still make money without an outright win.

To briefly explain, the each way bet is one where you wager on the horse both finishing first and placed in the race. Your unit stake doubles to cover both aspects. A £5 each way bet has a £10 total outlay, for example. There are place terms that the bookies must adhere to, as laid out in the Tattersalls Committee Rules on Betting under Rule 3.

If less than five runners turn up, ten each way betting isn’t on the table at all. When there’s five, six or seven horses lining up, you get two places. Third place pays out if there are eight or more runners. Larger fields of 16 and above pay four places. There are also precise fractions, either a quarter or a fifth of outright betting odds depending on how many runners and if it’s a handicap or not, for the places.

That means for those wondering how to bet on horses each way properly, you need to consider the prices on offer. If the fraction of outright betting paid is a quarter, you must have odds of 4/1 (5.00) as the minimum to break even on the place. Should the fraction only be a fifth, meanwhile, then the threshold for doing so rises to 5/1 (6.00). Understanding that can change your whole approach to a wager on horse racing.

How to Lay a Bet on Horses

how to lay a bet on horses

You have the option of betting on horses not to win their races. This is available to you through a gambling service that is quite different to the fixed odds bookmakers discussed above. Thanks to the creation of betting exchanges like Betfair, you can lay a horse to lose. The great thing about such wagers are you don’t have to name an alternative winner of the race, so you’ve got the entire rest of the field running for you.

Whether you back or lay horses on the exchanges, all wagers are peer-to-peer rather than fixed odds prices. This means you can set the odds and it’s up to another punter out there to match your stake or take the price you lay when you don’t fancy a particular runner. The exchange charges a small percentage in commission for facilitating the service.

Using the Betfair interface above as an example, this is how to bet on horses when you want to lay them. Hit the lay side of the market and then choose the backer’s odds and stake you want to match with your lay bet. Both the liability incurred by the bet and potential payout if you’re right about the horse should be available for toggling between.

The key thing with betting on the exchanges is understanding how it’s different from taking regular fixed odds prices from the bookies. You can lose more than your stake if you’re wrong about a horse and their performance, hence the fact that there are additional liabilities on top of the amount you bet. Exchange betting is for professional gamblers first and foremost, but it’s good to know how it works.

Biggest Horse Races UK Punters Bet On

As in any sport, some horse racing events are bigger than others. Certain cards and Festivals that celebrate and showcase the best equine athletes and their riders have developed in the UK over generations. According to the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), the 10 biggest betting races in 2022 by turnover happened at one of three meetings.

These are the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National at Aintree and The Derby on Epsom Downs. While the former pair are National Hunt events where the horses jump hurdles or fences, Royal Ascot accounted for six of the top 10 Flat races British punters wagered on. It’s worth examining how to bet on horse racing meetings of this magnitude in more detail.

How to Bet on Horses for Cheltenham

With more popular betting races than any other gala of horse racing in the UK, the Cheltenham Festival in March is massive for punters and bookmakers alike. Many top jumpers have their entire season focused on peaking when they come to race at Prestbury Park in Gloucestershire Cotswolds. There are plenty of official and recognised trials for Cheltenham held throughout the National Hunt season starting in October.

It isn’t just UK horse racing you must pay attention to either. In recent times, Irish-trained horses have dominated the Festival. If you want to know how to successfully bet on horses at Cheltenham, then following form in the Emerald Isle is a key takeaway. Each division and discipline has trials throughout the core jumps season with 28 races in all at the Festival. The tables below show which races you should pay attention to if you want to back winners in the Grade 1 and 2 events:

Key Supreme Novices' Hurdle Trials - 2m Novice Hurdle Races

The best novice hurdlers over two miles have the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival as a major target. If you want to know how to bet on horses and win here, these are the trial races to follow form wise:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Joe Mac Novice Hurdle Grade 3 2m Tipperary October
Sharp Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m Cheltenham October
Newton Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 1m 7f 144y Haydock November
For Auction Novice Hurdle Grade 3 2m Navan November
Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m Fairyhouse November / December
Sandown Novices’ Hurdle Listed Listed Sandown December
Future Champions Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m Leopardstown Boxing Day
Tolworth Hurdle Grade 1 2m 1f Aintree Boxing Day
Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 1m 7f Haydock January
Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle Grade 2 2m Punchestown January
Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m Leopardstown February
Exeter Novices’ Hurdle Listed 2m 1f Exeter February
Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m Kempton January
Johnstown Novice Hurdle Grade 2 1m 7f Naas February
Key Arkle Chase Trials - 2m Novice Chases

Top novices in steeplechases have the Arkle Challenge Trophy on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival as their aim for the season. The best way to bet on horse racing in relation to this event is to follow the form of these trials closely:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Buck House Novice Chase Grade 3 2m 2f Punchestown October
Arkle Trial / November Novices’ Chase Grade 2 1m 7f 199y Cheltenham November
Craddockstown Novice Chase Grade 2 2m 40y Punchestown November
Henry VIII Novices’ Chase Grade 1 1m 7f Sandown December
Klairon Davis Novice Chase Grade 3 2m Navan December
Racing Post Novice Chase Grade 1 2m 1f Leopardstown December
Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m Kempton December
Lightning Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m Lingfield January
Irish Arkle Novice Chase Grade 1 2m 1f Leopardstown February
Kingmaker Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m Warwick February
Key Champion Hurdle Trials

Those who want to learn how to bet on horses successfully should know that a key Champion Hurdle trial, the International Hurdle, has moved from its traditional slot in the calendar to a new point in the season. From the 2023/24 jumps season onwards, this event will take place on Festival Trials Day in January and not in December. These are other key races en route to the Champion Hurdle, which headlines the first day of the big meeting at Cheltenham:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Istabraq Hurdle Grade 2 2m Tipperary October
Trustatrader / Kempton Hurdle Listed 2m Kempton October
Bottlegreen Hurdle Grade 2 2m 190y Down Royal October / November
Elite Hurdle Grade 2 1m 7f 50y Wincanton November
Coral Hurdle / Ascot Hurdle Grade 2 2m 3f Ascot November
Morgiana Hurdle Grade 1 2m Punchestown November
Fighting Fifth Hurdle Grade 1 2m Newcastle November / December
Hatton’s Grace Hurdle Grade 1 2m 3f 130y Fairyhouse November / December
Kempton Christmas Hurdle Grade 1 2m Kempton Boxing Day
Matheson Hurdle / December Hurdle Grade 1 2m Leopardstown December
International Hurdle Grade 2 2m 179y Cheltenham January
Irish Champion Hurdle Grade 1 2m Leopardstown February
Kingwell Hurdle Grade 2 1m 7f 50y Wincanton February
Red Mills Trial Hurdle Grade 3 2m Gowran Park February
Key Mares' Hurdle Trials

If betting on the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham appeals to you, then there are certain races you should follow in the UK and Ireland throughout the National Hunt season. Females horses have a much-improved dedicated programme in place these days, acting as a great incentive to keep them in training. Here are the key trials to study form-wise:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Cailin Alainn Mares Hurdle Listed 2m 6f 100y Limerick October
Wetherby Mares’ Hurdle Listed 2m Wetherby October / November
Grabel Mares Hurdle Listed 2m 2f 40y Punchestown November
Kempton Mares’ Hurdle Listed 3m 110y Kempton November / December
Leopardstown Mares Hurdle Grade 3 2m 4f Leopardstown December
Sandown Mares’ Hurdle Listed 2m 3f 173y Sandown January
Warfield Mares’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 7f 118y Ascot January
Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 128y Doncaster January
Warwick Mares’ Hurdle Listed 2m 5f Warwick February
Quevega Mares Hurdle Grade 3 2m 4f 100y Punchestown February
Key Staying Novice Chase Trials for the National Hunt Chase & Broadway Novices' Chase

Long-distance novices over fences have options at the Cheltenham Festival. They can either really test their stamina in the Grade 2 National Hunt Chase on day one of the meeting, but must have an amateur rider rather than a professional jockey on board. Alternatively, there is the Grade 2 Broadway Novices’ Chase on Ladies Day during the Festival over a shorter distance of an extended three miles. For those wanting to know how to bet on horses at Cheltenham in this division, these are the key races to take a second look at:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
From The Horse’s Mouth Novices’ Chase Listed 3m Cheltenham November
Florida Pearl Novice Chase Grade 2 2m 6f Punchestown November
Esher Novices’ Chase Grade 2 3m Sandown December
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase Grade 1 3m Kempton Boxing Day
Neville Hotels Novice Chase Grade 1 3m Leopardstown December
Hampton Novices’ Chase Grade 2 3m Warwick January
Woodlands Park Novice Chase Grade 3 3m 1f Naas January
Flogas Novice Chase Grade 1 2m 5f Leopardstown February
Ten Up Novice Chase Grade 2 3m Navan February
Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase Grade 2 3m Ascot February
Key Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Trials - Intermediate Novice Hurdle Races

For novice hurdlers who stay further than two miles, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2m 5f is an attractive alternative on day two of Cheltenham. The horses competing here always have the option of stepping up or dropping back in trip in future if it doesn’t work out, or they show really speed and/or stamina to win. The best way to bet on horse racing with the Ballymore is to look closely at the following trial races including three events they sponsor:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Persian War Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 3f 100y Chepstow October
Trustatrader Hyde Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 5f Cheltenham November
Monksfield Novice Hurdle Grade 3 2m 4f Navan November
Winter Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 3f 173y Sandown December
Navan Novice Hurdle Grade 2 2m 4f Navan December
Challow Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f Newbury December
Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m 4f Naas January
Classic Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 4f 56y Cheltenham January
Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle Listed 2m 3f 173y Huntingdon February
Premier Kelso Hurdle Grade 2 2m 2f Kelso February / March
Key Queen Mother Champion Chase Trials - 2m Steeplechases

As the Ladies Day highlight of the Cheltenham Festival, the Queen Mother Champion Chase pits the fastest horses over fences against one another. There are various trials throughout the core jumps season you should pay attention to. This is the proper way of approaching how to bet on horses at Cheltenham and beat the bookies while you're at. Check out these key two-mile Champion Chase trials:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Haldon Gold Cup (Limited Handicap) Grade 2 2m 1f 109y Exeter November
Poplar Square Chase Grade 3 2m Naas November
Shloer Chase Grade 2 1m 7f 199y Cheltenham November
Fortria Chase Grade 2 2m Navan November
Tingle Creek Chase Grade 1 1m 7f Sandown December
Hilly Way Chase Grade 2 2m Cork December
Paddy's Rewards Club Chase Grade 1 2m 1f Leopardstown December
Desert Orchid Chase (Limited Handicap) Grade 2 2m Kempton December
Clarence House Chase Grade 1 2m 1f Ascot January
Dublin Chase Grade 1 2m 1f Leopardstown February
Game Spirit Chase Grade 2 2m Newbury February
Newlands Chase Grade 3 2m Naas February
Key Turners Novices' Chase Trials - Intermediate Novice Chases

Any novices over fences out there that don’t have the speed for the Arkle, but might find the staying steeplechases too much too soon do have an alternative on the third day of the Festival. The Turners’ Novices Chase has been run as the JLT and Marsh, but has the registered title of Golden Miller Novices’ Chase. This honours a record five-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner during the 1930s, who also won the Grand National. What punters need to do if they want to figure out how to bet on horses and win this race is to look through these trials around the British Isles:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Like A Butterfly Novice Chase Grade 3 2m 4f Tipperary October
Robert Mottram Memorial Trophy Listed 2m 3f 98y Chepstow October
Cork Novice Chase Grade 3 2m 4f Cork November
Rising Stars Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 35y Wincanton November
Berkshire Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m 3f 187y Newbury November / December
Drinmore Novice Chase Grade 1 2m 3f 165y Fairyhouse November / December
Noel Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m 2f 175y Ascot December
Fuagheen Novice Chase Grade 1 2m 3f 160y Limerick Boxing Day
Towton Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m 4f Wetherby January
Killiney Novice Chase Grade 3 2m 3f 160y Punchestown January
Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase Grade 1 2m 4f 10y Sandown February
Pendil Novices’ Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 110y Kempton February
Key Ryanair Chase Trials - 2m 4f Steeplechases

The Ryanair Chase is a halfway house between the Champion Chase and Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Many horses are at their most effective at an intermediate trip of around two-and-a-half miles, rather than over two or three-and-a-quarter. A blend of speed and stamina is what you’re looking for here with many of the best winners having travelled powerfully throughout. Follow these Ryanair Chase trials carefully and you should do well when betting:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Gowran Park Champion Chase Grade 2 2m 4f Gowran Park September / October
Old Roan Chase (Limited Handicap) Grade 2 2m 3f  200y Aintree October
Skymas Chase Grade 2 2m 3f 120y Down Royal October / November
Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase Listed 2m 4f Carlisle October / November
Clonmel Oil Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 96y Clonmel November
1965 Chase Grade 2 2m 5f 8y Ascot November
John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase Grade 1 2m 3f 200y Punchestown November
Peterborough Chase Grade 2 2m 3f 189y Huntingdon November / December
Silviniaco Conti Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 110y Kempton January
Kinloch Brae Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 78y Thurles January
Ascot Chase Grade 1 2m 5f 8y Ascot February
Red Mills Chase Grade 2 2m 4f Gowran Park February
Key Stayers' Hurdle Trials - Staying Hurdle Races

While it has gone in and out of vogue, the Stayers’ Hurdle is the co-feature race on the penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival, enjoying joint-top billing alongside the Ryanair Chase. Hurdlers have their stamina tested around two laps of the New Course. Many of those wondering how to bet successfully on horses here should be aware that the division can often end up being dominated by the same horse for quite a while. These Stayers’ Hurdle trials are where your search for the winner should be conducted:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
West Yorkshire Hurdle Grade 2 3m Wetherby October / November
Lismullen Hurdle Grade 2 2m 4f Navan November
Long Distance Hurdle Grade 2 3m 52y Newbury November / December
Long Walk Hurdle Grade 1 3m 97y Ascot December
Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle Grade 1 3m Leopardstown December
Relkeel Hurdle Grade 2 2m 4f 56y Cheltenham New Year’s Day
John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle Grade 2 3m 100y Gowran Park January
Cleeve Hurdle Grade 2 2m 7f 213y Cheltenham January
Boyne Hurdle Grade 2 2m 5f Navan February
Rendlesham Hurdle Grade 2 3m 58y Haydock February
Key Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle Trials - Novice Hurdle Races for Mares

One of the most recent additions to the Cheltenham Festival is the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, celebrating the only horse to win the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. This is always run at a frenetic gallop, so it’s no bad thing if the female you back stays a bit further than two miles and a furlong. For those asking how to bet on horses properly here, there are some established trials you should follow:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Feathard Lady Mares Novice Hurdle Grade 3 2m 190y Down Royal October / November
Voler La Vedette Mares Novice Hurdle Listed 2m 3f 80y Punchestown November
Newbury Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Listed 2m 69y Newbury November / December
Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle Listed 2m 6y Thurles December
Byerley Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Listed 2m 104y Taunton December
Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle Grade 3 2m 2f 110y Fairyhouse January
Apple’s Jade Mares Novice Hurdle Listed 2m 5f Punchestown February
Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 3f 173y Sandown February
Key Triumph Hurdle Trials - Juvenile Hurdle Races

The best four-year-olds in training over obstacles kick off the fourth and final day of Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle. Hurdlers improve at different rates and, in the past, it wasn’t unusual to not see the best of their age bracket turning out until the month before the Festival. There are plenty of trial races in the UK and Ireland in the juvenile hurdle division. Here they are:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle Listed 2m Wetherby October / November
Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle Grade 2 2m 56y Cheltenham November
Newbury Juvenile Fillies’ Hurdle Listed 2m Newbury November / December
Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle Grade 3 2m Fairyhouse November / December
Summit Juvenile Hurdle Listed 2m 1f Aintree December
Triumph Hurdle Trial Class 2 2m 179y Cheltenham December
Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle Grade 2 2m Leopardstown Boxing Day
Finale Juvenile Hurdle Grade 2 2m Chepstow December 27
Finesse Juvenile Hurdle Grade 2 2m 179y Cheltenham January
Spring Juvenile Hurdle Grade 1 2m Leopardstown February
Scottish Triumph Hurdle Listed 1m 7f 124y Musselburgh February
Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle Class 2 1m 7f 144y Haydock February
Adonis Juvenile Hurdle Grade 2 2m Kempton February
Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle Grade 3 2m Fairyhouse February
Key Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Trials - Staying Novice Hurdle Races

Hurdlers that are all stamina should turn up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over the same course and distance as the Stayers’ Hurdle. Many horses tackling this three-mile test could well come back at future Festivals and have the Gold Cup as their aim. There’s no real secret as to how to bet on horses at Cheltenham in this division. They need a stamina-laden pedigree and to have done well on the track in these recognised trials:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Cork Novice Hurdle Listed 3m Cork November
Cork Stayers Novice Hurdle Grade 3 3m Cork December
Albert Bartlett Trial Bristol Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 7f 213y Cheltenham December
Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle Grade 2 2m 7f Limerick December
Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 3m 84y Doncaster January
Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle Grade 1 2m 6f 27y Leopardstown February
Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle Grade 3 3m Clonmel February
Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 3m 58y Haydock February
Key Cheltenham Gold Cup Trials - Staying Steeplechases

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the blue riband event of steeplechases, attracting the best jumpers of fences that stay around to the Festival. It’s a race that all jockeys, owners and trainers are in the sport of horse racing to try and win. As ever, there are other top level races at three miles and beyond throughout the National Hunt calendar in the run-up to the Gold Cup that can give you clues on who to bet on:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Irish Daily Star Chase / Carvill’s Hill Chase Grade 3 2m 7f 200y Punchestown October
Charlie Hall Chase Grade 2 3m 45y Wetherby October / November
Down Royal Champion Chase Grade 1 3m Down Royal October / November
Betfair Chase Grade 1 3m 1f 125y Haydock November
King George VI Chase Grade 1 3m Kempton Boxing Day
Savills Chase Grade 1 3m Leopardstown December
New Year’s Day Chase Grade 3 2m 6f 50y Tramore New Year’s Day
Cotswold Chase Grade 2 3m 1f 56y Cheltenham January
Irish Gold Cup Grade 1 3m 44y Leopardstown February
Denman Chase Grade 2 2m 7f 86y Newbury February
Key Mares' Chase Trials - Steeplechases for Mares Only

The newest of all Cheltenham Festival races is the Grade 2 Mares’ Chase over two-and-a-half miles. Both novices and experienced female horses have won this race since its introduction. Much of the jumps programme in the UK and Ireland has been tweaked to reflect this. Those wanting to know how to bet on horses with success in relation to this must consider both novice chase form and races open to all mares over fences such as these:

Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
T.A. Morris Memorial Mares Chase Listed 2m 4f 96y Clonmel November
Bud Booth Mares’ Chase Listed 2m 7f 191y Market Rasen November
Houghton Mares’ Chase Listed 2m 4f Carlisle November / December
Lombardstown Mares Novice Chase Grade 2 2m 160y Cork December
Lady Godiva Mares’ Novices’ Chase Listed 2m 4f Warwick December
Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase Grade 2 2m 6f 120y Limerick December
Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase Listed 2m 4f 115y Doncaster December
Fowler Memorial Mares Chase Grade 3 2m 5f 3oy Fairyhouse January
Anaglog’s Daughter Mares Novice Chase Grade 2 2m 4f 78y Thurles January
Lady Protectress Mares’ Chase Listed 2m 3f 189y Huntingdon January
Opera Hat Mares Chase Listed 2m Naas February
Colreevy Mares Novice Chase Listed 2m 5f 205y Thurles February

How to Bet on Horses in the Grand National

They call the Grand National the world's most famous steeplechase. If you've ever sat down and watched it, then you will soon understand why. A maximum field of 40 horses run over the famous spruce-covered fences including Becher's Brook, the Canal Turn and The Chair at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool every April. The Grand National is a real slog, not just for horses and their jockeys, but anyone who wants to know how to bet on horses the right way and win money on this Premier Handicap.

Given the huge field size and unique test of the course, anything can happen. There are tons of trials listed below that you should look at as pointers for the Grand National, but with so many runners only one approach is recommended. You really must bet each way on this race, because that mitigates the high potential for losing your stake.

When asked how to bet on horses in the Grand National by your friends and family, it's OK to hedge your bets on this particular race. Come up with a shortlist of contenders from among the many possible runners and back them so you have more than one iron in the fire. You may also want to wait until Extra Places become available with the bookies, so your each way bets pay out on fifth or sixth place, or even further down the field.

Key Grand National Trials
Grand National Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Scottish Grand National Premier Handicap 4m Ayr April
bet365 Gold Cup Premier Handicap 3m 5f Sandown April
Kerry National Grade 3 3m Listowel September
Munster National Grade 3 3m Limerick October
Cork Grand National Listed 3m 4f Cork November
Troytown Handicap Chase Grade 3 3m Navan November
Coral Gold Cup Premier Handicap 3m 2f Newbury November / December
Porterstown Handicap Chase Listed 3m 5f Fairyhouse November / December
Becher Chase Premier Handicap 3m 2f Aintree December
Paddy Power Chase Listed 3m Leopardstown December 27
Welsh Grand National Premier Handicap 3m 6f Chepstow December 27
Peter Marsh Chase Premier Handicap 3m 1f 25y Haydock January
Thyestes Chase Grade 3 3m 1f Gowran Park January
Swinley Chase Premier Handicap 3m Ascot February
Grand National Trial Premier Handicap 3m 4f Haydock February
Irish Grand National Trial Listed 3m 4f Punchestown February
Eider Chase Class 2 4m 1f Newcastle February
Bobbyjo Chase Grade 3 3m 1f Fairyhouse February
Coral Trophy Premier Handicap 3m Kempton February
Premier Chase Listed 2m 7f Kelso February / March
Grimthorpe Chase Class 2 3m 2f Doncaster February / March
Leinster National Listed 3m 1f Naas March
National Hunt Chase Grade 2 3m 6f Cheltenham March
Cross Country Chase Class 2 3m 6f Cheltenham March
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Class 2 3m 2f Cheltenham March
Cheltenham Gold Cup Grade 1 3m 2f Cheltenham March
Midlands Grand National Premier Handicap 4m 2f Uttoxeter March
Irish Grand National Grade 3 3m 5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

How to Bet on Derby Horses Online

Just like with the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National, there are recognised trials for The Derby at Epsom both the season before and in the spring leading up to it. They call this race the premier Classic in that it's the most prestigious and valuable Flat event for three-year-old colts (and fillies who can also run) in the UK. If you want to know how to bet on horses and win The Derby, these are the trials to follow:

Trials for The Derby
Derby Trial Race Name Class of Race Race Distance Racecourse When
Futurity Stakes Group 2 7f Curragh August
Acomb Stakes Group 3 7f York August
Solario Stakes Group 3 7f Sandown August / September
Champions Juvenile Stakes Group 2 1m Leopardstown September
Vincent O’Brien National Stakes Group 1 7f Curragh September
Beresford Stakes Group 3 1m Curragh September
Autumn Stakes Group 3 1m Newmarket October
Zetland Stakes Listed 1m 2f Newmarket October
Dewhurst Stakes Group 1 7f Newmarket October
Vertem Futurity Trophy Group 1 1m Doncaster October
Ballysax Stakes Group 3 1m 2f Leopardstown April
Feilden Stakes Listed 1m 1f Newmarket April
Blue Riband Trial Listed 1m 2f 17y Epsom April
Sandown Classic Trial Group 3 1m 1f 209y Sandown April
Newmarket Stakes Listed 1m 2f Newmarket April / May
2000 Guineas Group 1 1m Newmarket May
Irish Derby Trial Group 3 1m 2f Leopardstown May
Chester Vase Group 3 1m 4f 63y Chester May
Dee Stakes Listed 1m 2f 70y Chester May
Lingfield Derby Trial Listed 1m 4f Lingfield May
Dante Stakes Group 2 1m 2f 56y York May
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How to Bet on Royal Ascot

When it comes to Royal Ascot, punters have even more races to choose from than at the Cheltenham Festival. Whereas that jumps meeting is seven races per day for four days, this gala on the Flat goes on for five. That's 35 races in total with a full range of Listed and Group races, plus handicaps for thoroughbred racehorses of different genders.

There is almost too much going on at the Royal meeting, so the best advice we can give punters for how to bet on horses effectively during it is to narrow down what you wager on. You may just want to sit and observe the events only open to two-year-olds, for example, as very little known is about these youngsters form wise.

If betting on Royal Ascot handicaps, consider carefully if there's a draw bias that can make or break chances in a big field. Each of the Group races asks something different of horses too. As a three-year-old, colts and fillies run on the Round Mile in the St James's Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes respectively. If returning to the Royal meeting the following year, then they will race on the Straight Mile in the Queen Anne Stakes and/or Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, which provide stiffer stamina tests.

Past course and distance form, plus previous Royal Ascot performances, should all be taken into account. It's worth knowing, for example, that Ascot Gold Cup contenders may have contested the Queen's Vase at this meeting earlier in their careers. For sprinters, meanwhile, there are opportunities to keep coming back to Royal Ascot with the Commonwealth Cup as three-year-olds, then the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes as an older horse.

How to Bet Successfully on Horses

You've hopefully picked up quite a few tips along the way of how to bet on horses and enjoy success. We've got some more general advice on doing it the right way below. Follow these hints and it should enable you to make better decisions when betting more often:

Always Bet Each Way

We explained how to bet on horses each way above; so, provided such an angle is possible based on the prices, why wouldn’t you do it? While the outlay is greater because of the unit stake doubling, it mitigates the potential for loss. Anything that allows for that is a good thing and helps you in your quest.

Take on Favourites in the Most Competitive Races

Even though their implied probability suggests they have the best chance of winning, favourites don’t always justify their place. The market can’t be right all the time and, the more competitive the race, then the less likely those at the head of it are to win. You should never be afraid to take on the favourite in a horse race, especially in a big field handicap where many runners have chances. Look at the betting bar the market leader in case there’s value elsewhere.

Look Out for Bookie Offers

From Extra Place races for your each way bets to Money Back as a Free Bet deals, the bookies run many promotions specific to horse racing. These are all the extra incentive or excuse many punters need to bet, especially if they already have a view on the race. It’s worth considering why these are on offer and how they work.

Such deals either enhance your chances of getting a horse placed or take away some of the risk of losing your stake. If these betting offers are available on a race that interests you, then what are you waiting for? Get involved as you’re being actively encouraged by bookmakers to take a punt.

Where to Bet on Horses

There are lots of contenders among horse racing betting sites in the running for our recommendation. This is due to the enduring popularity of taking a punt on this sport. Each bookie offers something slightly different, so it depends on what you're looking for when you bet on horses. As noted above, more Extra Place Races are what each way punters desire.

Those concerned about reducing the potential for loss, meanwhile, will welcome Money Back as a Free Bet deals. One of the best overall rounded experiences for betting on horse racing comes through Spreadex, as they let you put fixed odds wagers and spread bets on the races all in the same space. Other bookies we recommend include Betgoodwin, Betfred and 888sport.

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Jamie Clark
Jamie Clark
Jamie Clark

Jamie Clark has been with www.bettingsites.co.uk from the very beginning and penned the very first pieces of content that appeared right here. Known for his horse racing expertise, his strong gambling knowledge comes from childhood where he was surrounded by both horses and betting. The godson of a former on-track bookmaker at Market Rasen Racecourse, Jamie ended up working in the same industry and became Sports Editor of heavyweight bookies Coral for three years before they merged with Ladbrokes. After a successful spell freelancing for other big names in the business, he helped us launch this site with his skills, experience and ability coming in useful. Read long form content across a range of betting subjects from Jamie right here.