Horse racing and betting are linked to the extent that the sport does not really make a lot of sense without gambling being attached.

While events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National are among the biggest events of the sporting calendar, horse racing runs all the way throughout the year.

As such, it is one of the most popular sports to bet on due to the fact that there is going to always be a race on somewhere in the world.

But for those without a lot of experience of betting on horse racing, it is hard to know where you should be starting. There is a lot of terminology to get your head around – and it is complex.

This is where we are here to help – this is our simple guide to betting on the races.

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Horse racing betting – the basics

If you have never placed any type of bet before, the good news is it is dead easy.

All you are doing is predicting the outcome of an event – it does not matter if it is a football game, a boxing match or a horse race – this is always going to stay the same.

The bookmakers will have a number of markets to choose from, so you just need to select your chosen odds, decide how much you are willing to stake, and then you are ready to bet.

For horse racing, the most basic type of bet is predicting which horse is going to win a race. Obviously this is easier said than done, otherwise everyone would be able to do it!

A race can feature anything from just five or six horses all the way up to around 40, with the largest of them the hardest to win on due to a matter of mathematics.

There are a few things that can help you to predict which is horse is going to win, however.

Predicting the winner of a horse race

To help you to pick out the winner of a race, bookmakers will provide the form of the horses.

This lets you see whether or not they have a good track record of winning, which can provide clues as to their chances of doing so again.

Alongside the form information on a bookmaker website will be the age and the weight of the horse. Racehorses tend to take a few years to mature, but once they are older than about 10 they are starting to slow down. The sweet spot is therefore around eight, but this can change depending on the hose.

The last thing to be aware of when picking a horse to bet on is the condition of the track. Horses tend to perform better on a certain type of ground, whether that is good or firm.

Check the forecast before you start to place wagers as the conditions will play a large part in which horses have the best chance of getting to the line in first place.

Each horse race also has a grade, which defines the quality of the horses involved. Grade 1 is the top grading and many believe these races are the easiest to win on as quality horses tend to be more predictable than those involved in low grade races.

Betting on horse racing – the alternatives

If you are still concerned about horse racing betting, you can always steer clear entirely. There are plenty of other sports you can choose to bet on in order to get your gambling fix, especially if you like to play at an online casino.

Roulette, online poker and blackjack is all up for grabs on a huge range of casino websites, which all offer various promotions to try to get you to choose them over a rival firm.

Slots can be a great way to spend some time too, as you could win an absolute fortune from a spin that costs almost nothing.

There are even slots with a horse racing theme and trying these will be a whole lot simpler than working out a form guide if you are confused about all the facets involved in betting on races.

Types of horse racing bets

If you are ready to start betting on horse racing, there are a few markets to learn about.

Singles are the best place to start with as they are the easiest to understand. This is simply picking out the horse you think is going to win the race.

You can place a single bet in one of two ways – to win, or each way. To win is self-explanatory. Each way bets are a little bit more complicated but not too difficult to work out.

An each way bet is gambling that a horse will get what is called a ‘place’. The bookmaker and how many horses are in the race will depend the exact terms of the each way wager.

For example, you could get 1/4 of the odds for a place in the top four finishes in a typical race. A big race like the Grand National might see the bookie offer extended to as many as eight places.

Away from singles, those chasing massive wins could also seek to place multiples, which work in a similar way to an accumulator on a standard football coupon.

Odds multiply rapidly when you do this and there are a broad range of multiple bet options to choose from, such as the Lucky 15.

This involves selecting four horses to win four separate races – but only one has to win for you to receive a return on your investment.

A Lucky 15 bet is a very hard one to pull off, but huge amounts of cash are up for grabs.

Horse racing betting – tips and tricks

Following horse racing tips can be a profitable way to bet on this sport, but keep in mind that tipsters cannot guarantee their predictions are going to come true.

There is also a lot of different advice out there, so it is hard to work out who you should listen to and who should be ignored when it comes to horse racing tips.

The best thing is to take things slow and gradually build your confidence. Start with small stakes bets and watch a lot of horse racing as this will grow your expertise and knowledge of the sport.

And, as is the case with any type of gambling, never bet more than you can afford to lose. Gambling should be a fun hobby, so always stay in control of how much you are spending.