What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?

Learn why connections are important in horse racing and how they can help improve your bet choices

Horse racing connections explained


Some people will tell you life is all about connections. Well, in horse racing connections can certainly help you improve your betting choices! We’re not talking here about knowing a tipster or a bookie at the races. No, connections in horse racing is a term that refers to those with influence over a horses career.

This guide in the latest post from our Demystifying Racing series will take you through what connections in horse racing betting are, and why they’re important.

What are a horses connections?

If you hear a pundit or commentator talk about horse racing connections it means they’re referring to the figures who effectively run the career of the horse. This will primary be the owner and trainer of the horse, but also includes other influential figures.


The owner is the person(s) who actually owns the horse and who pays for the horse to train, eat and move around the country to race. They are the most important connection because without them (and their money) a horse can’t develop or compete at the highest level. Some owners enjoy huge success, winning the biggest races in the National Hunt and Flat calendars, and earn millions in prize money.

Now, an owner doesn’t have to be super rich to cover the bills and other costs associated with owning a race horse. Some owners form a syndicate in order to own a share of a horse, and split the costs and winnings accordingly. If you recognise a high-profile connection to a horse when scouring through the Paddy Power race cards then this could be an indication that the runner will do well.

Horse racing connections

Connections are the only people who can contest a horse race result (GETTY)


The other greatly influential connection for a thoroughbred horse is its trainer. The world’s best trainers work tirelessly to ensure their cares are in top condition to race, and will work with owners to decide which events to put the horse in. Trainers will likely know better how good the horse is, whether it excels in sprint or distance races, if it is suitable for jumps and whether it can handle the going from firm to heavy.

The trainer also organises the feeding routine, training schedule, the employment of stable hands who look after the horse, and receives plenty of the glory if the horse wins a big race such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup or Grand National.


There are further connections that might sway you to back a particular runner when horse racing betting. One is the jockey – if a jockey has ridden the horse many times before and has claimed previous success in doing so, then this is a good connection. Meanwhile, the vets responsible for the health of the horse and the bloodstock agent who researched the breeding are also notable connections, if you happen to come across them.

Horse racing connections

You can spot connections – such as jockey and trainer – in the Paddy Power race card (PP)

Why are connections important in horse racing betting?

Spotting strong connections when racing betting is a solid way to earn a quick dose of knowledge that can help you make smarter decisions on race day. For example, seeing that a horse is trained by one of the premier trainers in the UK and Ireland could mean it has a strong chance of winning – especially if its odds are short or it’s the favourite.

Meanwhile, a successful owner – one that has won a good number of Class 1 or Grade 1 races – will also indicate that the horse in question has good connections.

What’s more, experienced connections are more likely to spot if their horse has been potentially infringed when racing. Connections are the only people allowed to speak to the race stewards and call for an enquiry into the final result. If a connection – such as an owner or trainer – convinces the stewards that their horse was improperly impeded during the race then the result may be overturned.

Of course, connections aren’t everything. But when you’re seeking to gain an advantage when racing betting then being able to spot which horses derive from trusted and reputable sources is always going to help.



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