How to bet on horse racing – a beginner’s guide

Read our quick horse racing betting ‘how to’ guide and start your journey with Paddy Power today!

how to bet on horse racing

Learning the ins and outs of horse racing can feel a little daunting if you’re new to the sport. After all, even seasoned bettors sometimes get tripped up by complex jargon and go on losing streaks that would defy even the best tipster.

But the horse racing community is always here to welcome more people into the sport. In recent years the Jockey Club and betting sites like Paddy Power have worked hard to educate more fans about horse racing, in order to improve the fan experience and make it more accessible.

With that in mind, we’ve created a simple ‘how to bet on horse racing’ guide for newcomers. You don’t need to be an expert to place a bet on horse racing, but a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

Read on for info on the types of horse racing odds readily available in the Paddy Power sportsbook, some smart tips for beginners, and how to cut through the jargon.

Horse racing odds explained

how to bet on horse racing at Paddy Power

If you haven’t seen a race card before then the variety of odds may appear a little daunting. There are a lot of different types of horse racing odds and combinations. Some of them require as many as 57 bets in a single wager. We won’t get into those here. Instead, below are the main bet types available to punters betting via the Paddy Power sportsbook and app:

  • Win – A simple bet where you wager on your horse to win a race.
  • Each Way – Here, half your stake goes on your horse winning, and the other half on it finishing within the top few places (usually top three to top five). It acts as an insurance if your horse doesn’t win but runs well.
  • SP – Backing the Start Price means you take a win bet on whatever the odds are on your horse when the race starts.
  • Forecast – A forecast is a bet that involves correctly predicting the first and second in a race in the exact order.
  • Reverse Forecast – A reverse forecast is a bet that involves correctly predicting the first and second in a race in any order.
  • Tricast – A tricast is a bet that involves correctly predicting the first, second and third in a race in the exact order.
  • Combination – A combination forecast is a bet where a punter can choose three or more selections in one event, two of which must finish first or second in any order.
  • Double – A double is one bet on two selections in different races. Both selections must be successful to have a return.
  • Treble – A treble is one bet on three selections in different events. All three selections must be successful to have a return.
  • 4 fold – A fourfold accumulator is one bet on four selections in different events. All four selections must be successful to have a return.
  • 5 fold – A fivefold accumulator is one bet on five selections. All five selections must be successful to have a return.

You don’t need to know how all of these bet types work. The most popular – win, Each Way, and doubles – are perfect for newcomers learning about ​​how to bet on horses. Remember, there’s no need to rush into it, and taking your time with wagers can make the difference between a winning bet and a losing bet.

Horse racing betting tips

As you can see from the list above, there are a lot of options available to those betting for horse racing profit. If you’re a newcomer to the sport then you’re unlikely to be placing four-fold wagers instantly. Therefore, we’ve come up with some smart horse racing betting tips that can better inform your choices on race day:

  • Consider Each Way – Picking winners in horse racing isn’t easy, but Each Way bets act as an insurance if your choice is pipped to the post. Each Way bets split your stake in half, so if your horse wins you won’t get the full profit of a win bet. However, it also means if you horse finishes, say, second you’ll earn a slice back.
  • Bet small – New bettors run the risk of going too big, too early. The best way to learn about horse racing betting is to bet small and reduce your overall risk per race. This means you can bet on more races and improve your knowledge of the sport.
  • See our tips – Paddy offers daily horse racing tips on races from across the UK and Ireland. Our experts range from former jockeys to racing insiders, and can give you a boost when you need it.
  • See others’ tips – Paddy collects horse racing tips from around the UK and Ireland and publishes them below each race card, like so:

horse racing tips

  • Watch live – Log into your Paddy Power account, place a bet and watch all the action live! You’ll learn a lot more about the horses, the racecourse and the going when you’re watching live events.

How to read a race card

Here at Paddy Power we strive to give bettors as much info as possible, so you can make smarter bet choices. Horse racing has always had race cards, and these are the perfect tool for picking a winner if you know how to read them.

Race cards show you more than just the name and number of the horse. They reveal form, recent injuries, weight, headgear and the experience of the jockey.

horse racing race card explained

Read our racecards explained guide today for a deep-dive into these useful tools.

Racing jargon

Horse racing is a centuries-old sport and that means there’s a lot of jargon that has built up over the years. It’s hard when learning how to bet on a horse race to know what’s important, and what’s fluff. We therefore decided to create the ultimate horse racing jargon guide, to cut through the noise and help new bettors (and some experienced punters too!) understand what commentators and tipsters are on about.

Check out our horse racing jargon guide here!

Types of horse race

There are two main types of horse race in the UK and Ireland that bettors should be aware of.

The winter months feature National Hunt races that are run over fences and hurdles. These can only take place in the winter and spring because the ground is soft enough for horses to land. The summer months are dominated by the Flat season, which doesn’t feature jumps.

Both seasons have sub-categories of races to differentiate quality. You can read more about types of National Hunt race and types of Flat race classes here.

How to bet on horse racing

Now you know the basics, it’s time to know how to place a bet on a horse race online! Start by logging into your Paddy Power account or create a fresh profile today. Make sure your account is charged with a deposit or has bonus funds, and head over to the Paddy Power horse racing page in our sportsbook or app. Click on the race you want to follow, and then the odds of the horse you plan to back. If you’re making multiple selections then click on the odds of each horse, and you can always tick/untick them in the pop-up bet slip.

Once you’re happy with your choices, enter your stake in the relevant section of the bet slip. You’ll see your risk and potential reward. From here you can click ‘Place Bet’ to complete the process.

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