Horse racing brings out the punters perhaps more than any other sport across the globe. However, betting on the races can only be an enjoyable experience if you’re winning. No one wants to leave a race meet without at least one successful punt. However, it can be easier said than done, especially for people who are just casual spectators of the sport. We’ll now break down the key aspects of becoming a successful horse racing bettor.


The simplest bet to take in horse racing is the outcome of the race. Simply pick the horse that you believe will win the race and enter your stake against the odds of the competitor selected. The favourite will have the narrowest odds, while the outsiders will offer better value with the prospect of a greater yield on the punt.

Due to the difficulty of picking a winner, especially in crowded fields of horses, bookmakers offer the prospect of an each-way bet. On the betting slip or online, there will be an option to tick a box to make your punt an each-way.


This involves doubling your initial stake. For example, a £1 bet will become £2. However, the punt increases the opportunity for success as you're effectively placing one bet on the horse winning, and another on them finishing towards the top of the pile. Bookmakers will list the terms of the each-way bet, which could cover the horse finishing in the top three or in some cases, such as the Grand National, the top eight. Monitoring the places is a key aspect of the bet, along with the percentage of the stake that will be returned. Bookmakers will offer a fraction of the odds from the initial starting price – usually around 1/5 of the original value. For example, a £1 each-way bet on a 10/1 horse would bring back £2 for the punter if the horse was to place within the bookmakers’ parameters. It’s not a guaranteed success, but it does provide a decent cover option for experienced and rookie bettors alike.


Accumulators are an option when bettors become more confident in their knowledge of the sport. A day at Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot could become a lucrative affair, with up to six races to bet on. Accumulators work in the same way as the single bet and each-way – you’re just adding more races to the fold rather than just the one. You can pick six outright winners along with the option of adding each-way bets, which will be reflected in the value of the punt should be it successful. If you place six bets, all of the horses have to either win or place within the parameters for the punt to succeed.


There are a lot of factors that can affect the outcome of a race, but the number one is the four-legged animal competing on the track. The inexperienced punter may just go by their gut feeling or the name of the horse that may hold sentimental value. However, the knowledgeable punter will analyse all of the statistics ahead of the race to ensure that they are armed and ready with the information before placing their bet.


Form is probably the most important factor. A horse that has won every race it has competed in will be a strong contender and probably the favourite for their next race. A horse struggling for form will have the longer odds, although the sport has proven on several occasions that any competitor is capable of producing an upset. However, on a regular race meet, the cream usually rises to the top.

The racecourse can also play its part in the outcome of the meet as a horse may have a certain preference for a particular track. Some competitors thrive at Ascot, whereas others may be more comfortable at Haydock Park or Sandown Park; many horses seem to save their best performances for a particular occasion or racecourse.


After form, the distance that the horse will be travelling will affect the outcome of the meet. Owners and trainers like to the test how their charges cope with the different demands. Certain horses can cope with differing distances with relative ease, such as Justify in the United States, who won the Triple Crown in 2018 over three distances.

However, the English Triple Crown has seen no winner since Nijinsky pulled off the feat in 1970. Some competitors thrive over six furlongs, others at 12 furlongs and beyond. Tracking the performances of horses throughout the season and the races they have performed in is a crucial aspect of deciding whether to back them or not. It might be more vital in the National Hunt, where stamina over the last few fences can be so crucial in determining the outcome of the race.


Form and distance can pale into significance depending on the condition of the track. A horse could boast a ten-race win streak heading into a meet, but may have only raced in good conditions. If the ground is soft or yielding, it may result in a different performance from the horse.

Looking at the history of the competitor is always a good starting point, while listening to independent pundits is another good idea. You will never get the full picture from a trainer, owner or a jockey about how their horse performs in certain conditions due to their obvious bias. It’s best to have all the information to hand, especially if you plan to lay significant sum of money on the event.

How Can I Bet on the Races?

You will be taken to all the upcoming horse races by clicking the horse racing tab on the side of the 888sport homepage or on the app on your mobile or tablet device. Simply select the competitor that you are backing for the race and enter your stake. If you’re planning on an each-way bet, select the option next to the stake button, which will allow you to add that to the punt. For an accumulator, you will have to go through the all races available section, picking the winners and once again entering the stake.

Ante-post betting is available on major races. This forecasts the runners for meets a couple of weeks taking place in a couple of weeks' time and beyond, with leading events such as the Grand National or the Ascot Gold Cup having their ante-post selections available well in advance. Due to the unpredictability of form and fitness ahead of the race, the odds will be wide even for the elite competitors. There is a greater risk betting on meets in the future as there is no guarantee that the horse in question will be firing on all cylinders come the start of the race. However, if the horse does not compete, the selection will be voided. It’s a gamble to take on the long-range forecast, but it can yield greater rewards.