It’s one of the oldest, recognised sports in the world and for many of us, this is where betting began. Horse racing was officially run in Australia at the start of the 19th century although informal events had been taking place for many years prior to that.
In the modern era, we have great events such as the Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup which attract big fields with top class horses from all over the world. It’s therefore no wonder that horse racing remains popular with the online betting community and many Australian bookmakers offer great incentives for those looking to get on board.
If you’ve just placed a few bets on the Melbourne Cup in the past or, if you have yet to get involved with the sport, here are the markets you can stake on and the best bookmakers for the sport as a whole.
Choice of Markets
One of the reasons why horse racing continues to be popular after all these years is the fact that the concept is a very simple one. In its basic form, you are just looking for the horse that is going to win the specific race.
Of course, the practise isn’t quite so easy and involves studying of form, both for the horse and the jockey. Also, you need to weigh up the strengths of the trainer and whether the runner has any previous experience of the course. Those are just some of the aspects you need to look at so it’s a great sport for those that have an analytical betting mind but, the main goal is very straightforward – decide which horse is going to win the race.
Away from the straight win markets, you could take an Each Way bet which would typically pay out if your horse finishes in the top three. For bigger races such as the Melbourne Cup, a bookmaker might extend this and pay down to six places as an example but, as a general rule, Each Way bets will pay for the top three in a standard meeting.
Here, your bet is in two parts – a win and a place. So, the first portion of your bet pays out if the horse wins while the second will give you a return if it finishes inside the top three. For that reason, your stake is effectively doubled so, if you are betting $5.00 AUD on an Each Way punt then your outlay will be increased to $10.00.
It may also be possible to stake a ‘place’ bet but this is becoming increasingly rare among online bookmakers. With this type of punt, there is just one part to the bet and it would pay out if your horse finishes in the top three. Odds are reduced in the event of a winner and this is one reason why it’s becoming increasingly hard to find outlets that will accept place betting.
Long Term Markets
It may also be possible to find bets that can be decided over the course of a meeting or even a season and these will typically focus on jockeys and trainers rather than the specific horses.
For example, you could take a big meeting such as the Cheltenham Festival in the UK and bet on who will be the most successful jockey over the course of the four days. Similar markets will apply to the trainers and you could also bet on whether a certain jockey or trainer will secure a winner on day one of the meeting.
At the start of any Flat or National Hunt season, there is a lot of talk as to who will finish as the Champion Jockey and it’s possible to stake in these markets too. So, while the scope for additional side bets isn’t quite as great with horse racing as it is with other sports, there are possibilities but which bookmakers should you choose as part of your strategy?
The Australian Betting Community should certainly consider a bookmaker that is sympathetic to their needs and LuxBet definitely fall into that category. This is a very difficult market for an overseas focussed outlet to break into and while some manage to do so successfully, home based bookies are a preference for many.
Along with home comforts, value is here too with great prices in the ante post markets for all the big meetings and LuxBet offer plenty of choice too with races from all over the world being included in their lists, including lots of obscure events so there are tons of options on every day of the week.
As one of the few overseas bookmakers to successfully build up a following in Australia, Bet365 have a global customer base. They are simply huge in the UK where they have their company head office and have built their reputation on great prices and fair service.
You can get an excellent sign up offer here with a 100% match on your first deposit and there are a number of ongoing offers that are specifically tailored towards horse racing. These include a Best Odds Guarantee deal on all Irish and UK meetings and you can frequently get some price boosts on the bigger televised races.
General prices are very good too so Bet365 are a great all-rounder if you are a serious or a casual horse racing punter.
Having set up their online presence in 2015, CrownBet are one of the more recent entrants into sports betting but they have proved to be popular for a number of reasons. Value comes from good prices, as it does with all of these bookies, but you can also get one of the better ranges of ongoing promotions with lots of free bet deals up for grabs throughout the sporting calendar.
Many of these apply to horse racing but even if you can’t find any for the specific race that you’re interested in, CrownBet’s standard ante post prices will always be hard to beat.
Perhaps the oldest name to be associated with sports betting, Ladbrokes have a reputation that makes them popular all over the world. They were one of the first to get an online Aussie licence following changes in regulation but they don’t just rely on their familiar name in order to attract business.
A generous welcome offer plus acca insurances and other free bet deals, coupled with strong horse racing prices makes them an obvious choice.
There are many operators keen to focus on Australian horse racing and aside from the ones we’ve mentioned here, we recommend that you also look at PalmerBet, Unibet, 10Bet, Betfair and William Hill.
They all approach the sport in slightly different ways but they, along with the sportsbooks that we’ve reviewed in greater detail, give you a good mix of choice and great value when it comes to betting on horse racing.