People have been racing horses in one capacity or another for centuries, not just in the UK but around the world. There is evidence that as far back as the Ancient Greeks, people were racing horses for sport and entertainment. But despite its popularity, horse racing can look confusing from an outside perspective and a daunting sport to start understanding. If you’re someone who wants to get involved but doesn’t know where to begin, this guide to understanding the basics of the sport is for you. If you’re a betting man, these horse racing tips can really help you out.
Types of Races
In the UK, horse racing is split into two main categories – flat racing and National Hunt racing. Flat racing is as the name suggests – horses race on a flat track, either in a straight line or around a curved racetrack, and the first one past the post is the winner. National Hunt racing is slightly more complex, as it involves obstacles that the horses and jockeys have to navigate around the track. There are two categories to this latter form of racing, which are hurdles and steeplechases. In steeplechases, the horses have to jump over fences which are higher and more solid than those in hurdle races. There are often ditches and water jumps involved as well.
Categories of Racing
Within these two branches of racing, there are classifications which indicate the purse value, prestige and quality of the horses involves. Group 1 races are the highest classified races which bring in the best horses and typically offer the biggest prize. From here, the classification descends to Group 2, Group 3, listed races and finishing with handicap races. In handicap races, a Jockey Club official sets the weight every horse competing has to carry so that there is a decent race and a fair level of competition between competitors. The higher calibre of the horse, the more weight it must carry.
Choosing a Winner When Betting on Horse Racing
As anyone who bets or gambles will tell you, choosing the right horse for a bet is easier said than done and, of course, there are no guarantees with any race or competing horse. But there are certain factors that you need to take into account when choosing a potential winner, including their form pedigree, trainer, jockey and the type of track the horse is running on. It is also beneficial to take into account the length of the track, the weather on the day of the race and the weight they’ve been given in a handicap race, as these will all affect the outcome. A horse that has only competed a couple of times before, for example, won’t have the experience of one which has raced consistently and proven their skills and stamina. It’s also a good idea to consider the odds on a horse before you place your bets and take note if the odds on a particular horse have changed drastically all of a sudden or if they’ve remained consistent.