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How to Bet on Horses in Ireland – Racing Betting Guide

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports to bet on. Historians can trace betting on horse racing back to the 1600s, but it is likely betting on the sport started even before then.

Horse racing has an appeal that many sports do not. It is a combination of man and beast competing to be the fastest across the finish line. Bettors have the chance to win large sums of money betting on horse racing. The thrill of winning and the agony of defeat are motivators to people across Ireland who have a punt on the ponies every year.

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Major racing events are held around the year. The allure of the Grand National, Irish Derby, Kentucky Derby, and other major events influence sports fans to wager on the races’ outcomes. Horse racing isn’t just about betting, however. There is a social aspect to the sport. A day out at the races can be exciting, as the horses thunder by on the way to the finish line. 

A bet on the races raises the intrigue. It increases the excitement of the event. If you have never bet on horse racing, then you have come to the right place to learn about how to bet on horses. 

Betting on horse racing

You can place a bet on a horse race in different ways. There is no hard and fast rule for making a horse racing bet. High street betting shops take bets and allow you to watch the races. You can also place a bet at the racetrack. Horse races are held every day in Ireland and the United Kingdom, giving you the chance to attend a live race. Bookmakers are on hand and accept wagers. 

The simplest way to place a bet on the horses is to sign up with a betting website. You can wager on races from the comfort of your home. Most betting websites stream the races, so you can watch them after placing a wager. 

If you want to bet online, then you will need to sign up for a betting website. It is quick and easy to sign up for a bookmaker. You can also find an assortment of bonuses and promo codes before joining. Betting bonuses add to your initial deposit, giving you more money to wager on the horses. 

Once you sign up for a betting website, follow the steps below to bet on a race.

  1. Study the race card before an event. Research your chosen horse to learn as much as possible about it.
  2. Visit your online bookmaker and sign into your account.
  3. Click on the ‘horse racing’ section to see the upcoming races.
  4. Locate the race you want to wager on.
  5. Find the horse you want to bet on. 
  6. Select the odds you want to wager on to add it to your bet slip.
  7. Enter your stake into the bet slip
  8. Review your bet slip and click ‘bet’ to confirm the wager.

After the bet is placed, most bookmakers will stream the race. You can watch the action unfold to see if your selection wins. 

A single horse race can have numerous markets to select from. It can be difficult to get your head around the different bet types. Horse racing betting sites offer singles, multiple bets, and more on races. Below are some of the most popular horse racing bet types available.

Bet typeDescription
SingleThe simplest bet type is the single. It is a wager on the horse you predict will win the race.
Each-wayAn each-way bet is a wager covering a horse to finish first or second in a race. It provides insurance on an event. The stake is doubled on an each-way bet.
To placeThis is a wager on a horse to finish first, second or third.
ForecastA selection on the horses to finish first and second in the correct order.
Reverse forecastA selection on the two horses to finish first and second in any order.
DoubleA double is a bet on two selections from two different races. The odds are combined providing a larger payout than betting on single outcomes.
TrebleThe treble bet combines three outcomes from three different races.
AccumulatorAn accumulator, or acca, is four or more selections from different races. The odds are combined and all four results must occur for the bet to win. Accas are popular because bettors can combine low odds into one bet to create higher odds. Accas are risky, especially if you increase the number of results.
TrixieThe Trixie is a wager made up of three selections and four bets. There are three doubles and a treble included in the wager. For the bet to payout, at least two selections must win. Due to the bet type, your stake will increase to cover all the bets. For example, a €2.50 Trixie bet would cost an overall stake of £10.
Lucky 15The Lucky 15 is a popular horse racing bet. It is made up of four sections and 15 bets. The bet has four singles, six doubles, four trebles, and a fourfold. One winning selection guarantees a payout. For example, a £1 Lucky 15 would cost £15. Lucky 15 bets and other multiple bets are only for experienced bettors.
CanadianA Canadian, also called a Super Yankee, consists of five selections and 26 bets. It has 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five fourfolds, and a five-fold accumulator.
Lucky 31The Lucky 31 has five selections and 31 bets. There are five singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five fourfolds, and one fivefold. One winning selection returns a payout. Lucky 31s can be expensive. For example, a €1 Lucky 31 would cost Only one selection must win to guarantee you a return. For example, a £1 Lucky 31 would cost €31.
HeinzThis is a wager made up of six selections and 57 bets. It consists of 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, six fivefolds, and a one sixfold accumulator.
Lucky 63The Lucky 63 consists of six selections and 63 bets. There are six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 fourfolds, six fivefolds, and one sixfold in a Lucky 63.
Super HeinzThere are seven selections in a Super Heinz. The bet has 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, seven sixfolds, and a sevenfold accumulator. When added up, there are 120 bets. You will need to selections to win to provide a payout. Super Heinz bets can be expensive to make.

Horse racing betting terms

Horse racing has its own language. Newbie bettors may struggle to understand the terminology used by bookmakers, handicappers, and journalists. Knowing some key phrases can go a long way to helping pick a winning horse.

  • Price – This is just another word for ‘odds’. 
  • Odds on – If a horse is odds on, then it is the favourite to win the race. Bets on odds-on horses will pay less money than bets on long-odds horses.
  • Fixed odds – Fixed odds are provided by bookmakers on horse races. Fixed odds mean the price doesn’t change in the lead-up to the race. 
  • Outsider – An outsider is a long shot or underdog. The outsider with have longer odds or a higher price before the race begins
  • Favourite – This is the horse experts and bookmakers favour to win the race. The odds will be short and will reflect the favourite status. 
  • Long odds – Long odds offer bigger payouts but provide more risk than short odds. The underdogs or outsiders will have long odds. 
  • Short odds – Short odds are on the horses with a better chance of winning. Short odds don’t mean a horse is the favourite. However, short odds mean a horse could pull off a win. 

Major horse racing events

Daily races occur around the world at various racetracks. Sports betting websites offer odds on daily races. Horse racing bettors will wager on the daily races, but it is the major events and festivals that attract the most fans. Major horse racing events take place throughout the year from Honolulu to Hong Kong. The big festivals have plenty of buildup and bookmakers offer bonuses for the events for new and existing customers. 

  • Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest race in American Thoroughbred horse racing. The race is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky every May. It is the first leg of the American Horse Racing Triple Crown. The race has a prize purse of over €3 million.

  • The Grand National

The Grand National is the biggest race in the UK. Aintree Racecourse is the site of the famous race, which is held in March or April. It is the world’s most prestigious steeplechase. 

  • Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day racing event held annually in March. Its headline event is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is held on the final day of the festival. 

  • Irish Champion Stakes

Held in September at Leopardstown, the Irish Champion Stakes is the biggest race meeting in Ireland. The race debuted in 1976. It has attracted the best of the best in Irish horse racing ever since.

Horse racing betting tips

There are a few simple steps to improve your chances of picking a winning horse. The most important tip is to study the horses’ form ahead of the race. Rather than bet on the race favourite, research your selection’s recent results and performances at the racetrack before placing a wager. 

Head-to-head results provide insight into a horse’s performance. If your selection has struggled against the competition in the past, you may not want to back it.

The racetrack can play a pivotal role in the outcome of a race. A horse’s previous performance may dictate whether it will perform well. Not all races have the same distance. A horse may not be experienced at a certain length. Understanding the course and length can help choose a winner.

The track’s going, or surface can also play a part in the outcome. A horse that struggles on soft turf may be slowed down, while a horse that excels in soft conditions could thunder to the win. 

Jockeys don’t often receive a lot of love from racing experts. Yet, a good jockey and make a good horse even better. The best trainers often churn out winning horses. Learning about the trainers and their previous successes can help pick a winner.  

FAQ betting on horses

Do horse races take place every day?

You will find horse races daily around the world. Bookmakers will provide odds on daily races from the UK, Ireland, Europe, Asia, and North America. Horse racing is a sport that doesn’t stop. There are always races taking place somewhere. 

What is a race card?

A race card has information about the horses competing in a particular race. You may receive a race card while attending a live racing event. A race card has useful information on all the horses running.

Do all betting websites offer live streams for horse racing?

Many betting websites have a live streaming platform for horse racing. You will need to place a wager on a race to view the stream, however. Very few bookmakers allow customers to watch the races unless they place a wager on them. 

What is jump racing?

Jump racing is a popular form of the sport. In jump racing, the horses will race around a course featuring hedges, fences, or obstacles. The horses must leap over the jumps and race to the finish line.

What is flat racing?

Flat racing is a form of the sport in which horses race on a flat surface. The races are often shorter and focus less on stamina and more on speed. The Kentucky Derby is an example of a flat race. 

How long is a furlong?

A furlong is a common measurement in horse racing. It is a total of 201.17 metres. Moreover, 4.97 furlongs are equal to one kilometre.