Beginner’s Guide to Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing is one of the world’s most popular sports to bet on, right up there with the likes of boxing and football betting. After all, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of watching two horses go neck and neck as they race towards the finish line. Pretty much every top bookie offers horse racing markets, but we’ve put together a carefully curated a list of the New Zealand’s very best horse racing betting sites. Whether you’re looking for the most generous bonuses, the highest quality live streams or support for PayPal payments, our list of the best sports betting sites has got you covered.
While you could place your bets at random and hope that luck is on your side, we recommend getting familiar with horse racing and the markets offered at the top online betting sites before you place your first wager. To help you get started, we’ve got the low down on everything you need to know about betting on horse racing, from the biggest events to backing a winner. Let’s get to it.
Bet on these top horse racing events
There are horse racing events pretty much all year round, so a betting opportunity is never far away. It’s the biggest events that attract the most bettors, and with plenty of major festivals across the world, racing fans are spoilt for choice. Let’s take a look at a few of the top events:
Famously known as “the fastest two minutes in sports”, the Kentucky Derby has a $3 million purse and attracts a huge 150,000 spectators. It’s the most prestigious race in the US, making up the “triple crown” along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The 2019 Kentucky Derby saw a huge upset as 65/1 outside Country House won after second favourite horse Maximum Security was disqualified. Country House had the second highest odds of any Kentucky Derby winner.
England’s richest and most prestigious race, the Epsom Derby is a Group 1 flat horse race that usually takes place on the first Saturday of June. The 2020 derby was slightly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was unexpectedly won by 25-1 shot Serpentine.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
One of Europe’s most prestigious horse races, this event sees thoroughbreds compete on a 1.5 mile track. Also known simply as the Arc, the €5 million prize pool makes this the world’s second richest turf race after the Everest.
2019 favourite Enable, priced at 8/11, narrowly missed out on being the first horse to win three consecutive Arcs, placing second to 16/1 outsider Waldgesit.
The Grand National
The Grand National is one of the UK’s biggest races, as people across the country tune in to watch the contestants battle it out for a chunk of the £1 million prize money. This four mile race features 30 fences, making it one of racing’s most challenging courses.
While the 2020 Grand National was cancelled, the 2019 Grand National was won by 4/1 favourite Tiger Roll. It was the first Grand National won by the favourite horse since the 2008 edition was won by Comply or Die.
Easily the top horse race in Australia – and the biggest betting event in New Zealand – the Melbourne Cup is a handicap race run over two miles. Held annually in November, this event attracts over 100,000 spectators and has a purse of A$8 million.
New Zealand Derby
Always a major event in the nation’s racing calendar, the New Zealand Derby sees three-year-olds compete at the iconic Ellerslie Racecourse. The prize purse is $1 million, making it one of the most lucrative races in New Zealand.
These races are just a few of the many top events that take place annually around the world. Other important dates include the New Zealand Cup, England’s Royal Ascot, and Cheltenham, to name just a few. It’s not just the major festivals you can wager on, either. A huge number of smaller races take place throughout the year, so you’ll never have to wait long to place your next wager.
Follow these tips for making sensible horse racing bets
It’s fair to say that deciding who to back when you bet on horse racing isn’t always straightforward. Whereas most sports feature just two teams or competitors per match, some races can feature 40 horses, which can make picking a winner a little tricky.
Of course, you could always follow the odds and side with the bookies’ favourite, but with so many possible scenarios in each race, this is far from a guarantee. Races often throw up surprising results – 2019 saw many upsets, from Country House’s stunning Kentucky Derby victory to 66/1 outside Croco Bay winning the Grade 3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham festival.
On top of that, horse racing betting odds are notoriously volatile and prices can change just moments before the start of a race, so the smart money is placed after you’ve done your research. Recent form, ground type, pedigree and jockey are just a few factors you should consider when deciding which runner to put your money on.
As with any sport, keeping up to date and actually watching horse races will always help develop your understanding. There are also countless number of horse racing betting tips online, which can be helpful, but remember that no tip can guarantee a winning bet. Our top tip is to build up your own knowledge of horse racing and pay close attention to the important statistics to help make the best-informed bets possible.
Wager on a range of horse racing betting markets
If you think that horse racing betting simply consists of backing a winner, think again. Although single bets are still the most popular wagers, there’s plenty of betting opportunities on offer at horse racing betting sites. These are some of your options:
- Each way – This is one of the most common horse racing bets and consists of two parts – the ‘win’ and the ‘place’. This means that you’re betting on a horse to either win or finish in a place, such as second or third. An equal stake is placed on each part, and it means that you can still make some returns even if the horse you’ve backed doesn’t come first.
- Place only – This is a simple bet on a horse to finish in one of the places, either first, second, third or fourth, depending on how many runners are in the race. Place bets are one of the safest horse racing wagers, but the odds are generally a lot shorter than those offered on other markets.
- Forecast, tricast – Forecast bets involve predicting who will come first and second in a race, and in what order. If you want to go one better, you can try your hand at a tricast bet and predict the top three.
- Reverse forecast, reverse tricast – Some sites also offer reverse forecast and tricast markets, where you pick the top two or three but don’t have to specify placing order.
- Double, treble – These are multiple bets where you bet on a number of horses to win separate races – two for doubles, three for trebles and so on. A multiple bet with at least four selections is a horse racing accumulator. You need all your selections to come in to win, though some horse betting sites let you cash out before all the races have finished.
- Trixie – A trixie is a multiple bet and is wagered on three horses across three races. You’re placing four bets in total – three doubles and a treble. Two of your horses need to win in order to bank some returns.
- Patent – This is essentially a trixie bet but with three added single bets, so altogether you’re placing seven bets. The single bets mean that only one selection needs to win for you to make some returns, though this doesn’t guarantee a profit. The more winning selections, the higher your returns.
- Yankee – This is where it starts to get a little complicated. A yankee is another multiple bet, but you’re betting on four horses. You’re placing six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold accumulator, so there are 11 wagers in total. Like a trixie, you need two to be right in order to win some money.
These bets only scratch the surface of horse racing markets, with plenty of other multiple bets on offer at horse betting sites. If you really feel like pushing the boat out, you could try out lucky 15s, super yankees, lucky 31s and heinzs. These bets become increasingly complex, so make sure you do your research before putting your money on the line.
Bet as the action takes place
Some of the best bookmakers allow punters to bet live in-play, or ‘in-running’, on horse racing. This means you can place your bets as the race takes place, adjusting your wagers accordingly. Live horse betting can provide plenty of excitement and even provide the opportunity to bag some favourable odds—-if you’re quick enough—-but make sure you pay attention!
While some races, like the famous Grand National in England, can last over ten minutes, many races take only a few minutes to complete. This means the odds are particularly volatile, so you’ll have to watch closely and place your bets quickly if you want to try your luck at live horse racing betting.
Compare the top horse racing betting bonuses
Horse racing is a favourite among bettors the world over, so it’s natural that horse racing betting sites offer welcome bonuses to attract new punters These are usually matched deposits or free bets, which reward you with a bonus fund once you make a qualifying deposit or wager. You can then use your bonus to bet on horse racing without dipping into your real money bankroll. Let’s take a look at some of the best betting offers available at horse racing sites:
Free bet offers award you with bonus bets when you make a qualifying bet, such as ‘bet $10 get $30 in free bets’. These are the most common betting bonuses.
These deals award welcome bonus funds worth a percentage of your first deposit, up to a certain amount. For example, a ‘$100% up to $100’ offer would net you a $50 bonus if you make a $50 deposit.
Make sure to check the bonus terms and conditions – terms like wagering requirements, minimum odds restrictions and win limits determine the true value of a bonus or free bet offer. It’s also fairly common for horse racing bets like forecast and tricast bets or system bets like trixies and yankees to be excluded from welcome bonuses.
Boost your bankroll with betting promotions
Due to the popularity of horse racing betting, many bookies also offer racing-specific bonuses that aren’t exclusive to new customers. These may be in the build up to a big event, such as the Melbourne Cup, but many sites also have regular promotions that can be used to bet on smaller races. Common bonuses include odds boosts, where you can get better prices on a selection, and money-back promotions, where you get back a portion of your stake if your bet loses.
Bet on horse racing on your smartphone
With many players preferring to set their stakes on their smartphone, it’s important to find a New Zealand sportsbook that offers a top mobile betting experience. Luckily, all the horse racing betting sites on our list have mobile optimised websites, which means you can place your wagers via mobile web browsers. However, if you’re looking for the best possible mobile betting experience, we’d recommend choosing a bookie that offers a native mobile app for iPhone and Android.
Mobile betting apps are the perfect way to bet on the go, as they make it faster and easier to navigate to your sportsbook and place your bets. They also come with the added benefit of push notifications to alert you to the hottest new horse racing betting bonuses and promotions. That means you’ll never have to worry about missing out when you bet on horse racing on a mobile app!
Bet on Horse Racing at New Betting Sites
You don’t have to sign up to a well known brand to bet on horse racing – you’ll find racing markets at all the best new sports betting sites as well. In fact, some of 2021’s top new bookies, such as Black Type, specialise in horse racing, and might even provide an even more complete betting experience.
New horse racing betting sites often offer particularly generous bonuses to entice new players, as well as having the latest sports betting technology, so they’re definitely worth checking out. Our list of the top horse racing betting sites in New Zealand features both the top new and established brands, so you can easily compare the finest sites on the market.
Banking options at horse racing sportsbooks
New Zealand’s best sports betting sites offer a range of deposit and withdrawal methods, but the available banking options aren’t the same at every site. For example, while all bookies offer debit card banking, other methods like PayPal and Poli aren’t quite as widely available.
Wondering how to deposit at horse betting sites? Follow these simple steps:
Head to the cashier and select your preferred deposit method.
Enter the amount you wish to deposit and hit confirm.
Your deposit will be processed instantly.
Don’t forget to read up on the banking terms and conditions as well. Checking the minimum and maximum limits will help you find the sportsbook that’s best suited to your budget. Keep the withdrawal times in mind as well, particularly if you want fast access to your winnings – some of the top horse racing betting sites offer fast payouts to e-wallets like PaylPal and Poli.
- Withdrawals can be as quick as 24 hours
- E-wallets are free to sign up to
- Some e-wallets can be excluded from certain bonuses
- Depositing and withdrawing funds to and from your e-wallet may incur transaction fees
Getting started at a horse racing betting site
Follow these four simple steps to get your horse racing betting account up and running.
Use our carefully selected list to compare current-date format = 'Y']’s top horse betting sites and find the perfect site for you. Our expert reviews cover you need to know, including bonuses, betting options and banking methods.
Follow the ‘claim bonus’ link on our list to take you to the bookie registration page. You’ll just need to provide a few details to sign up, and you may be asked to provide identity documents to verify your account after you’ve registered.
Head to the cashier, select your preferred payment method and complete your first deposit. Your deposit will be processed instantly, so you can start betting right away.
Time to place your first wager! You’ll find plenty of exciting betting markets at the top horse racing betting sites. Good luck!
Bet on Horse Racing Today
Ready to try your luck at the races? Look no further than our recommended best New Zealand sports betting sites to find your perfect bookie. Compare the top bonuses using our list, and check out our sportsbook reviews to get the lowdown on banking, odds and withdrawal times. Simply sign up to place your bets today!
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Your Questions Answered
Yes. All the horse betting sites we recommend are licensed, which ensures your account and finances are secure and that players have access to responsible gambling settings.
In most cases your bet would become void if your horse falls, meaning it’s a loss. However, some horse betting sites now offer “faller insurance”, which means you’ll get your stake back if the horse falls, unseats the jockey, or is brought down. However, this is usually only available for selected races, and bets may be priced at lower odds or have lower maximum bet limits than usual.
The starting price (SP) is the odds on a horse at the time a race begins. As odds often fluctuate in the build up to a race, many sites give punters the choice between the current odds or SP when placing a bet. If you choose the SP, you could get better or worse odds, depending on how they change. Most bookies also offer ‘best odds guaranteed’ promotions. This means that if a punter places a fixed odds bet and the SP offers better odds, the payout will be calculated using the SP.
Yes. Some of New Zealand’s best horse racing betting sites offer cash out, which is a great way to secure some profit or cut your losses. However, not all sportsbooks have this feature, so if you want to cash out, make sure you choose a top sports betting site that does.
Virtual horse races are computer-simulated races that are available to bet on at some online horse betting sites. The results of virtual horse races are determined by random number generator (RNG) technology, and you can bet on these races 24/7, which is one of the reasons they’ve become popular among punters.