Please Note: Our next race meeting is Monday 23rd May!

Betting on the gee-gees: a pastime as old as the hills and equally enduring

Online betting has become a cornerstone pastime in the UK. The British public has always enjoyed betting on the horses. So it’s not surprising that online betting on horse races has become a popular way to have fun, and maybe win a few pounds here and there too. This may not be news to you if you’re a regular at Ludlow, but if you are, you’ll also know that a significant slice of the racing audience discovered racing by attending their local Point-to-Point, where betting is really only a marginal part of the day’s entertainment. If you’re in doubt, see the enormous crowd at Bitterley this Saturday, and see just how few are betting as opposed to attending a large party. But having a bet allows you to become an owner of your horse for a brieg 10 minutes, without the cost of keeping it!

Today, with the National less than a fortnight away, we take a look at betting on horses online in the UK, and what everyone should know to have fun.

Horse Racing in the UK

Did you know that UK horseracing is the second-largest spectator sport? Many of our top races are considered critical social events, perfect to dress up and show off. Ludlow is a perfect place to show off the latest trends in country corduroy.

Horse racing actually dates back to 200 AD, where archaeological evidence suggests it started in Yorkshire.  The St Bartholomew’s horse fair in 1174 became the earliest known race-specific meeting, and it flourished under King Henry VII. By 1512, we see trophies being awarded, and the Kiplingcotes Derby in 1519 was one of the first all-race meetings on record. If you’ve not seen this wonderful throwback of a race, then you must. The winner of the 4 mile course receives £50, but the second takes home the entry money! The poor old Clerk of Course receives 25p in remuneration. Some things never change.

The famous Newmarket course was established in 1605 under James I, and it’s the first time we see records of betting, too – noblemen were putting down £100 a pop on their favourites. The Newmarket Gold Cup first ran in 1634. Steeplechasing joined the scene in the 1830s, and the Grand National joined the pack at Aintree in 1839.

So horse racing in the UK has a long and rich history, which Ludlow Racecourse is proud to be a part of – and where horses race, punters bet, too.

Tips for Online Race Betting

Do you remember your first bet? Like as not, it was in a betting shop, but there is a myriad of other channels to bet nowadays, not least online, through your PC, mobile or IPad.

As with all online betting, of course, not all sites are created equally. Before you put your hard-earned cash on a favourite, consider these factors.

  • Learn Your Races: Researching the races is as important as picking a good site. Race form is typically freely available, and will give you a wealth of information. This includes information on the horses and their past performance, their jockeys, how they’ve ranked previously, and the draw numbers for Flat races. Remember that different surfaces affect how horses run, and many horses perform better on certain tracks than others. Look at how well Venetia Williams’ horses tend to perform in the depths of winter, whereas many of Nicky Henderson’s horses move better on good ground. 
  • Vary your Bets: Traditionally, there are only 3 options in horse race betting. Win, place, or each-way. But many online bookmakers have developed more choices and ways to increase your betting potential, so try them all. The growth in football betting has forced many operators to offer more types of bet to encourage you to continue.
  • Know the Odds: Options for odds on bets will affect how likely you are to win, and what you win if you do. So shop around for odds you like, and check more than one site. Every site has its own betting offers.

As with all online betting, make sure you are looking for a site affiliated with the UK Gambling Commission, and which offers regular promotions, great customer service, and a variety of safe, established ways to pay. And importantly, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose. It may seem an obvious truism, but people chase their losses too often.

Online horse race betting is a fantastic way to have fun and open up the stable (pun fully intended) of ways you can bet online as a hobby. Race bettors often find the entire experience of getting to know horses and tracks immensely satisfying in itself – and the odd big win just makes it even sweeter! Are you keen to take your first steps with online horse betting today? Why not give it a try?

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