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We will cover the current best online racebooks as well as betting tips for all major races worldwide.
Recommended Bookmakers for Horse Racing
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Horse racing in Britain offers the biggest variety of racecourses anywhere in the world, each with their own unique features. There are two distinct horse racing seasons in the UK, the flat racing from March through to November and the jump racing season from November back to the following March. The start and finish of these seasons has become blurred with the introduction of all-weather racing and summer jumping but the main focus of attention still follows the pattern established over many years, highlighted by the main festival meetings.
National Hunt RacingNational Hunt or Jump Racing revolves around the Cheltenham Festival meeting in March each year with the top racing stables from Britain and Ireland competing for the championship races over hurdles and fences. The top steeplechasers are aimed at the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the top hurdlers compete in the Champion Hurdle. There are championship races for all the different divisions from four-year-old novices through the Hunter Chasers.
The only jump meeting to rival Cheltenham is the Grand National meeting at Aintree. The National itself is still the most popular race in Britain with record amounts of money invested as forty runners do battle over four and a half miles and the stiffest fences in the country. The Grand National is a unique event and has been working hard to improve safety in recent seasons.
There are of course big prizes throughout the winter including the Hennessy Gold Cup, Welsh National and King George VI Chase. These are historic races in their own right and are often the targets of Gold Cup or Grand National contenders. National Hunt racing now continues throughout the summer but the bigger stables tend to keep a separate team of horses for these meetings. The ground is often no softer than good and their better horses are saved for the softer going and bigger prize money on offer in the winter months.
Flat RacingAll-weather racing means that racing continues on the flat all year round but the turf season begins in March and is still regarded by traditionalists as the start of the new season for real money horse race betting. All-weather racing has proved very popular but usually involves the lower grade or specialist dirt horses. The first major turf meeting is held at Doncaster with the Lincoln Handicap, a competitive one mile handicap.
The most important races of the season are the five classic races. These are the 1000 Guineas (three-year-old fillies), 2000 Guineas (three-year-old colts), The Oaks (three-year-old fillies), The Derby (three-year-old colts and fillies) and the St Leger (three-year-old colts and fillies). The previous season’s top two-year-olds reappear in the trial races in the spring and there is always a busy ante-post betting market on all the classic races. In 2012, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien came close to a clean sweep of all five classics but was denied when Camelot was beaten into second place in the St Leger.
The biggest meeting on the turf is Royal Ascot, which attracts some of the best horses from around the world. In 2012 Australia’s unbeaten mare Black Caviar made the journey over to contest the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and won by a narrow margin in front of a sell-out crowd. The last flat racing season was dominated by Frankel who was the highest rated racehorse in the world and won the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting by eleven lengths. He went on to win his fourteenth and final race in the Champion Stakes at Ascot and retired to stud unbeaten.
There are festival meetings throughout the summer at York, Newmarket, Goodwood and elsewhere as the best horses compete for Group 1 prizes. The top international prizes are the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France and the Breeders’ Cup meeting in the United States. European trained horses have been increasing in number for the Breeders’ Cup and have been proving particularly successful in the turf races. They have also been enjoying success in Australia with French-trained horses winning the last two Melbourne Cups.
Betting on Horse RacingThere are no hard and fast rules about betting on horse racing but it pays to follow the sport closely if you intend to make it pay. This way you will acquire a greater knowledge of the sport, familiarise yourself with the top trainers and jockeys and find your own particular method for betting.
Good recent form is often a great starting point and you need to be aware of the other factors that can influence the outcome of a horse race. These include the going (some horses prefer extremes of going i.e. soft or firm), the distance, the track and the draw. You will also need to understand the handicapping system where horses are weighted in terms of ability so that, in theory, they all have an equal chance. There are often good betting opportunities where rapidly improving horses can run up a sequence of wins. Below are our recommendations for the best racebooks online, offering good coverage of the major races, very good odds and in general; very established and trustworthy sportsbooks.