Sharpen your horse racing skills - Bet you’ll love SunBet’s Horseracing 101

Horse racing has been a source of betting for as long as horses have been racing. If you know what you're doing and can beat the odds, betting on the outcome of official horse races can be both entertaining and profitable. Sharpen your horse racing skills with SunBet’s Horseracing 101, providing a wealth of information to help you improve your odds, including guidance on what to look for and what tools can assist you at the track, as well as the mechanics of placing a bet, the different types of bets you can make, and your winning odds.

Betting Tips & How to Place a Bet

You can place bets on here are the lingo intel’s:

Let’s start with bet types:

Bet types: Choose the most appropriate race for you: "Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em," we say in poker. Although we don't have a fancy phrase like that in racing, the principle still holds true...sort of. The advantage of horse betting is that you can bet on your favorite horses.

  • Fixed Odds Place: Also a popular bet type, and one that customers generally like to take in multiples. It is betting on a horse to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in a race – The amount of places paid in a race is dependent on the amount of the number of runners. 5 to 7 runners will pay out 2 places. 8 to 13 runners will pay out 3 places. 14 or more runners will pay out 4 places.

    NB – Reserve runners do not count, and scratchings have an impact.
  • SP (Starting Price): SP, or Starting Price, refers to the price of the horse at the time the race starts. If betting is not available on a horse race (whether it is too early, or betting is being revised after a scratching, etc.), one can bet on a horse at SP. The return/winnings on the bet will only be established when the race jumps. There will be no fixed price on the bet. The bet will be settled at the fixed odds available on the horse at the time the race jumps.
  • Multiples: Allows punters to combine selections from more than one race in order to get a larger payout. When taking a multiple bet, all selections must win (if chosen to win) or place (if chosen to place) for the bet to be a winning bet.

    A multiple bet with 2 selections is called a double; 3 selections is called a treble; 4 selections is called a quad. Over and above those, there are ways to take a few multiples together in one bet. The ‘Yankee’, for example, is taking 4 horses and all the multiples one can get from those 4 selections (6 doubles, 4 trebles, and a quad – total of 11 bets). One can take a sport Yankee as well.
  • Open bets: ‘Open bets’ is a term used for Tote bets laid by bookmakers. A lot of the bets offered by the Totalisator (Saftote) are offered by us, and the dividend returned is the same, but is subject to limits.
  • Open Wins and Places: These are the same as betting on Fixed Odds wins and places. The punter is betting on the outcome of the race, by betting on horses to win, or to place. The major difference is that the price is not fixed. It is a pool bet, so all the money bet on the race (minus deductions) is divided amongst the holders of winning tickets, so the dividend is only known afterwards. Also, note that the tote only offers 4 places in races of 16 or more runners.
  • Swingers: Pick two horses to finish in the top 3 positions in a race. Swingers payout on the following results: 1st and 2nd – 1st and 3rd – 2nd and 3rd.

    In races with 5 horses, the Swinger only pays out 1st and 2nd. One can take more than 2 horses. For example, one can take 3 horses boxed to try and win all 3 options of the swinger. The bet will cost more money, however.
  • Exacta:Bet on the horses to finish 1st and 2nd in the exact (correct) order in a race. As for swingers, one can take more horses than just 2, to try and increase one’s chances of winning, with the bet, once again, costing more money.
  • Trifecta: Bet on the horses to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the exact (correct) order in a race. There are four ways to take a trifecta bet – namely: single, multi, roving (floating) or boxed.

    Single is simply to bet on the horses to come 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the exact (correct) order as described above. Multi is when one picks more than one horse for each finishing position. Roving means picking a horse that must finish in the 1st three, in any position, and picking other horses to make up the places. Boxed means to pick a number of horses (3 or more) but the 1st three must come from the horses chosen or the bet is a losing bet.
  • Quartet: Bet on the horses to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the exact (correct) order in a race. The different ways to take a quartet are the same as for the Trifecta, with one more place/position to be filled.
  • Scratchings: Horses are nominated a few days in advance of running a race. This means that their trainers enter them to run in a particular race. There is a declaration of the final field that will run the race, and the official race-card gets printed, betting comes out, etc. If a horse that is entered in a race is sick, has hurt himself, etc. that horse may be withdrawn/scratched from the race. If that is the case leading to the race-meeting taking place, and a reserve runner was included for that particular race, the reserve runner might take his place in the field.

    Scratchings might also happen quite late – on the way down to the start of the race, the racecourse veterinary might see something wrong with the horse, or he might injure himself in the starting gates, etc. He might also be declared to have been denied a fair start after the race is concluded and video evidence is reviewed. All of these are examples of ‘late scratchings. A scratched horse, depending on the odds, might cause deductions on winning bets on the other horses in the field.
  • Ante-post: Taking an ante-post bet means betting on a race where the final field of horses that are going to take part has not been declared yet. Ante-post betting is usually offered on big races such as the Durban July Handicap, The Johannesburg Summer Cup, and Cape Met. If one has a bet on a horse entered in a race like The July, and the horse is not in the final field, the bet becomes a losing bet.

    We also have guides to some of the basics of Horse Racing, whether you need to learn the lingo or some history or even what types of payment methods there are to put money into your account, but this article of Horse Racing education should get you up to speed.

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