Racing Guide…

Horseracing has been at the heart of British popular and sporting culture for centuries and, for many, ‘having a flutter’ is key to the enjoyment of the raceday. A bet can make an already exciting race far more thrilling, backing your selection with cash and watching your chosen horse win is a great feeling.

Selecting your horse:

No one can tell you who is going to win any given race – follow your favourite trainer or jockey, pick your favourite colours, go with a quirky name or even your lucky number. Others however relay on studying a horse’s form. ‘Form’ simply refers to how well a horse has been doing recently. You can find this information in the racing section of your racecard. (A racecard is like a programme that you can buy at a course, listing all the information you need to know on the day’s runners.)

A good start when studying the horses form is to ideally pick a horse that has run well recently. This can be highlighted by lots of 1, 2 or 3s in its form figures. Beware of the letters U,F,P, which stands for Unseated, Fell and Pulled Up, you could be taking a risk.

Following a trainer or jockey can pay dividends, especially if they are in form or have a strong record at Cheltenham. But don’t expect just because you have heard of a jockey or trainer that they will – your favourite jockey can’t win every race he rides in!Arguably, the most popular way to select a horse is by the jockey’s silks. It takes no skill or knowledge, but has proven to be very profitable. If red is your favourite colour, then choose a horse whose jockey will be wearing red. It doesn’t have to be your favourite; it can be the right combination that takes your fancy.Then, of course, there is the grey factor. Who doesn’t like a grey horse? If that is your view then head to the Parade Ring before the race and look out for a gorgeous grey. Alternatively, do the same but pick out the best looking horse and put faith in its performance on the track to match its star quality in looks.

Ways to bet:

Once you have made your choice, it is time to actually put your money where your mouth is. There are three ways to bet, with the rails bookmakers (look for the big boards full of starting prices and the bookies shouting out various odds), in the Betfred Booking Shop (which is the same as any bookies in any town centre) or with totepool. There are tote windows available or staff roaming in the hospitality areas, and they won’t bite so if you need advice or help then just ask.


Bookmakers offer fixed odds so you can figure exactly what you stand to win before you bet. When betting at a course, there will be many bookies to choose from, so shop around to see who has the best odds on the horse you fancy. Many bookmakers will have a higher minimum bet than the Tote and they will usually offer far fewer types of bet, sometimes just ‘to win’ or ‘each-way’. To win is simple; your horse must come first. Each-way means you are placing two bets, one on your horse to win and one on it to be placed, which means finishing in the first two, three or four depending on the terms of the race. Typically, a horse must finish in the first three to be classified as being placed, but in larger fields it may well be that fourth is enough to get a winning bet. Remember, that an each-way bet involves two separate bets so if you are planning to spend £10 then ask for £5 each-way.
  • The number of the horse
  • The bet type
  • Your stake
You’ll receive a receipt that you will need to keep safe so you can use it to collect your winnings if things go your way.

Betfred Betting Shop:

If you are betting in the Betfred Betting Shop, you will have decide whether to take the odds at the time you are placing your bet or let it roll and accept the SP, the starting price that is on offer when the tapes goes up. If you are placing a bet with the tote, you don’t have that option. That is because the odds fluctuate depending how much money is staked on the race and on each particular horse.


There are totepool betting points throughout the racecourse. With the tote, you’re not betting against a bookie; your stake goes into a pool, and like the lottery, your win depends on how many other winning tickets there are. Fill in a form with your stake, the type of bet and your horse – minimum bet £2.

For all single race bets, you can simply call over the details of your selections at any Totepool betting position, by stating the following:

  • Your stake
  • The type of bet
  • Your horse number(s)
  • The race number
  • The race meeting
For example “A £5 toteexacta on horses 4 & 6 in race 2 at Ascot please.”

Be responsible:

Putting on a bet at the races is all part of the experience and we challenge anyone to not scream with frustration or delight as their horse approaches the winning line!

The secret, of course, is never to bet more than you can afford to lose. Stick to the plan – be it £2, £5, £10 or £20 per race don’t let success or failure affect that plan.


Tips from OLBG – The Sports Betting Community – sponsor the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. For more Cheltenham Tips and to share your thoughts on Cheltenham Festival betting visit