Fundamentally horse racing is the same around the world. Horse, jockey, start in unison and see who can cross the line first. It’s all straightforward, right? Wrong, there are hundreds of variables. Race distances can vary from just one furlong for horse racing in the USA – where horses can reach speeds of 55mph (88kph) – through to four-mile two-furlong steeplechases in the UK where the average speed will be much slower!
No two race tracks are identical, far from it. In the United States, they are generally oval, and races are staged left-handed (or anti-clockwise), but Hong Kong races are right-handed. Australia, Ireland, and the UK have very few oval tracks, and most flat races consist of one bend and not two.
Next up surfaces: Dirt, Cushion Track, Synthetics such as Polytrack, Fibresand and Tapeta, traditional grass, and even sand. That’s right, in Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, and Spain, races are sometimes staged on a beach when the tide is out.
What’s left? Ah, jumps racing. From hurdles to chase fences, cross country races (an Italian and French thing), and even lake races. They all exist and are all popular in their home country. In case you are wondering… yes, in some races, horses have to swim through a lake and are a specialty in Germany.
No two racetracks are alike. But what about the betting options? Thankfully there is some continuity when it comes to horse racing betting. There is no recognized horse racing anywhere globally that does not feature a tote or pari-mutuel system for placing pooled win bets.
American vs. UK Betting
Enter the next oddity. In North America, there are ‘place’ and ‘show’ options allowing for a section to finish in the first two or three. The Brits have each-way betting, which still sees half a bet stake placed ‘to win’ and the other half ‘to place’, what’s more, that is a ‘UK bookmaker’ thing, and America, France, Sweden, Norway et-al do not have on-course bookmakers like Australia, Ireland, and the UK.
Americans may have daily double bets and superfectas, but they are only on designated horse races. With your UK betting tips can double-up any two horses in any two-horse races at any two race meetings. Suffice to say; they have a far better deal than their American cousins. Even simple win bets are a delight to deal with.
Odds & Complex Bets
As a bettor in the UK, I can use the Tote (very few serious gamblers do) to place a winning bet. I can do the same at fixed odds with an online bookmaker. I can also place a bet at an official starting price (odds of return), use a betting exchange where I will be gambling against fellow gamblers, and even place a spread-bet, a stock-market style performance index the better my selection performs, the more I will win.
Exchange & Spread Bets
Exchange and spread betting also allow people to oppose horses and lay bets on the ones they believe will perform poorly. It may seem a lot to take in, but gambling on horse racing in the UK is as old as horse racing itself – do consider the first Derby was staged in 1780!
In Ireland, betting shops, an equivalent of OTB’s or TAB’s in Australia, became legal in 1931, which’s 30 years ahead of the UK and a long time before betting away from the racetrack was permitted in most countries.
Do Your Homework
Over time all sorts of complex bets have become accepted into the betting culture in these countries. How many other jurisdictions have tote bets like a Placepot or Scoop6 while UK bookmakers will accept exotic multiple bets with names such as a Lucky 15, Round-Robin, Flag, Heinz, or Trixie? The airplane followed by the TV and more recently the Internet have made the world a smaller place, and in time things will become more uniformed as a result.
But if you don’t have a few hundred years for betting to be streamlined and uniformed, our advice is: Do some geo-specific homework on the countries where you are betting on racing even before considering track design, surfaces, distances, race types, and all those other variables.
If you are interested in even more entertainment-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.