If you're not a racehorse owner, trainer or a jockey, the reason for horse racing being part of your
life is more than likely to have a bet, with the intention of collecting some winnings.
Betting figures and amounts wagered on horse racing vary significantly depending on the quality
of the actual race in question, the attendance at a meeting, the type of race (ie handicap/maiden),
or even rumours circulating. There are many variables, but even some of the lower ranked races in
Britain and Ireland could generate £500,000 on the betting exchanges. Betting on the track would be
significantly less - in fact, if an on-course bookmaker managed to cover his expenses for the day at a
low-key meeting, he may travel home a happy man.
Some of the high profile races such as the English Derby, could see as much as £4 million matched
on the exchanges. Again, lots of variables come into play. High Street bookmaking firms wouldn't
take anywhere near that amount, but they offer in play betting odds designed to make them a profit no matter
what the result, whereas betting exchanges offer a better price because it's a person-to-person
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What is live inplay horse racing betting?
Most betting on a horse race takes place in the few minutes just prior to a race beginning. That's the
optimum time when all conditions are known, the form has been studied exhaustively, and perhaps
you've even watched your fancy in the parade ring and making their way down to the start. You
know the weather, the state of the ground, the form of the jockey, and the form of the trainers'
other horses. All factors should be clear at this stage, enabling you to wager your hard-earned cash
on the best possible chance available to you.
However, despite knowing all this, some uncontrollable variables can still scupper your chances
of collecting a few quid. What if your choice is slowly away once the starter has opened the stalls or
let the tape fly? Your horse will lose vital ground at the beginning of the race and could have thrown
away all chances of passing the finishing line first (especially in a short flat race). What if your horse
falls at the first hurdle or fence? What if the jockey’s saddle slips after just a few yards have been
travelled? All your hard work in making your choice is lost. And so is your money.
One way to avoid these unpredictable and innumerable factors is to bet in-running. That is to wait
until the race has begun, and take what odds are available on whatever runner looks the most likely
However, another problem lies in wait in that most bookmaking firms don't provide an in-running
option. Most do offer after-the-off betting, but that is only available for up to a maximum of 30
seconds after the horses have started the race. It is not great, but better to have your cash in your
hand rather than a betting slip containing the name of the horse that refused to come off stall
number six, than be cursing your luck having lost your wager.
Once the race has begun, all the aforementioned starting variables are removed, and you're more
likely to receive better value for your money. That said, you're also going to get slightly skinnier
odds. Betting exchanges such as Betfair offer the best outlet for in-running betting.
As soon as your race has begun, odds will be posted. You're likely to get offered prices very similar
to that of the last show before the race began (starting price). As the race progresses, the prices will
change to reflect what is happening in the race. The runner that refused to leave his stall will be
offered at 1,000/1, whereas the front-runner who is cruising with a lead of 25 lengths with a furlong
to run will be 1/100, and every horse in between will be available to back at various prices.
The warning (and it is a big warning too) with this kind of betting surrounds television coverage. It
can be delayed by seven or eight seconds, or even more depending on what services the punter
is using. That means, what is happening on your television at home may not be reflective of the
prices you are being offered on your computer. The prices being offered could be by people at the
racetrack, watching the race live inplay and know that the 25-length leader has already fallen at the
last. More on this caveat later.
Where can I find live horse racing betting markets?
In-running betting on horse racing is generally not offered by internet bookies due to time
constraints on the duration of the race, and they'd need a trader to watch a race and update prices
on a virtual second-by-second basis. Most bookmaking chains offer an 'after-the-off' option, but that
will generally only last for up to 30 seconds on a long National Hunt race, and just a few seconds on a
For comprehensive in-running betting, Betfair, or any other betting exchange for that matter,
provides the best platform. Betfair is probably the best due to the high numbers of users on the site
and the low minimum stakes, and that will generally lead to a fairer price based on the events on
On the exchanges, the markets the punter is most likely to encounter are win market, and a place
market (places will vary from two, three or four runners depending on the type of race and the
number of runners).
Why does live betting work well with horse racing?
The scenarios where a horse is left at the start or falls at the start are removed if you only bet in-
running. You can then use your judgement to place the bet you think has the best chance of being
landed and once the uncontrollable variables have been removed.
Live inplay betting sites work well with racing, especially jumps racing due to the length of time
available for a punter to place their bet. In fact, most sports are amenable to in-running betting,
especially football, which allows 90 minutes of wagering to take place on a wide range of markets.
What live betting markets are available?
Online bookies generally don't offer in-running betting on horse racing, but on the exchanges, it is
widely offered and very popular. For a horse race, there is generally only two markets available - to
win, and to be placed.
But on other sports, many markets are open for trading. In soccer games, for example, there will
be markets (on exchanges and with bookmakers) on which player will score the next goal, handicapbetting, to win the game, team to score etc. Other sports offer in-depth specialised markets
exclusive to their sport.
Live horse racing betting strategies and tips
There are no real strategies or surefire ways of making a profit. Betting inplay can be a very tricky
task as you are relying on split second judgement to read a situation correctly. It can take quite a lot
of practice to perfect your technique so perhaps the best tip for beginners at betting in-running is to
take it slow. Don't gamble large amounts and be prepared to make mistakes and lose money. Get
yourself familiar with your betting medium and their webpage layout, i.e. Betfair, and know how to
quickly place your bet. The quicker you can get your bet on, the more chance you have of proving
your judgement is absolutely spot on.
Shorter races are more difficult due to time constraints, so that makes longer National Hunt races
more attractive as they are easier to judge with more time to place your bet.
Live horse racing streaming
Most top online bookies sites provide live streaming of many weird and varied sporting events from
every part of the world, all of which will provide you with ample opportunities for betting in-running.
However, time delays can cause havoc with your betting. Betting in-running is utterly dependent on
live streaming. If possible, watching a race absolutely live is a major asset - something not possible
through streaming or even television pictures where there is always a slight delay. Nothing beats
being at the venue and watching events unfold before your very eyes.
Not all streams are live, and even ones that claim to be live, are probably delayed by anything up
to 10 seconds (some could be delayed by minutes), depending on the source of the pictures.
That all draws the conclusion that anyone who is actually attending the event, or race meeting,
has a distinct advantage. The person at the track, has already seen a horse fall and prices the horse
accordingly, while the armchair viewer at home is watching delayed pictures and is not aware that
their choice has fallen when placing their bet. It's a savage world in which the gambler plies their
trade! Whilst streaming is readily available amongst most major internet bookmakers, take into
account the inevitable delay when streaming the race.
Horse racing spread betting explained
Spread betting takes straight betting to another level. In standard betting, you bet on a certain
outcome to happen or not to happen, and you win or lose a set amount. In spread betting, you have
to predict how far someone will win by, or lose by, according to the parameters set down by the
internet bookmaker. The amounts you can win or lose are much bigger. The more you are correct,
the more you win; the more you get it wrong, the more you lose.
The spread can be defined as a range of results which the online bookies thinks is the most likely
outcome. The punter then decides what they think will be the most likely result compared to the
bookmakers' opinion. The punter buys (goes low) or sells (goes high) on the spread. When buying,
you know your maximum loss - the biggest number in the spread multiplied by your unit stake.
Horse racing markets tend to involve winning distances, although performance betting (for horses,
trainers and jockeys) is also available.
Spread betting is a risky business and it is very easy to expose yourself to huge losses. Punters mustmake themselves very aware of all potential outcomes and ensure they completely understand
spread betting before getting involved. However, on the flip side, get it right and it can become an
extremely profitable form of betting.
For more information on spread betting check out one of the top spread betting sites at
sportingindex.com. You can sign up to a tutorial and receive a practice account to perfect your
techniques and realise how volatile yet rewarding spread betting can be.