Horse Racing Betting Guide

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  • The Free Horse Racing Betting Guides Library A definitive resource for all your handicapping needs. Guides, definitions, strategies, basic and core. Newcomers to betting and hard core horse players with custom database strategies, all can find useful information to further your game here.
  • This is the simplest way to bet in horse racing. Win = If the horse you bet wins the race, you win money. This bet is only split among those that have bet the winner. Place = If the horse you bet wins the race or finishes second, you cash a ticket. This bet is split among those that have bet the winner or second place finisher.

Betting on a horse race for the first time — even the first few times — can be an intimidating endeavor. What are all of these options? Here’s all the lingo you need to know before you place your first bet:

The Basics

Winbet – A bet on a horse to finish first.


An online horse racing program is the internet version of the race card at the track and daily newspaper form guide. What does a horse racing program look like? We can refer to TVG. This is an online horse racing betting operator that features racecards, handicapping and bookmaker promotions.

Place bet – A bet on a horse to finish first or second.

Show bet – A bet on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

In the money – A horse that finishes first, second, or third.

Across the board – A bet on a horse to win, place, and show. If the horse wins, the bettor collects three ways; if second, two ways (place, show); and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. It’s actually three bets.

Morning line – The odds that the track handicapper predicts a horse will go off at.

Ready for the Next Step?

Exotic (bet) – Any bet other than win, place, or show that requires multiple combinations. Examples of exotic wagers are exacta, trifecta, Pick 6, Pick 4.

Daily Double (or Double) – Type of bet calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races.

Exacta – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

Box – A betting term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered for certain horses.

Exacta box – A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are selected. For example, an exacta box using horses 2,4,6 would produce a winning ticket if any two of those three horses finished first and second, regardless of the order (2-6, 4-2, 6-4, etc.).

Quinella – Bet in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

Trifecta – A bet in which the first three finishers must be selected in exact order.

Trifecta box – A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon.

Pick (6 or other number) – A type of multi-race bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 are commonly used by tracks in the United States.

Brush Up on Gambling Lingo

Bounce – A racehorse’s especially poor performance on the heels of an especially good one.

Chalk – Betting favorite in a race.

Horse Racing Betting Guide

Chalk player – Gambler who wagers on favorites.

Key horse – A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic bet.

On the board – Finishing among the first three.

On the nose – Betting a horse to win only.

Overlay – A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win. Professional bettors target overlays, meaning they target bets that offer better than fair value odds.

Underlay – A horse whose odds are less than than his potential to win. Betting horses whose odds are worse than fair value is a poor strategy.

Horse Race Wagering Guide

Parlay – A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on a succeeding race.

Speed Figure – A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against.

Wheel – Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.

Betting on horse racing can be overwhelming, but don’t worry if you haven’t got your head around everything just yet. Once you know how to read form from a racecard, it gets much easier to bet on horses and predict the chances of each runner in the race. All it takes is a little bit of time and experience.

In this article we’ll show you how to use the Winning Form site by Hollywoodbets to predict the results of future races, take you step-by-step through the process of reading a race card, and help you understand the other factors that help determine where a horse finishes in a race.

What is Winning Form?

Hollywoodbets first started in 1986 as a small publishing company named Winning Form that published and distributed race cards for the South African horse racing industry, and they still do to this day. Hollywoodbets, as you probably know, has long since expanded its operations into bookmaking and all sorts of betting both online and in betting shops around the country.

Winning Form produces horse racing form guides which you can find in betting shops in every province around South Africa, covering the biggest horse racing meets like Greyville, Turffontein, Kenilworth, Fairview and more. Winning Form also has an incredibly useful website which every horse racing punter should get to know if they don’t already use it. The site provides a detailed overview and betting tips for upcoming meetings and each individual race.

Horse Racing Betting Guide Pdf

The Winning Form Race Card

Information on the Winning Form site includes basic details about the race such as the venue, date and time. In addition, you also get valuable betting information which includes all the data you could ever want about each race, as well as a write-up introducing each race. Every race card includes the name of the horse, betting odds, total runs, course, distance, weight, jockey, trainer, as well as a predicted finish.

The Who’s Hot section of the site provides valuable information about jockeys riding at that day’s meeting. A rating is applied to each jockey based entirely on several criteria which takes into account the jockey’s previous 30 rides at all courses, broken down into the number of winners, seconds and thirds, with win and place percentages.

In the Predictions section of the Winning Form site, you can find a betting tip for each upcoming race. If you don’t have time to read the full racecard, this is a great place to come for a quick and easy betting tip on the day’s races. Why not let the experts do all the hard work for you!?

Winning Form’s Magic Tips

Under the Magic Tips section you get a breakdown of all the day’s races with each horse given a 1-5 star rating depending on their chances in the race. Here will you also find the Top Bet for Today and the Value Bet or Today. The Magic Tips also provide betting tips for each race on the card, as well as tips on;

  • Top Bet for today
  • Value Bet for today
  • Pick 6
  • Jackpot
  • Place Accumulators

Winning Form Tips

Winning Form also brings some of the hottest horse racing betting tips to the Hollywoodbets blog each week. So keep an eye out for these! Their writers cover meetings from all over South Africa as well as the UK and other international races including the Royal Ascot, Cheltenham and Grand National. The Winning Form tips on the Hollywoodbets blog have been on fire lately, so don’t forget to check them out and hopefully you can bag a few winners yourself!

Using a racecard to place bets

Form refers to the record of a horse’s performance in previous races and is used by punters to predict what will happen in the next race. There are a number of different factors which contribute to a horse’s overall form. Where a horse placed in their last few races is very important, but to see the whole picture you’ll have to dig a little deeper.

Just like you can’t always expect to predict a soccer match based on past results aloneteam lineups, home team advantage, and H2H also countyou also shouldn’t handicap a horse race without considering all the factors. A lot of the information you need is on the racecard, but some of it you might have to look for online on the Winning Form site or websites like Tab Online and the NHRA. All of these sites have the latest racing results, plus statistics on horses, jockeys, trainers and more to help you make more informed bets.

How to read a racecard

Before you can evaluate form and decide which horse you want to bet on to win the race, you need to be able to read a racecard. Here you can find valuable information about the past results of each horse competing plus a whole lot more about them to help your betting. There are lots of numbers and letters on a racecard which can be hard to understand at first. We’ll help you learn what these mean so you can read horse racing form like a champ!

Form runs from left to right, with the oldest races on the left and the most recent on the right.

  • Numbers 1-9 means the exact position the horse finished
  • Number 0 means the horse finished outside the Top 9
  • The symbol ‘ ’ separates racing seasons. Numbers before the ‘ – ‘ are for last season
  • The symbol ‘ / ’ means a longer gap, for example if the horse missed an entire racing season
  • P or PU means the horse was ‘pulled up’ by the jockey and did not complete the race
  • F means the horse fell
  • R means the horse refused to race
  • BD means the horse was brought down by another runner
  • N/R means the horse was a non-runner
  • U or UR means the horse unseated its jockey
  • C means the horse has won on that course before
  • M means the horse is a maiden and therefore hasn’t won before
  • D means the horse has won over that distance before
  • CD means the horse has won over that course and distance before
  • W means the horse has won on a track rated slow or heavy before
  • BF means the horse was the race favourite but did not win

Which Form Matters?

As a horse racing punter, looking into a runner’s performance based on their previous results is only half the job done. You then need to decide which pieces of information are the most important in evaluating a horse’s chances in the next race. For instance, if you like a horse because they have winning form in their last 5 races, but they’ve struggled on soft going (ground) before, think carefully about betting on them if these are the track conditions they will face.

Race Class

Other handicapping factors you should also weigh up include the class of the race your horse is competing in. If the horse has won a few Class 4 races recently and now moved up to Class 3, you can expect a drop-off in performance relative to the field. What you will need to decide when making a bet, is whether the market has over or underestimated your horse’s chances against the raised competition. To use the soccer example again, you can’t expect a team just promoted from the Championship to the EPL to compete with the very best, at least for a while.

Distance and Running Style

Distance is another big one to consider when handicapping any horse race. Different horses prefer to run shorter or longer distances. Factors which determine what kind of distance a horse prefers include weight (lighter generally means speed but not always endurance) as well as the trainer as they control which races the horse is entered intomeaning it’s not only about ability but also race exposure to different distances. Tied into distance, you should also look at the running style of the horse to better predict how the race will break down to the finish line.

Chose the right Betting Markets

Only by comparing the form of different horses in the race with each other can you really make any informed decision about which runner is likely to win. A horse might have winning form going into their next race but if their competition has performed even better, their good results may not be as significant.

Placing your Horse Racing Bets

When it comes to form, all factors must be considered to understand how a horse performed in any given race and how they might be expected to perform in the future. That said, it also helps to decide which factors you will give the most weight to when you handicap any race. Base your handicapping on what you think will make the biggest difference on the day instead of giving each factor equal weight. It’s easy to get bogged down by too much information, so choose which you think are the most important factors in the race and make your final decision about which horse to back based on these alone.

  • Visit Winning Form for all the latest cards and information

We hope this detailed guide has helped you to learn and feel more confident about betting on horse racing. Good luck and happy punting! If you’d like to know more about online sports betting in South Africa please visit the Betting Guide home page.