This site contains commercial content

How To Bet On Horse Racing Specials

Betting on horse racing has become more than just betting to win or place. With bookmakers competing for your cash, they’re offering more and more horse racing betting markets that can lead to some profitable betting angles. In this article we take a look through some of the most popular horse racing derivative markets and explaining how they work on horse racing specials.

How To Bet On 'Match Bets'

Match bets are one of the most popular horse racing derivatives around. They’re really simple. The bookmaker chooses two horses that are close in the betting to get as close and as difficult to solve match bet as possible. As a result, you could have two horses priced 4/1 (5.0) and 9/2 (4.50) in the win bet market, but 4/5 (1.80) each of two in the match bet market.

The attractive thing about the match bet market is that you only need your selection to beat the other. It doesn’t matter if they finish second last and last, so long as your selection comes out on top.

Now here’s the thing. Some bookmaker’s base their match bet options on how close two horses are in the betting. Sometimes they ignore their respective run styles and focus on the betting markets. This gives us punters an opportunity to beat the bookmaker. For example:

Horse A is 4/1 (5.0) and Horse B is 5/1 (6.0) in the win market. The bookmaker offers you Horse A at 4/5 (1.80) and Horse B at Evens (2.0) in the match bet market. As far as the bookmaker is concerned, he’s done his job and has got a competitive looking match bet. However, we’ve done some research into the two horses and realised that Horse A is a confirmed runner, whilst Horse B likes to come from behind. We also notice that Horse A is likely to get taken on for the lead.

Now, considering we know Horse A is going to use up much of his energy battling for the lead, and Horse B will be strong in the finish. It would be fair to assume Horse B has a better chance of finishing ahead of Horse A. In this case, we take the Even money on Horse B. Remember, we only need to beat Horse A if we have backed Horse B.

Considering a horses run style and how it finishes its races is critical in the match bet. If we know Horse A is tenderly ridden when it loses the lead, we know it’s worth opposing.

How To Bet On 'Betting Without'

One of the oldest derivatives available, betting without simply removes the favourite from calculations. This bet can become interesting when there’s a short price favourite. If it’s 8/11, 7/1, 8/1, 10 BAR (1.73, 8.0, 9.0, 11.0 BAR) – betting without the favourite becomes far more interesting.

There are several factors to consider when betting without. Is your horse the likeliest to take on the fancied favourite? If it is, is it reasonable to expect that it may suffer the most from trying to follow the fractions of the best horse in the race?

For example, Nichols Canyon was a 7/2 (4.50) chance against Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle. He took Faugheen on throughout the race whilst Arctic Fire, an 8/1 (9.0) poke was held up behind the pair. Nichols Canyon paid the price for attempting to take on Faugheen and as a result finished his race the worst with Arctic Fire picking up the pieces. In this case, Nichols Canyon was much shorter than Arctic Fire in the betting without and match bet markets, but as we can see, the win odds can sometimes lead to incorrect conclusions.

Understanding how a race is likely to be run is critical in betting without the favourite.

How To Bet On 'Place Only'

Quite simply, the place only derivative pays out if your horse places or better. The number of places corresponds to the EW terms of the race. If there’s 5-7 runners, 2 places will be available. If there are 8 to 15 runners, 3 places will be available and so on.

Place only is a form of insurance, but remember if you end up backing the winner to place only, you still get paid out at the same odds as if he finished second or third. Place only can be a fun and attractive market in bigger fields with horses priced much bigger in the betting. Conversely, you might like to bet the second favourite to place 2 in an 8-runner field if you fancy him to run the favourite close, but would like to be paid out if he finishes second.

Make sure you always check the place terms before you bet. If you bet place 2 in an 8 runner race, you won’t get paid out if the horse finishes third.

How To Bet On 'Insurance Specials'

Similar to the place only derivative, an insurance market offers a concession should your horse finish second or third – remember, place terms apply. An insurance bet will refund your full stake as real cash if your horse finishes second or third. If your horse wins, you get paid out as a winner!

The bookmaker offers you slightly lesser odds should your horse win and you bet in the insurance market. For example, if the horse is 2/1 (3.0) in the win market, the bookmaker may offer 7/4 (2.75) in the insurance market. However, unlike the win market, you get all your cash back if your horse finishes second or third.

You get better odds the fewer places you bet. For example, in a 10-runner race, your horse may be 2/1 to win the race in the main win market. If you bet Insurance 2, you may be offered 13/8 (2.63), if you bet insurance 3 you may be offered 5/4 (2.25) should it win. The bookmaker takes his margin, but it offers you that security – especially if you’re betting against fancied runners.

How To Bet With 'Faller Insurance'

A faller insurance is a popular option for punters throughout the National Hunt season. If your horse is known to be a little sketchy at its jumps, you can bet faller insurance. If your horse falls, you get your money back as real cash. Again, the bookmaker takes his margin and offers you lower odds for the win – perhaps 5/4 (2.25) instead of 6/4 (2.50) in the main win market. However, this gives you a nice little security if you always seem to back a faller.

Remember to be careful though. If a horse unseats its rider, pulls up or runs out, your bet will be a loser. If the jockey falls off and the horse does not fall, your bet is a loser. The horse must physically fall to get your stake refunded. This can be a useful bet for horses such as Un De Sceaux who are phenomenal, but prone to falling. If he crashes through the second last, you get your stake back. Winner!

How To Bet On ‘Jollies v Rags’

This is an interesting derivative market offered by some bookmakers. As the title implies, you’re betting on several horses against each other, a little like a match bet.

For example, the jollies could be the first and second favourite and the rags the rest of the 7 runner field. If you bet on the jollies and either the first or second favourite win, you’re a winner! If you bet on the rags and any of the five outsiders win, you’re a winner!

This can be a fun bet to have with several horses running for you at once. It’s one of the harder derivatives to win with, but it certainly offers an interesting angle into many races.

How To Bet On 'Winning Distances'

One of the oldest horse racing specials is the winning distances market. In this derivative, you can bet on the total winning distances of the winners across an entire meeting. The bookmaker may offer you a particular set of distances such as 7.5 lengths or under, 8 lengths to 16 lengths or 17 lengths or more.

Each distance has a price and it’s your decision what you think the total set of winning distances will be. There are many interesting angles to consider when betting on the winning distances. Are there small fields? Are there lots of strongly fancied favourites? Are there long distance races? What’s the ground like?

Considering these factors are important. If the card is made up of predominantly sprint trips, it’s unlikely to see huge winning distances. Conversely, if the card is full of long-distance races on bad ground, you may see some facile successes. It can be a fun bet to have and it gives you an interest in every single race – regardless of who wins it. 

Read more bettingexpert Horse Racing guides