Horse racing is one of the oldest spectator sports on the planet and, as its popular moniker The Sport of Kings implies, it is also one of the most respected. The nickname is thought to date from Tudor times and the British monarchy of the 16th century, and the royal connections continue to this day. Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II is well known for her love of racing, and attends Royal Ascot every year – and she won’t let official duties get in the way!
The absence of a horse racing track in Costa Rica has long been a bone of contention among both locals and the thousands of tourists who flock to the country every year. However, if there’s one thing we know in the online age, it is that the internet can make anything possible. From Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival in the UK to the Kentucky Derby in the USA, all the top races are streamed online. This has brought horse racing to a whole new audience – so here are some beginner’s tips for getting into the Sport of Kings – and Queens!
Types of racing
There are numerous different variations of racing, but to keep things simple, we will focus on the main traditional types, which are flat racing and national hunt racing. After all, what’s good enough for the Queen of England should be good enough for anyone.
Flat racing is the simplest of all – horses simply race on either a straight or curved circuit and the first past the winning post is the winner. In National Hunt racing there is the additional obstacle of hurdles, jumps and ditches to be negotiated.
Betting on the horses
There are some professional gamblers who make a living out of backing horses, but for the vast majority, placing a bet is simply part of the fun and a way to get fully involved in the experience. There are literally hundreds of sports betting sites where you can lay down a bet, and there are numerous factors to think about when choosing the best one – Horse Racing Betting USA provides a handy resource that goes into more detail and outlines some of the factors to bear in mind when choosing an online bookmaker for the first time.
Once you’ve chosen your race and chosen your bookie, the next thing is to choose your bet. The most straightforward kind of bet is to simply back your chosen horse to win. So if odds of 4/1 are offered and you bet $10, you will get your $10 stake back, plus $40. Many fans prefer to place an each-way bet. This means you get a reduced payout if the horse finishes second, third or sometimes fourth, depending on the race.
How to pick a winner
This is even more complicated than how to pick a bookmaker, and there is no simple answer. In short, the more you know about the horses and the track, the better you will get at predicting who will do well. Understanding form is the biggest factor, and that only comes with experience. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on one particular type of racing and build your knowledge before moving on to another.