How to Bet on Horses

Affectionately known as the ‘sport of kings’, horse racing is an integral part of the Australian sporting landscape and continues to grow in size and popularity every year.

Participants can attend the track to watch these glorious thoroughbreds in the flesh or enjoy the action from the comforts of their living room.

Betting on horse racing can be a highly enjoyable and lucrative experience and whether it’s the Melbourne Cup or a maiden in the bush, there’s nothing like the thrill of backing a winner! 

For the beginner looking to learn a little about how to bet on horses, it’s handy to have some information at your disposal before beginning your journey.

Makybe Diva with Glen Boss Melbourne Cup November 1 2005

Top Horse Racing Events In Australia

  1. Melbourne Cup - held annually since 1861, the race that ‘stops the nation’ is contested at the Flemington racecourse on the first Tuesday in November. It’s truly a global phenomenon these days with an increasing number of international runners trying to capture our great race.
  2. Cox Plate - Australia’s premier weight-for-age event is held at the twisting Moonee Valley circuit in late October. Mighty mare Winx created history with a fourth consecutive win in the race back in 2018.
  3. Victoria Derby - the Derby is a gruelling 2500m staying race for 3YO horses in Melbourne’s famed Spring Carnival and attracts a massive crowd to Flemington on the Saturday before the Cup.
  4. The Everest - modelled on the Pegasus World Cup in the US, this race has really captured the imagination of the Sydney racing public since its inception in 2017. Twelve slot holders fork out sizeable sums to pick their own runner to contest the 1200m sprint race at Randwick in October with $13 million in prizemoney on offer.
  5. The Championships - marketed as the ‘grand finals of Australian racing’, Sydney’s rebranded Autumn Carnival sees the best thoroughbreds in the country compete for massive prizemoney across two consecutive Saturdays in early April. Eight individual Group 1 races including the Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes form part of the spectacle.


Redzel The everest October 13 2018

What To Look Out For When Betting On Horses

Horse racing is conducted in Australia throughout the year with meetings available for betting on every day except Christmas Day.

The vast majority of racing in Australia is done on a flat grass surface, although there are a number of synthetic tracks also in operation. Racing over jumps is also popular but more limited, with a shorter season running through Autumn.

Tracks around the country are divided into three categories - metropolitan, provincial and country.

Aside from a horse’s pure ability, individual factors such as the track and weather conditions, assigned weight, race distance, jockey and trainer can all play a role in trying to analyse its prospects of success.


Winx hugh bowman apollo stakes feb 16 2019

Choosing Your Bet

There are a variety of different bet types available for the punter to choose from. These include:

  • Win - the horse must finish first for your bet to be successful.
  • Place - the horse must finish in the first three positions for your bet to be successful (in races with seven or fewer starters this number is reduced to two).
  • Exotics - these include bet types such as quinella (where you must pick the first two horses across the line in any order), exacta (where you must pick the first two horses across the line in correct order), trifecta (where you must pick the first three horses across the line in correct order) and First 4 (where you must pick the first four horses across the line in correct order). Another popular exotic option is the quadrella, where you must pick the winner of four nominated races at a meeting (often the last four races on the program).

When placing a Win or Place bet, punters thus have the option of choosing between a Fixed price (the price you see is the price you get) or a Tote based price (which won’t be determined until after the race has commenced).

Before placing a bet, it is also useful to look at the fluctuations (or ‘flucs’) next to the current odds – these indicate the movement in price for each particular runner and communicate how popular it has been with punters.

Placing A Bet

For betting on horses online, Unibet’s easy-to-navigate website lists all races available for wagering on the current day and typically for several days in advance for those wanting to get in early. It also contains a handy ‘next-to-go’ carousel listing the next available race where betting is offered.

Next to go racing graphic

Punters have the option of perusing Unibet’s comprehensive Full Form service which contains a wealth of useful data and statistical information on each runner. This contains details such as the number of starts/wins/placings the runner has had, its breeding, how it has performed on various tracks, number of wins/runs over this distance, number of days since its last start, any gear changes since its last run, a comment pertaining to its history and prospects plus more detailed information about the races it has contested.

Our individual race console also provides a brief overview (commentary) on all Australasian races plus a handy set of betting tips that you can wager directly from. A more detailed analysis and preview of feature races by industry experts is available through our blog which also contains weekly tips and big bets direct from our Australian trading desk.

Unibet blog racing graphic

Once you have decided what horse you want to bet on, simply click on the odds and enter the stake (the amount you wish to bet) in your bet slip.

Now you are ready to bet! Opening an account with Unibet is straightforward so why not get started today.

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