In Australia, there is a huge range of popular betting options to choose from. However, one of these betting sports that especially warrants attention is horse racing. Success with betting on the sport can demand considerable skill and know-how, but it’s also intriguing for its history. The development of horse racing can be traced back many centuries before Australia's formation.
Par for the Horse: The History of Horse Racing
Although the origin of horse racing can't be precisely traced, it seems probable that humans have been racing with horses since they were first able to tame them. It is known that the ancient Greeks participated in horse racing as long ago as 700 BC. In fact, chariot racing was among the most popular sports in Ancient Greece and the Roman and Byzantine Empires, despite how dangerous the sport could be to the drivers and horses, who both often incurred serious injuries.
Somewhat closer to horse racing as we know it today was the mounted horse racing that formed part of the ancient Greek Olympics by the mid-7th century BC. This kind of horse racing was also popular in the Roman Empire, which began in 27 BC. In the mid-15th century, around the time that the last vestiges of the Empire faded, there was the first horse race intended to close Rome's spring carnival. A horse race regularly remained the carnival's finale until 1882.
In the early 17th century, King James I of England's fondness for horse racing ultimately led it to be dubbed the "Sport of Kings", as it was popular with English royalty and aristocracy. Horse racing came under more effective regulation in Britain during the 18th century - and when British settlers arrived in Australia that same century, they introduced horse racing to the territory. Since then, Australia has become one of the world's top three Thoroughbred racing nations.
Thoroughbred refers to a breed of horse especially bred for horse racing. Thoroughbreds compete in flat racing, in which horses directly gallop between specified start and end points on a straight or oval track. Other popular forms of horse racing include jump racing, where horses overcome obstacles; as well as harness racing, in which horses pull a sulky, a lightweight cart where the driver sits; and finally, endurance racing, where horses race across extreme distances.
Don't Make a Foal of Yourself When Betting
Fun though it can be to simply watch horse racing, there's no escaping the fact that for many or even most horse racing fans, much of the fun of the sport becomes from betting on it. Even if you have never previously betted on horse racing, you shouldn't struggle to imagine how the excitement builds as the race approaches, the tension as horses are locked in close competition on the track, and then the jubilation if the winner happens to be the horse you favoured in betting.
Nonetheless, choosing the winning horse certainly doesn't come easily; after all, bookies wouldn't make a lot of money if it did. Still, you can increase your chances of success by weighing up various factors as you endeavour to decide which horse should be your pick. Those factors include the horse's form and pedigree, while the animal's trainer and jockey can obviously be influential as well. However, you should also consider how different horses might handle the ground and weather.
If all of this is beginning to make horse racing betting seem complicated, that's because - certainly for novices - it actually is. We won't shy away from the fact that you would shorten your odds of success in this variety of betting if you set aside hours to study the form and statistics of the different horses who will be competing in the races where you will be betting.
Still, if you are a beginner, there are much more simple ways to reduce your chances of stumbling. For example, it would be wise for you to use only the two kinds of bet known as win and each-way. Both types of bet are rudimentary, and each-way betting is especially so; it involves you placing your bet at full odds and on just one horse. Should that horse win, you get a payout that will have been made clear to you before the race.
There's slightly more complexity to an each-way bet, where - again - you back a single horse, except that you are effectively placing two bets. One bet would be on the horse to simply win; the other would be on it "placing". There are numerous ranks in which horses can "place" when they don't outright win. Often, those ranks will be second, third and fourth; however, on especially significant races, a fifth ranking might be included as well.