Horse Racing Betting Around The World

For many gambling enthusiasts, horse racing represents the pinnacle of sports betting. The major horse races attract punters from all over the world and even people that rarely gamble will occasionally have a bet when a famous race is on TV. Top horses such as Red Rum, Desert Orchid, Arkle and Best Mate can achieve celebrity status while champion jockeys such as AP McCoy can also become household names.

While most sports do not rely on gambling to entertain their audience, horse racing and betting go hand in hand. Without this vital element, the sport would lose much of its appeal and would be far less exciting. Many of the statistical methods of selecting bets that are used in other sports were first applied to horse race betting. Compiling stats, studying form and gaining vital insider information have long been part of race track culture.

World Bet Exchange (WBX) offers daily UK and Ireland horse racing markets plus ante-post markets for all the other top races. So let's take a closer look at some of the most popular horse races from around the world.

United Kingdom

The UK horse race betting market is huge and some of the most famous races in the world are held on British soil. Even if you are not a regular gambler, you may have had a bet on one or more of these

  1. The Cheltenham Festival: This popular four-day event is held annually in the second week of March and is second only to the Grand National at Aintree in terms of prize money. It is a National Hunt event which means that the horses are required to jump over obstacles including fences, water and ditches. The festival attracts around 250,000 visitors and over £250 million is wagered across the four days. There are 11 Grade One races and four Championship races at the event, the most famous of which is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is perhaps the most prestigious jump race in the world and has produced famous champions such as Arkle, Golden Miller, Kauto Star, Best Mate and Mill House. The horses and jockeys must navigate a steeplechase course of 3 miles 2½ furlongs (5,331 m) and jump 22 fences in pursuit of a substantial prize fund.
  2. The Grand National: The Aintree festival in Liverpool takes place across three days in April and includes the most famous National Hunt horse race in the world. The Grand National was first run in 1839 and has grown into a global phenomenon. Competitors are required to jump 30 fences over two circuits of a 4 miles 3½ furlongs (7,141 m) course. This challenging handicap steeplechase is the most valuable of its type in Europe, with a total prize fund in excess of £1 million. The course features many famous fences such as Becher's Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn, and has been labelled as "the ultimate test of horse and rider". The race is broadcast to over 500 million people in more than 140 countries worldwide and attracts many punters that do not normally bet on other sporting events. The most successful Grand National horse of all time was undoubtedly Red Rum who won the race three times in 1973, 1974, and 1977, and finished second in 1975 and 1976. His trainer, Ginger McCain is one of only three trainers to have won the race four times, while the leading jockey, George Stevens, enjoyed five wins between 1856 and 1870.
  3. Royal Ascot: The race course at Ascot in Berkshire hosts many important jump and flat meetings throughout the year but the most famous is the five-day Royal event that takes place in June. The event was first held over 300 years ago and now attracts around 300,000 visitors each year making it the most popular race meeting in Europe. Each year, Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family attend the event and take part in a daily procession of horse-drawn carriages. The biggest race of Ascot week is the Gold Cup (sometimes referred to as the Ascot Gold Cup) which is held on the third day of the event. Jockey Lester Piggott famously won the race 11 times across a 25 year period. The most successful horse was Aidan O'Brien-trained Yeats who won four consecutive Gold Cups between 2005 and 2008.


France has a great tradition of horse racing and also hosts some of the biggest races in the sport. Many of the top race horses are also bred and trained in France.

  1. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: Sometimes known as the "Arc", the richest turf race in the world is held annually at Longchamp in Paris. The Group 1 flat race is open to thoroughbred horses that are over three years old and mounts are weighted according to their age. The race is run over 1½ miles (2,400 metres) and usually takes place on the first Sunday in October. A total of seven horses have won the race twice including recent winner Treve. The race weekend features seven other Group 1 races and attracts racing fans from all over the globe. 
  2. Prix du Jockey Club: This flat race in Chantilly was inspired by the English Derby and is often referred to as the "French Derby". It is sometimes used by trainers as a stepping stone to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and nine previous winners have gone on to win the event in Paris. The race is run over a distance of 1 mile and 2½ furlongs (2,100 metres) and is open to horses aged three and over. One of France's most famous jockeys, Yves Saint-Martin, holds the record for most wins with a total of nine.


Horse racing is big business in Australia with major race meetings attracting crowds in excess of 100,000. The Australian betting markets are also dominated by horse racing with more money laid on the race tracks than anywhere else.

  1. Melbourne Cup: They call it "the race that stops a nation" and Australia's biggest thoroughbred horse race certainly does that. At 3pm on the first Tuesday of every November all eyes are on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne for world's richest two-miler. This race for horses three-years-old and over has been held in Victoria since 1861. The first ever winner was awarded with a gold watch while today's victor can expect to pocket more than $3 million making the Melbourne Cup one of the world's most valuable turf races. The most successful horse in Melbourne Cup history was Makybe Diva who became the only horse to win the event three times with victories in 2003, 2004 and 2005. 
  2. Cox Plate: Another of Australia's premier race events takes place at the Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne. The W.S. Cox plate is a thoroughbred race for three-years-old and over run under the same weight-for-age conditions as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Many of Australia and New Zealand's champion horses have won the race once or twice but only Kingstown Town has recorded three triumphs. A total of six horses have completed Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup doubles: Makybe Diva, Might and Power, Saintly, Nightmarch, Phar Lap, and Rising Fast.

South Africa

Horse racing plays a big part in the South African sports schedule and at the heart of that are several high profile race meetings. Despite the popularity of horse racing, betting exchange options are limited to customers in the country with WBX being the only exchange to offer South African racing bets to South African customers.

  1. J&B Met: This race meeting at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town is more than just a racing event. To the people of Cape Town it is the most prestigious social occasion of the year. As well as thoroughbred horses and champion jockeys; fashion and style are always on the agenda at this glitzy and decadent event. As a result, crowds of over 50,000 come to rub shoulders with the rich and famous and enjoy a weekend of excessive partying and exhilarating racing. The all-time greatest achiever in the 1 ¼ mile (2,000 metre) feature race was a horse named Pocket Power who won three consecutive championships between 2007 and 2009 - eclipsing the back-to-back triumphs of Politician in 1978 and 1979. 
  2. Durban Handicap: This thoroughbred horse race has been held annually at Greyville Racecourse in Durban since July 1897. The turf event is open to horses of all ages and is arguably South Africa's top race meeting with a prize of more than £150,000. Only five horses have won the race twice, the most recent being El Picha who won back to back races in 1999 and 2000.
  3. Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup: The Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg plays host to this first-grade thoroughbred horse race meeting each November. A purse of more than £110,000 is available to the winner of the main race while 11 further races are contested throughout the day and into the evening.The Summer Cup has been held since 1887 and after several name and date changes it finally reverted to its original format in 1999. In that time just two horses, namely Java (1956-58) and Elevation (1972-74) have completed Summer Cup hat-tricks.

For the best odds on UK and Ireland markets plus ante-post markets on all the other top races - visit And remember, no other betting exchange offers South African racing to South African customers. New members get up to $35 in free bets.


Formulator posted this comment 02/26/2015 15:37:46 PM

Quite an interesting read, if not an entirely accurate one. Firstly there was a notable omission in regards to the "United Kingdom" article with that of the most famous and prestigious race of them all ... "The Derby". Also known and referred to as the Epsom Derby or Derby Stakes. A race held in the month of June over the classic distance of a mile and a half for three-year old Colts and Fillies, and is effectively Britain's richest horse race.
As far as the "Australia" article is concerned, there was a glaring error in describing the Melbourne Cup as a "race for three-year olds", when as race fans we all know (or should know) the event is open to horses aged three years old and over. Maybe the writer of this article got muddled up with the classic Victoria Derby, a race for three-year olds staged during the Melbourne Cup carnival, or possibly simply omitted the words "and over" from his text ?.