Horse racing is one of the top sports in India, both to watch and to bet on.
There is a long and proud history of the Sport of Kings in India, while there is a mix of pool betting and traditional bookmakers in the country.
Fans of horse racing in India can bet on races taking place in the country and also elsewhere. Here is our guide to betting on horse racing in India - read on for everything you need to know.
Introduction to Horse Racing
The history of horse racing in India dates back more than 200 years. Madras was the first place in India to host horse races and that happened all the way back in 1777.
While betting laws in India can be a little bit confusing, the picture is a lot clearer for horse racing. This means that it can be one of the safest sports to bet on in the country.
Horse racing and lotteries are two areas where it is easy to have a bet in India. This is due to the fact there was a court ruling that found horse racing betting involves skill, not just luck.
However, betting on horse racing is tightly regulated and revenues from the industry have been hit hard by the Indian government's decision to raise taxes.
With horse racing in India has been around for such a long time, a variety of famous horses have dominated the sport in the country.
Rashid Byramji is widely considered to be the greatest trainer in India's horse racing history. He was the man behind Squanderer, which won 18 of its 19 races, and Elusive Pimpernel, which won on 22 of 23 starts.
Mystical is another horse raised in India that has enjoyed a lot of success - on the international scene as well as domestically. Mystical won two races at the Dubai Racing Carnival. So if you have some interest in betting on horse racing in India, what do you need to do?
How to Bet on Horse Racing in India
Betting on horse racing online works in much the same way as other sports in India, while there are licenced racecourses across the country as well.
Assuming you are already signed up for one of the best betting sites in India, they should have markets available for various horse races.
After studying the form guide to decide which horse you think will win - which is why betting on the sport is a skill - you merely need to select it on your chosen betting site.
Then set your stake, with larger stakes offering the potential for more profits. In horse racing, there is usually also the chance to bet each way on the outcome of a race.
This means half your stake goes towards betting on the horse to win. The other half of the stake goes on the each-way market. In each way bets, you need the horse to finish in the places.
Each race has different rules for places, depending on how many horses are running, but an example might be that you get 1/4 the odds to win for a place in the top four.
Horse Racing Markets in India
As well as each-way betting on horse racing, there are some other options worth noting here.
One is the accumulator, which is popular in a lot of sports. You can pick horses from different races and put them into the same bet, which often results in very large odds.
Ante-post horse racing betting can be popular too. This involves betting on the outcome of a race well ahead of time. It is only usually the top horse races, such as the Gold Cup, or the Grand National, where ante-post horse racing betting is widely available.
The downside of ante-post betting on horse racing is it is risky. If the horse you back does not run, your money might be lost. But some betting sites in India that offer ante-post betting have a Non-Runner Money Back option to take advantage of as well.
If you fancy your chances of being able to pick which horses will finish second or third, as well as first, then the forecast and tricast markets might be the right ones for you to look at.
The forecast means you predict the top two horses in the race, with the tricast for the top three. Some bets mean you have to get them in the right order, while others are just in any order.
Horse racing has probably more types of bets than any other sport that is popular for online betting in India. As an example, many players like to place a wager known as the Lucky 15.
The Lucky 15 covers 15 different bets, so your stake is multiplied by 15, though you can increase this even more by using the each-way option. For the Lucky 15, you might only need a couple of the horses you back as part of the bet to win their races to make a profit.
Top Horse Racing Events to Bet On
Here are some of the major international horse races that you can bet on in India:
- Cheltenham Gold Cup
- Dubai World Cup
- Japan Cup
- Epsom Derby
- The Everest
- Grand National
- Melbourne Cup
- Kentucky Derby
- Saudi Cup
- Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Running in March every year, the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the sporting calendar for a lot of horse racing fans. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the highlight of the meeting, which has a strong Irish flavour as a result of its proximity to Saint Patrick's Day. Other big races that take place at the Festival include the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle. Hundreds of millions of euros are bet on the festival each year.
For casual horse racing fans, the Grand National is the most famous race of the year. Known around the world for being particularly chaotic, two laps of the Aintree racecourse provides a test of endurance. The first Grand National was run 181 years ago, so this is one of the longest-running horse races around. It is estimated that 500 million people watch the race each year.
Royal Ascot is famous for its links to royalty, along with a unique sense of pageantry. Considered by many to be Britain's most valuable race meeting, Royal Ascot sees about 500 horses race over the course of five days of action. The highlight of the meeting is the Gold Cup.
Britain's richest horse race is the Epsom Derby, a race that is often called the "Blue Riband" of the turf. It is also thought of as the most prestigious of the five Classics. The Epsom Derby is typically scheduled to be run on the first Saturday of June each year.
For horse racing purists, Glorious Goodwood is up there with the Cheltenham Festival. Officially named the 'Qatar Goodwood Festival' for sponsorship reasons, the meeting is held in late July. Top races that take place within Glorious Goodwood include the Stewards' Cup, the Nassau Stakes, the Goodwood Cup and the Sussex Stakes.
There are major Indian horse races that you can bet on too - these are the most important:
- 1,000 Guineas
- 2,000 Guineas
- Indian Oaks
- Indian Derby
- Indian St. Leger
If the names seem as if they are familiar, this is likely because the races are based on the original five British 'classic' horse races that share the same titles. The St. Leger is run at Pune with the other four races named above all taking place in Mumbai. Indian horse racing fans should also look out for the Bangalore Cup, which is run in July.
Horse Racing Promotions in India
Horse racing fans may also be able to make the most of various betting site promotions.
Welcome bonuses often include free bets that can be used on your chosen sport, like horse racing. Keep in mind that the winnings from free bets may have wagering requirements.
Ante-post racing markets may have price boosts or enhanced odds. This can make them particularly valuable but keep in mind the risks that are involved with this type of bet.
The top horse racing promotions come around when major meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival are taking place. Top races like the Grand National also see promotions such as extra places for each way bets are offered regularly.
Horse racing betting in India seems set to continue growing in popularity, so make sure you check out the best betting sites in India right here.