Whether you’re new to the sport or an expert who wants to continue learning, here are 20 facts you should know about the sport of kings. If you were interested in learning more about the betting side of horse racing, these Timeform guides would be able to help you with just that.


  1. The paddock is the perfect place to see the horse ‘personally’, check for alertness, calmness and health, and make your choice for bets. 
  2. When it comes to racing, the form of a horse is a good record of performance in previous races and can help when making a decision about younger horses. 
  3. A handicap sounds negative but it’s actually a type of horse race that means each horse carries a certain amount of weight based on its ability, theoretically giving each runner a fair chance of winning. 
  4. Choosing your selection is the most important element of betting on horse racing so don’t just take any price going – do your research and choose the right odds for your bet. 
  5. When selecting a horse, also check the race type, the surface of the track, the owners and trainers, and the jockey. It all plays an important role. 
  6. Racing statistics vary considerably and take into account a huge variety of variables, but they’re a great base for identifying important information that could impact the race. 
  7. Horse racing resources and directories are ideal for checking out information about races and can help you determine the best outcome so you can make informed bets. 
  8. Horse racing is a globally-loved sport and is the second-favourite sport in Britain, surpassed only by football in terms of spectators. 
  9. There are two main types of racing – flat racing, which has no obstacles, and jumps racing which involves steeplechase jumps or hurdles.
  10. Flat racing yields the biggest prizes and some of the most prestigious races in the world are flat races. 
  11. Race horses are incredible athletes, with Thoroughbred horses having a resting heartbeat of 40 bpm on average!
  12. Racing fixtures take place virtually every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, providing plenty of opportunities for betting and viewing. 
  13. Tradition plays an important role in the naming of horses and there are strict rules in place for what race horses are and are not allowed to be called. 
  14. The shortest possible flat races are held over five furlongs, which is just over 1,000 metres. The longest races are around two miles and four furlongs. 
  15. National hunt races are typically the longest, with the shortest still spanning two miles and the longest – the Grand National – spanning a distance of four miles and four furlongs. 
  16. All Thoroughbreds can be traced back to one of just three stallions, known as the ‘foundation’ stallions. 
  17. Races horses can have one of two birthdays – horses in the northern hemisphere are always given 1st January as their birth date while those in the southern hemisphere are given 1st August, to make it easier to track each horses age for certain races that are strict on the age of competitors. 
  18. There are five Classic Races in British horse racing, which are considered the most prestigious flat races in the calendar. 
  19. European races are run clockwise, while races in the US are typically run counter-clockwise. 
  20. The average racehorse weighs around 1,000lbs.