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A Beginner’s Guide to Trotting Betting

Trotting, which is better known as Harness Racing in the UK, is a hugely popular sport. There are races across the world, and it is particularly popular in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South America.  Thanks to this, there is always plenty of action, which means numerous opportunities to place bets. In this guide, we will teach you the basics of trotting, explain the most common form of bets, and look at what you should research before placing bets.

Trotting Basics

Trotting is a type of horse race where the horse pulls a two-wheeled trap or cart with a driver in it. The carts resemble gladiator chariots and they are often called sulkies or spiders. The races are often called trot races as the horses use a specific gait, which separates it from pacing.

In a race, the horse will pull the rider and sulky for a specific distance before charging when close enough to the finish line.

When trotting, a horse’s nearside back leg comes forward at the same time as its offside front leg goes forward and then vice versa. This is different from pacing as in pacing a horse’s nearside front and rear legs move back and forth at the same time.

There are many trotting racecourses around the world; in the UK the best known are York Racecourse, Musselburgh, Ludlow, Corbiewood Racecourse and Tir Prince Racecourse.  There are also a number of famous races, such as the Inter Dominion in Australia and New Zealand, and the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters in America. The most prestigious race in the world is probably the Prix d’Amerique in France. Similarly prestigious is Sweden’s Elitloppet.

Betting on Trotting

When betting on a trotting race, you are able to do far more than just bet on the winner. There are many common types of bets and by combining them, you are able to build an advanced betting strategy. While there are many bets, they are all easy to understand and here we shall explain the most common of them to help you get started.


This is a bet on a particular horse to win the race, if it does, then you win the bet.


This is a bet on a specific horse to finish first or second. As long as the horse finishes in one of those two places then you will win your bet. As this is a slightly easier bet than Win, the odds will be slightly shorter, but you have a better chance of winning.


This is a bet on a specific horse to finish in first, second or third place. Similar to the Place bet, the odds will be shorter, but there chances of winning are greater.

Across the Board

This is a slightly more complicated bet. It is a bet on a horse to win, place and show. It is often referred to as a “combo straight wager” as it is three different bets rolled into one (win, place and show).

As you are essentially placing three bets, it is quite an expensive bet to place. For example, if you were to place a €1 across the board bet, it will cost you €3 as you are placing three individual €1 bets (Win, Place, Show). If the horse goes on to win, you will win all three of your bets. If the horse comes second then you win the Place and Show bets. If the horse comes third, then you win the Show bet.

Win/Place Place/Show

This is a similar concept to the Across the Board Bet. It is a combination of multiple bets. If you were to place a Win/Place bet, then you are betting on the horse to win and place. If the horse goes on to win, then you win both of your bets. If the horse finishes second, then you only win the Place bet.

The Place/Show bet is very similar. You are betting on a horse to place and show. If the horse finishes second then you win both of your bets while if it finishes third you will win the Show bet.


So far all of the bets have been on one horse. This bet is on two horses. You need to pick which horse will finish first and which will finish second. This bet will normally have very generous odds, as it is hard to get right.

If you want to make things a little easier then you can “box” the bet. This means that it doesn’t matter which order the horses finish, as long as you pick the correct two you will win. However, this will double the cost of your bet.


This is a bet on two horses to finish first and second in any order. This is different from a boxed exacta bet in that it is half of the cost. However, a boxed exacta bet usually has better odds, so it is a matter of choosing which type of bet is better for you.


This is a bet on three horses to finish first, second and third with the order specified. As with the exacta bet, you can box a trifecta bet so that you will win regardless of order. However, this is very expensive; it will cost six times more due to the possible combinations.


This is a bet on four horses to finish first, second, third and fourth with the order specified. Just as with exacta and trifecta bets, it is possible to box the bet for an additional cost. However, boxed superfecta bets often have very low minimum bets, which can make them very attractive.


This is a special trotting bet that is loved in Sweden. It requires you to pick the winners of seven consecutive Swedish trotting races. Each of the races must have at least 12 horses running in it. It is an extremely difficult bet to get right; in fact, assuming 12 runners in each race, you have a 1 in 35,831,808 chance of doing so. As such, the bet is more like taking part in a lottery. However, the bets pool, just as a lottery and it is possible to enter from more than twenty-five countries, so the payout is often huge.

What to Consider when Betting on Trotting

If you want to place a successful bet, then you will need to do some careful research. There are a number of components in a trotting race, the obvious ones being the horse, the rider and the track. Each of these deserves some consideration.

Beginning with the horses, you should look at their recent form. Keep an eye out for information such as if a horse has recently set a personal best and see if you can find out what race commentators have been saying about them. You could also look for patterns. For instance, some horses always run very well after a long rest then poorly in subsequent races, so you may want to check the horses’ schedules.

Trot races take place on either dirt or clay surfaces, which means that there is less variation than in traditional horseracing. However, you should still pay attention to the surface and see if you can find information about how the horse has run there in the past. Furthermore, you need to check the race day weather forecast and then see if you can find out how the horses have run in similar conditions in the past.

As with regular horseracing, the trainers are extremely important. Some trainers are very well known in the trotting world and you will want to look out for their horses. Furthermore, these trainers will often have specific races that they like to try new talent in, and it is always worth keeping an eye out for these. If you look at the previous winners for a course and who has trained them then you may see some patterns. Those who use a tipping guide will be able to see a trainer’s record at a course, and the more you look at these the better.

The final component is the rider. There are some well-known names in the harness racing world and you should keep an eye out for them. Furthermore, some riders seem to have consistent success at particular courses, and it is always good to be aware of this.

Essentially, you want to look into as much history of the drivers, trainers and courses as you possibly can. You then need to combine this with your knowledge of a horse’s form. The more trotting events you are able to watch, the larger an amount of instinctive knowledge you will gain, and this is equally important. While there is no such thing as a magic formula that will guarantee success, if you do your research carefully, then with a bit of luck and skill you will hopefully be placing many winning trotting bets.


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