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What is Australian Harness Racing and how to bet on it?

How to bet on Harness racing in Australia

Harness Betting

Harness racing is a type of horse race also known as trotting, which has great importance in the Australian sports betting scene with huge amounts of money wagered annually. The sport is hugely popular with spectators and bettors all around the world. Harness racing differs from traditional horse racing as riders are pulled on carts rather than ride atop the horses, who race at a trot or pace and are not allowed to run at a full gallop. Pacing races are much more common than trotting races in Australia, and constitute about 85 per cent of all events.

What type of horse is used in Harness Racing?

Harness betting

Specialised trotting horses may enter pacing events, however pacers may not enter trotting events. If a horse breaks its stride during a race, it must move aside until the rider has full control over the horse’s gait. Australian harness races include standardbred horses, a breed which is specially reared for its ability to race in a harness at a certain stride. These horses have a more powerful build than the thoroughbreds used in horseracing, and are better suited to trotting and pacing rather than galloping.

Instead of jockeys, riders contest harness races. They are on a lightweight, two-wheeled cart known as a sulky or bike which are pulled by the horses. Riders carry whips to signal horses and help them keep control of pace.

Betting on Harness Racing

How to bet on Harness racing in Australia

Australian harness races are generally held between 1,600 and 2,650 metres. The weight of the rider and cart do not impact the horse as much as those running at full gallop in a classic horserace. Therefore handicaps based on weight do not exist in harness races. Instead, the handicap system of a harness race is based on distance. A handicapped horse will have a starting line which is further back than the other horses.

Harness race betting is very popular amongst punters in Australia with the sport offering a different type of excitement that regular horseracing cannot provide. There are a huge number of options available when betting on harness racing with at least five meetings a day to choose from when placing your bets.

Some of the major events each year include the Barastoc Grand Circuit Series, the Australasian Pacers Grand Circuit, the Victoria Cup, the Miracle Mile and the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship.

Arguably, the highlight of the harness racing season is the Miracle Mile which features some of the best horses and drivers who fight it out in a speed race of just over one mile. Notable winners in the past include Sir Vancelot (1997) who also won 3 Inter Dominions. Other winners include Smoken Up, who went on to record one of the fastest miles in Australian harness racing at just under one minute 50 seconds. You can get top odds right to bet on the Miracle Mile as well as all other Australian harness races and events at Ladbrokes and other sport betting sites. If you bet on harness racing online you can get fantastic odds on all the upcoming races including the Australian Breeders’ Crown and Chariots of Fire.

Harness Race Betting Strategies

Betting strategies for harness racing

When you opt for Harness race betting with online bookies or at sportsbetting siteshere are a few basic harness horse betting strategies to keep in mind to help maximize profits.

1. Know the Post Position

With nearly all harness races contested at a mile, post position plays a key role in determining the winner. Horses that draw inside posts have less ground to cover, and generally are going to have better trips than horses that get parked wide or have to tuck in near the back of the pack and go around horses coming into the stretch. However, this is common knowledge among online harness bettors, so there are times when the horses breaking from the inside posts are over bet.

2. Know your Drivers

If you plan on making a profit betting, it is a good idea to know your drivers, because at most harness tracks there can be a pronounced difference between the top drivers and the drivers that are going to make you lose your bankroll. Harness racing past performances include a statistic called the Universal Driver Rating, which rates each driver according to numbers of starts, wins, seconds, and thirds.

3. Learn the Class

Just as in thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, class is a very important factor in finding winners. Horses that have been consistently performing in races with higher purses tend to have more class and win more often. It is important to read the conditions of each race to help determine how each participant fits the conditions of a race. There are some trainers that enter horses in spots where they are just outclassed, and it is important to know that and eliminate them as a contender.

4. Time and Trip

With most races contested at a mile, it is easier to compare time in harness racing than it is in thoroughbred racing, where there are a variety of races. A thoroughbred might run in a mile race, then a race at 1 1/16 miles, followed by a 1 1/8 mile race.

It is hard to rely on times in that instance, but that does not happen in harness racing, simplifying the issue of final times. However, trips can greatly affect a harness horses’ final time. A horse that gets parked out wide (and will be designated in the program with a “O”) will lose a significant amount of ground, and that needs to be considered when evaluating final times.

5. Look at Horse Form

Harness horses race more frequently than thoroughbreds, tend to keep their form longer, and run more consistently. If a horse has lost form, look through the past performances on clues as to why. Was the horse competing at too tough a level? Was he parked out wide and lost ground in his last start? Was he competing at a track where he has a poor record? Was there a switch to a low percentage driver or trainer? You can use all these above strategies and evaluate all of the handicapping factors that can bring in much difference in your wins and in increasing your bankroll as well.

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