Harness racing is a unique sport in that horses carry drivers along in carts called sulkies.
Gate speed, recent form and barrier draws all play a huge part in determining what odds and price each runner starts at in a harness racing event.
Harness racing is arguably even more entertaining to bet on than straightforward horse racing. In harness racing, drivers can go a long way to determining the winning chances of their horses. It isn't uncommon to see the best driver in the race start on a horse that is favourite, purely because punters have put their faith in the driver, not the horse.
This bet type is simple and popular in harness racing. Simply pick the runner you think will win the race.
The Place bet requires you to pick a runner in a harness race and if that runner finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd you will collect your place dividend. The 3rd place dividend is only available for harness races with eight or more runners.
Pick the horses you think will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
The Quinella bet type requires you to pick the two runners that will finish 1st or 2nd in a harness race, in any order.
Similar to the Quinella, you are required to pick the two runners that will finish 1st or 2nd in a harness race, however, the difference is you have to exactly pick the finishing order.
For the First 4, you are required to pick the runners that will finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in a harness race in the correct order.
The Quaddie requires you to pick the winners of four races set out by TAB Sportsbet in order for you to collect a dividend. Due to the nature of the bet and the fact it is difficult to select four winners, most of the time the Quaddie dividends are lucrative.
To get the BIG6 you must select the winners of six races set out by TAB Sportsbet. Most of the time the BIG6 pays very big because it is quite difficult to pick.
Pre-post Fixed Odds betting (open a few days, and sometimes weeks in advance) is offered on all major harness races throughout the year, while most day-to-day meetings carry Fixed Odds with betting opening 10 minutes prior to each race.
Fixed Odds betting on harness racing has proven to be quite popular among bettors and punters.
Horse racing tips are dominated by form and the study of previous performances. Any potential bettor would do well to look at a horse's record approaching a given race, as well as the record of the jockey.
Factors that can determine the odds
There are several 'known factors' affecting the odds you get on a horse.
Each track is unique. They vary in circumference, race distances, starting points and even gradients in the track itself. Some tracks handle wet weather better than others too.
Whatever surface a race is run on, the softness or firmness of the ground is hugely influential. The going can be soft, very soft, dry or very dry. It's a good idea to study which horses perform best on which conditions before placing a bet on the day.
The distance of a race, and a horse's capacity to run at that distance, is a vital factor in horse racing odds. A horse with proven record at running long distances will have shorter odds than a horse running a distance race, when it is a short-distance specialist.
Driver and Trainer
Of course, the driveris very influential when selecting which horses you will bet on. It's their judgement which will ultimately determine whether your runner will have the best chance of winning or not. Punters generally put as much emphasis on the jockey as they will a horse. The same can be said for the trainer too - a powerful trainer with a good strike rate is something punters look to when trying to determine whether they will back a runner or not.
Pari-mutuel and Fixed Odds Prices
Betting on the pari-mutuel means you're betting through the tote. The prices change as the amount of money on each runner is invested. The more money on a runner, the shorter the price, or odds, it will be.
Fixed Odds is exactly what the name suggests - if you bet on Fixed Odds, the price of the runner when you place the bet is the price you get, regardless of whether that price changes or not.