Betting on horse racing online continues to grow in popularity, and it allows punters from across the globe to bet on races without attending the meeting or visiting a betting shop.
Like all major sports, horse racing is an international affair, with jurisdictions from the UK to Hong Kong, to America and the Middle East, and many more all hosting major events that racing fans want to bet on.
One such major development in horse racing has been the introduction of The Saudi Cup, which is now the world’s most valuable horse race with a staggering $20million in prize money, and the most valuable race meeting with the two days accounting for $35.1million.
Its huge purse has drawn in contenders from across the globe since launching in 2020 and that means it captures the interest of racing fans in many different regions.
The Saudi Cup is, by a considerable distance, now the world’s most valuable horse race, offering a purse of $20million.
There are currently no horse betting odds available for the 2022 Saudi Cup. Should Mishriff look to defend his crown, he would likely be towards the top of the betting, while the State Of Rest, who won the 2021 Cox Plate, may be another fancied horse.
Taking place in Riyadh at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in February since 2020, the race is contested over 1800m on the dirt course and is a Flat race, meaning without hurdles or fences.
For the first time, the 2022 renewal of The Saudi Cup will be run like a globally recognised Group 1 event, the highest level of horse race possible.
Hundreds of horses from across the world enter to take part in the race, with a maximum field of 14 runners eventually selected based on their international rating, a score given to the horse by the International Racing Bureau.
Picking the winner of The Saudi Cup, and indeed other races run across the two-day meeting can be difficult as few horses will have run at the track before.
For many of the horses, it will present a new track, albeit it’s a fairly conventional oval-shaped course, a new surface, and weather conditions.
Looking for horses who have experience of running on dirt, and ideally, the dirt at King Abdulaziz Racetrack could prove very helpful.
2021 Saudi Cup winner Mishriff finished second in the 2020 Saudi Derby on the dirt before going on to win the main race the following year.
Having shown he handled the surface well and gained valuable course experience, he would have been one for the shortlist.
The horse who finished third at monster odds of 66/1, Great Scot, was a locally trained contender who had plenty of experience on the Riyadh dirt.
The Saudi Cup is contested over 1800m (1m1f), which isn’t a distance that too many races are run over, making it a difficult race to look at distance form for.
Ideally, horses who have proved they can win over 2000m (1m2f) may be a safer betting proposition than those having raced over just 1600m (1 mile).
Horses who are yet to run well over 2000m may struggle to ‘stay’ or ‘see out’ The Saudi Cup’s distance, meaning that they do not have the required stamina for the race.
However, given the track is fairly flat and has less stamina-testing than some of the UK’s undulating racecourses, such as Ascot, for example, it is important to look at the course at which the horse raced, not just the distance.
Given horses travel to The Saudi Cup from across the globe, it is important to consider how their preparation has been for the event.
With Mishriff, for example, in 2021, he had been rested for almost four months in order ahead of his run so he could recuperate having run four times between June and October.
For UK horses, the race comes in the off-season, while for American and Japanese horses their schedules are typically busier at this time of year.
Given the huge amount of prize money on offer for The Saudi Cup, it is a race that may be targeted by trainers from a long way out, and you may be able to see from a horse’s precise preparation that this race is its ultimate target.
It is worth looking at the pattern of runs a horse has had, and over how many days with what breaks in between, to make a judgment on the horse’s likely fitness levels.
In 2021, The Saudi Cup was won by a British-trained horse, Mishriff. He beat American galloper, Charlatan, in a thrilling battle up the home straight at odds of 8/1.
To reinforce the quality of that renewal, Mishriff went on to land two further races at Group 1 level, the Sheema Classic at Meydan in Dubai, and the Juddmonte International at York in the UK.
His victory and subsequent success have contributed towards The Saudi Cup now being globally recognised as a Group 1 event.
The inaugural winner of The Saudi Cup was Maximum Security, trained in the USA. He was the 2/1 race favourite and was first past the post, but his trainer, Jason Servis, was subsequently sensationally charged with doping offences and the prize money for first place remains unpaid until the dispute is settled.
The Saudi Cup is a Group 1 rather than a handicap race and, as such, all horses must race with the same amount of weight in the saddle.
The key to finding a horse that could offer better value could be to consider whether its official rating stacks up well against its international rivals.
It is worth considering whether races in the US for example are as strong as those run in Japan or the UK.
As all horses will run off the same weight, one you identify as being superior to another may be worth supporting as it won’t have to carry any extra weight.
The Saudi Cup is part of a two-day meeting which begins on Friday.
On Friday, there are eight races, four of which act as a competition between jockeys from across the world.
Points are available in each of the four races for the riders and at the end of the fourth race, the jockey with the most points will be crowned the International Jockeys Challenge champion.
Last year, Ireland’s Shane Foley came out on top.
Five of the races on Saturday’s card have now been upgraded to globally recognised Group 3 events, and contribute to the mouth-watering $35.1million on offer over the two days.
Notable winners from last year include Space Blues, who triumphed in the 1351 Turf Sprint, and True Self in the Red Sea Turf. The latter provided a memorable first success in the country for female jockey Hollie Doyle and Irish trainer Willie Mullins.
Japanese-trained horses won both the Saudi Derby and the Riyadh Dirt Sprint, both of which will be run at Group 3 level for the first time in 2022.
For any horse race, the type of bet you place is an important consideration. This is because every race market is different, due to the number of horses running and the odds of those horses.
Knowing the best bet to place in different circumstances can improve your chance of winning.
Here are a few common horse racing bets.
A bet placed on one horse in a race. There are different types of straight bets: win, place, and each-way bets.
There are two types of forecasts: a straight forecast and a reverse forecast. With a straight forecast, you select two horses to finish first and second in a race.
They must finish in the correct order to win the bet. With a reverse forecast, the two horses can finish in any order.
There are also straight and reverse tricasts. A straight tricast challenges you to predict the first three horses in a race in the correct order. A reverse tricast means your three selections can finish in any order.
As mentioned, The Saudi Cup’s two-day meeting begins on Friday which plays host to the International Jockeys Challenge.
Some online bookmakers may offer odds on which jockey will accrue the most points and therefore win the Challenge. The key to betting the Top Jockey market is to assess each jockeys’ book of rides and decipher who has the strongest book versus their odds.
A jockey who appears to have good chances of scoring points across the four races but has comparatively big odds could be worth betting.