Harness racing is an exhilarating sport where horse and driver act in unison to pit their wits against the opposition to see which pairing comes out on top! Meanwhile the spectator gets within meters of all the thrills and spills and with a bit of luck may even finish the race better off having beaten the bookies!!
Harness racing horses are ‘Standardbreds’. Standardbred horses have shorter legs than Thoroughbred and longer bodies, the name is also derived from early years of the Standardbred studbook which on permitted horses to trot a mile in a standard time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Today, Standardbreds race much faster than the original standard, with most races in Australia now pacing the mile below 2 minutes, with trotters only a few seconds slower.
In harness racing, there are two different gaits; trotting and pacing.
The sulky or gig on which the driver sits on is one of the most important pieces of equipment for harness racing. The driver balances on the sulky with legs along the shafts to maintain equilibrium. The design of the sulky combined with the way the driver sits on it ensures optimum performance with surprisingly little handicap to the horse’s performance. The driver wears a variety of safety equipment including a protector vest and helmet. They also wear their individual unique ‘racing colours’ so they can easily be distinguished during the race and, in most races, carry a whip.
Having a bet on harness racing can be a lot of fun and it is exciting cheering home your selection. This guide to betting and bet types is designed to simplify the process as much as possible.
Win: Your horse must finish first to collect.
Place: Your horse must finish first, second and third to collect.
Exacta: You play two horses. They must come in first and second in exact order to collect.
Exacta Box: You play two horses. They must come in first and second in either order to collect. Since this has multiple wagers in combination.
Trifecta: You play three horses. They must come in first, second, and third in exact order to collect.
Trifecta Key: You play three horses. You chose one horse to win, called the key horse, who must come in first followed by the other two horses second and third in any order to collect. You may play more than two horses in second and third, which means any two of those horses can finish in those positions and you will win.
Trifecta Box: You play three horses. They must finish first, second, and third in any order to collect.
Quadrella: The Quaddie requires you to select four winners from the four nominated races. And the rewards, for a small outlay, can be big! On all harness racing meetings Quinella: You pick two runners to finish first and second (the order does not matter). Quinella bets can be boxed or bankered.
Boxed Quinella: You choose runners to finish first and second in any order. Pick the three, four, five or more runners that you like and by boxing them, you buy all the possible combinations of any of those runners coming first and second.
Eachway: Combines a Win and a Place bet on the same runner. If your runner wins, you collect both the Win and Place dividend. If your runner finishes 2nd or 3rd, you collect the Place dividend.