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Betting on Harness Racing in Australia

Also known as trotting, harness racing is a form of horseracing popular with punters in Australia. The sport, which is equally popular among spectators, sees almost 2000 meetings on an annual basis.

The figures involved in the sport are eye-opening. There are more than 90 tracks around the country, used by almost 3000 drivers and 4000 trainers. What’s more, approximately 5000 Standardbred horses are foaled and registered every year similar to the numbers seen in greyhound racing betting.

The sport is governed by Harness Racing Australia, however, the Principal Racing Authority of each state is actually responsible for enforcing the sport’s rules.

What is Harness Racing?

Unlike its thoroughbred counterpart, harness racing horses are not ridden by jockeys. Instead, a driver in a cart with two wheels, known as a bike, gig, or sulky, is pulled around the track.

Visually, it bears a passing resemblance to the chariot races of ancient Rome, which may be part of the appeal for many punters who enjoy betting on the sport. There are two gaits in which horses and drivers can compete, namely trotting and pacing.

The distance the horses run varies between 1609m and 2560m, and the race is run in an anti-clockwise direction. Punters should take note of the fact that pacers cannot enter trotting events, while trotters may enter pacing events.

Harness racing usually takes place at night, with Fridays and Saturdays being popular choices for important meetings.

Betting on Harness Racing Online

Australian punters who are new to online harness racing betting may be so keen to place their bets that they sign up at the first online bookmaker they find with those markets. This could be to punters’ own detriment, as disreputable bookmakers are more than happy to try separate punters from their hard-earned AU$.

There are a few important things players should check before placing their bets. One of those is whether or not the online bookmaker has a valid license, and another is that the site not only accepts punters from Australia, but AU$ as well.

Players should also ensure that they can use their preferred payment method to make deposits, the bookmaker’s banking service is encrypted, and punter support is readily available.

If punters are satisfied that they are not going to be ripped off, they can proceed with signing up, depositing money into their new account, and choosing their bets from the harness market.

Of all the bet types available online to punters in Australia, straight win bets are the most popular. The other types of bets are similar to those found in thoroughbred markets.

Harness Racing Betting Calendar Highlights

Australia’s harness racing calendar has a number of highlights on it, and those notable events always bring with them an increase in online horse racing betting. The most important of them are:

  • The Inter Dominion, which was established in 1936. The major event pits Aussie horses against horses from New Zealand.
  • The Australasian Breeders Crown, in which four-, three-, and two-year-old horses from Australia and New Zealand compete.
  • The Australasian Pacers Grand Circuit
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Victoria Cup
  • Miracle Mile
  • Queensland Derby


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