Is Horse Racing Fixed?

While betting on horse racing has never been more popular there are sometimes allegations around bets and suspicious betting patterns, which ultimately raise questions about whether certain races are fixed.

In any sport and indeed most walks of life, there will always be unscrupulous people and cheats. However, it’s safe to say that regulations are in place by racings governing bodies, to make sure that cheating does not happen and more so if it does, that these people are dealt with swiftly and severely.

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Is Horse Racing Fixed

Does Cheating in Horse Racing Exist?

There have been proven instances of cheating in horse racing, as in any sport.

Thankfully these instances are few and far between and if it is proven the punishments for trainers, jockeys or owners are very severe to act as a strong deterrent, these ranges from:

  • Ban to the jockey
  • Ban for the horse
  • Ban for the trainer
  • Fine for the jockey
  • Fine for the trainer

Obviously, the fear of a horse racing being fixed is something punters are wary of, the last thing a horse racing fan is going to want to do is to place a bet on a race, which already has a planned outcome.

All races are reviewed by on course stewards and above that, the main regulatory board – either the BHA or IHA in Britin and Ireland – if they see anything suspicious the relevant persons are called in immediately and action taken.

Thankfully, these cases are either few and far between or are immediately handled and remedied.

What is a Fixed Race?

As you might imagine, a horse race considered ‘a fix’ is one where there are plans in place to ensure a specific jockey and horse wins or deliberately loses.

A person, or persons, will attempt to fix a race normally to gain financially from the scenario, more often than not through either backing horses to win or laying horses to lose.

A fixed race is one where this person will take steps to ensure that a result is unfair and not as to be expected. It is, crucially, a form of corruption and is illegal.

How Are Races Fixed?

A horse is generally thought to be fixed by the following methods:

  • A jockey does not ride a horse on its merit to finish as close as possible – in this instance a jockey, owners, trainer or persons bet on this horse to be beaten. With the invention of betting exchanges such as Spreadex, this has become more of a worry in recent times.
  • A horse is drugged – a horse can sometimes be drugged to underperform or be administered with performances enhancing drugs to make it perform better.

How Is Racing Fixing Monitored?

The ways above are monitored by the below actions:

  • All races are reviewed and watched by a panel of stewards live at every racecourse, if anything suspicious, in terms of a ride or behaviour, is noticed, a jockey will be called immediately to the stewards’ room to explain. If they are not happy they can refer the matter to the main regulatory board to investigate further at a later date.
  • If a horse runs better or worse than expected, the jockey and trainer will be called into the stewards’ room to explain. Again this can be pursued further by the main authorities.
  • Any horse can be inspected on a course and samples taken to check for drugs or banned substances.
  • If suspicious betting patterns have been noticed, again trainer and jockeys can be questioned. If this has happened off course a longer investigation into corruption is likely to be carried out.
  • Out of racing checks, including stable visits being carried out to do drug tests on particular horses.

How Common Are Fixed Horse Races?

Thankfully, the risk of a fix is very rare indeed.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that jockeys are, in the main, unlikely to force their horses to pull up and not try.

It is proven that fixing can ruin careers and livelihoods and for that reason, it’ is unlikely many high profile jockeys and trainers of racehorses will want to put so much on the line. It’s safe to say the majority of people who train horses do so to win, and to win fairly, meaning that the sport rarely falls into a level of disrepute.

Can Owners Bet On Their Own Horse?

Yes. It is not only possible for a horse owner to bet on their own steed, it is fully legal in the UK.

However, the grey areas start to emerge when you consider betting against yourself, too. The BHA advises it is against the rules to lay your own horse. This means to bet against it in an exchange. Laying is something that is common in corrupt practices in the sport, meaning that it is getting easier to clamp down on.

Summary

There are many legitimate reasons why many punters worry about races and fixes. Ultimately, win or lose on a bet, you want to feel that this is a fair fight.

However, as stated, these cases are very rare. Thanks to intervention and policing from the BHA, it is harder now for jockeys and owners to get away with anything.

Therefore, you can safely go ahead and continue to bet on horse racing. The game is as reputable as ever, and with more and more invested in regulating and keeping the sport fair, there are no clear reasons why you should fear fixing in the years to come.

Horse Racing Betting Websites

The best horse racing betting websites which we have reviewed are the ones below: