While betting on horse racing has never been more popular, there are always allegations surrounding bets, and whether or not specific races are fixed.
Horse racing fixing is something which has supposedly been rife for some time. However, it’s safe to say that regulations are in place to ensure that races run fairer than ever before.
The fear of a horse racing fix is something very real to many betters. The last thing a horse racing fan is going to want to do is bet on a race of meeting which already has a planned outcome!
Moreover, there is much more to the phenomenon of horse racing and alleged fixing than you might think. As with much UK sport, there are always going to be some allegations of foul play. Thankfully, these cases are either few and far between, or are immediately handled and remedied.
But with that in mind – in general, is horse racing fixed? Should betters and sports fans worry about the races they punt on being pre-determined? Let’s take a closer look at whether or not it is still worth betting on horses racing into 2020 and beyond.
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. This tends to be the case when there are multiple who stand to benefit financially from the scenario.
A fix race is one where, for example, a jockey may accept money to throw the result, or who may take steps to ensure that a result is unfairly contested. It is, crucially, a form of corruption – one which has, in the past, taken down some genuine giants of the sport.
While it is clear that measures are in place to prevent fixes as much as possible, we simply do not know how many fixes there are, if any, in process at any given time. As a sport which prides itself on transparency and fun, it is often disheartening to see that some are willing to spoil events for their own financial gains.
Why Do People Say Horse Racing is Fixed?
Many people allege that specific betting patterns lead to horse racing fixes. Through a horse betting exchange, for example, a jockey may choose to bet on themselves to win and to lose. This, though the way that betting exchanges operate, would mean that they stand to get a lump sum regardless of what happens. This, in some cases, is what leads to fixing.
Many people worry that horse race fixing is rife thanks to a number of high profile cases over the years. Perhaps the most high profile in recent history is that of Kieron Fallon, who is thought to have helped to fix over 100 races before information emerged. Would Fallon have continued fixing if he hadn’t have been caught? That, we aren’t clear on.
However, it is safe to say that betting fans want reassurance that their bets and the sport in general is fair and above board. There are plenty of regulations and markers in place to ensure that betting exchanges are legal. However, that has not stopped the same concerns that racing is fake from rising up again and again.
Is it Possible to Fix a Horse Race?
As we can see from past cases, yes. As explained, lay betting and exchange fixing can lead to some scenarios where jockeys and other horse racing aficionados are able to sway races their way. However, this certainly not to say that exchanges are all running fixes. That is an unfair allegation!
There are many ways in which a jockey or trainer may fix a win. There may be underhanded bribery, betting cheats and more besides. Some people also engage in matched betting tactics. In some cases, jockeys may even choose to ‘throw’ or give up a race for a financial bribe.
However, it is comforting to know that many would not dream of exercising this. The fact is, fixing is getting harder to arrange. However, the concept of a fix is likely to dog the sport for some time to come. What we do know is that clampdowns are rifer than ever before.
How Common Are Fixed Horse Races?
Thankfully, the risk of a fix is very rare indeed. Fixing is something which takes extreme bravado and risk. Therefore, it is safe to assume that jockeys are, in the main, unlikely to force their horses to pull up. As it’s proven that fixing can ruin careers and livelihoods, it’s unlikely many high profile jockeys and trainers of race horses will want to put so much on the line.
Of course, this is based on what little information we have. It’s safe to say, though, that the majority of people who train horses do so to win, and to win fairly, meaning that the sport rarely falls into quite this level of disrepute.
Can Owners Bet On Their Own Horse?
Theoretically, yes. It is not only possible for a horse owner to bet on their own steed, it is technically legal in the UK, too. 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.
However, this has sadly not stopped some jockeys and owners from bringing things into disrepute. Any members of a stable or the BHA should ensure they are abiding by the fair rules set by the organisation. This helps to keep the sport fun, fair, and balanced as far as winning chances are concerned.
Owners might want to bet on their own mares if they feel they stand a great chance at winning! However, if they start to bet against themselves, things start to look a little fishy. Owners, jockeys and trainers all have the power to throw races. Thankfully, this power is rarely exercised.
Should I Worry About Fixing?
There are many legitimate reasons why many bettors worry about races and fixes. However, as stated, these cases are very much in the rarity of things. Thanks to intervention from the BHA, it is harder now for jockeys and owners to tip the balance in their favour at an exchange or two. Therefore, there is much more risk to losing reputation, and in some cases, careers.
Fallon was a huge example of someone who continued to fix racing despite the rules clearly stating otherwise. His behaviour resulted in his reputation being tarnished, and for most jockeys, it’s a risk that simply isn’t worth taking. For the sake of a bit of extra money on the side, a horse rider could chance their whole career and livelihood in a moment of sheer stupidity.
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.