Behind the Scenes: Can Trainers Bet on Their Horses?


Horse racing is undoubtedly a sport that relies heavily on the betting that takes place there. There are many professions, organizations, events and people in the horse racing and betting world, so it is only natural that there are concerns about who is allowed to bet. Therefore, some laws specify the betting rules for horse owners, jockeys and horse trainers. Here’s some behind-the-scenes information on whether trainers can bet on their horses.

Coaches and betting

Jockeys, horse owners and trainers each have different rules regarding betting on their horses, although each of them has special interests in their horses. Although the the rules are tougher for owners and jockeys, surprisingly, coaches have more relaxed restrictions on betting. Generally, horse trainers are allowed to bet on horses with only one notable limitation. In accordance with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), trainers must not bet on horses in their care or control, ask others to do so, or obtain the proceeds from such bets.

Therefore, trainers cannot bet against their winning horses, and if the trainers’ bets have a winning horse prediction, then that winning prediction should be their horse. This restriction on the pose of your horse makes horse betting simple and fair. The BHA introduced this rule against laying your horse in 2003 following a trainer and owner incident.

Why are coaches allowed to bet?

Concerns quickly arose about horse trainers being able to bet on races when owners and jockeys did not. Coaching influence, insider information, and other potential conflicts of interest are all legitimate reservations people have as to why coaches should refrain from the entire betting process.

However, the various horse racing governing bodies have measures in place to ensure that coaches cannot abuse their position to gain an unfair betting advantage. For trainers, their direct salary comes from their training rather than from the proceeds of the bets generated by their horse. As such, trainers do not deeply influence their horse’s performance on a specific day or track. Even the most successful horse trainers have a 25% success rate for their horses, so any “inside knowledge” is relatively unnecessary. Therefore, the influence of a trainer on the results of a race is considered long term, compared to a jockey which can directly influence the outcome of an immediate event.

Also, it should be noted that if a trainer wants to make money quickly by sabotaging his horse, this is counterproductive in the long run. For example, the trainer may acquire an undesirable reputation as an unreliable professional, affecting the majority of his income. Additionally, any time spent training a particular horse will be wasted if it ends in sabotage. Therefore, the reasons why a trainer sabotages a horse do not outweigh the reasons for being sincere in his efforts.

Nevertheless, trainers can communicate their knowledge and expectations for a particular horse or race to the media. These conversations can affect the way bets are made. It is not uncommon to find articles on daily tips for horse racing betting on reputable horse racing sites which take into account information revealed during such conversations. However, these discussions must remain informal and not a matter of direct information exchange for the sport to remain honest.


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