Something Similar: Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing

Something Similar: Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing

For speed-loving Aussies, a day at horse or greyhound races means seeing magnificent creatures in action, a few drinks and laughs with the mates, and maybe even some betting.

Racing is something of a national pastime, and many appreciate the similarities between horse racing and greyhound racing enough to feel quite at home at the courses of either.

Find out more about the two forms of racing, and what makes them similar, from the naming of horses and hounds to courses and betting options.

Elements of Horse Racing

Here are a few of the elements of horse racing:

  • Regulatory structures and a racing code
  • Races are limited to a specified number of horses
  • Professional racing stables and training facilities
  • Physical racecourses
  • Among the different types of racing are flat racing, harness racing, jump racing or steeplechasing, and endurance racing – Flat racing, which is done on an oval course, is the most common form worldwide
  • Different horse breeds are used in different forms of racing – Thoroughbred, Arabian, Appaloosa, Paint, and Quarter Horse are used in flat and jump racing, and Standardbreds, French, and European Trotters are used in harness racing
  • Among the major events are the Dubai World Cup, Epsom Derby, Japan Cup, Kentucky Derby, Melbourne Cup, and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Elements of Greyhound Racing

Some of the elements of greyhound racing are:

  • Regulatory structures and a racing code
  • Races are limited to a specified number of dogs
  • Professional racing kennels
  • Physical racecourses
  • The two forms of greyhound racing are track racing, which is usually done on an oval track, and coursing, in which dogs chase a mechanical lure
  • Among the major events are the Melbourne Cup for greyhounds, Golden Easter Egg, English Derby, Irish Derby, and Greyhound Night of Stars (USA)

Horse and Greyhound Racing Betting

Both horse racing and greyhound racing provide Australian punters with opportunities for betting at land-based and online bookmakers where, for example, Geelong Cup Betting is popular. Here are some key features:

  • Both sports allow for pari-mutuel betting, as well as for bookmakers to make odds markets
  • Horse racing and greyhound racing betting allows for bet types such as win, place, each-ways, exactas, quinellas, trifectas, and superfectas

Racing Betting - online sports betting - horse racing

The Naming of Horses and Hounds

In both horse and greyhound racing, animals usually have unusual names. The naming of horses and hounds is subject to various rules:

  • Horse and greyhound names are subject to character limits – in some places, horses’ names may contain 18 characters or less, whereas greyhounds’ names may contain 16 characters or less
  • Names must be approved by horse racing or greyhound racing regulatory bodies
  • No two horses in training may share a name
  • Greyhounds may not be named after well-known Standard- or Thoroughbred race horses
  • Horses and greyhounds may not have names that are crude, offensive, discriminatory, or have political or religious connotations

At the Races

Horse racing and greyhound racing codes usually stipulate race distances, handicap rules, and more:

  • In horse racing, flat races range in distance between shorter sprints of at least 400m to as far as 4km staying races or routes
  • Horses running in races may be weighted – conditions races see horses allocated the same weight, while handicap races see horses assigned a weight based on their ability
  • In greyhound racing, track races are run at distances between 77m and 1.1km, while coursing usually takes place over 500m

Robyn Barnes