Horse Racing Tips South Africa: Complete Guide

Horse Racing South Africa tips guide

Introduction to Horse Racing Guide

  • The history and culture of horse racing in South Africa
  • Key Horse Racing Tracks in South Africa
  • Factors to Consider When Betting on Horse Races
  • Essential Horse Racing Tips for Beginners
  • Advanced Horse Racing Tips for Experienced Bettors
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs
  • Horse Racing Resources

History and Culture of horse racing in South Africa

Horse racing has been a beloved sport in South Africa since the 17th century. The sport quickly became popular, and the first recorded horse race took place in 1797 in the Cape Colony. As the sport grew in popularity, the first Jockey Club in South Africa was established in 1882. During the early 20th century, the horse racing industry received a significant boost when gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand region. This led to the construction of new racecourses and the establishment of major horse racing events, such as the Durban July Handicap and the Sun Met. Though the sport has not been without controversy, it remains a popular form of entertainment in South Africa. Today, major events like the Durban July Handicap and the Sun Met continue to draw large crowds and receive significant media attention. Notably, South Africa has produced successful jockeys such as Felix Coetzee and Piere “Striker” Strydom, who have achieved international success.

Pierre Strydom wins the Durban July
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 02: The Winner THE CONGLOMERATE (AUS) (Jockey) Piere Strydom (Trainer) Joey Ramsden during the 2016 Vodacom Durban July at Greyville Racecourse on July 02, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Horse racing tracks South – Africa

  1. Turffontein Racecourse – Is one of the oldest and most prestigious located in Johannesburg. Hosts to several high-profile races throughout the year, including the South African Derby and the Summer Cup.
  2. Greyville Racecourse – Popular track, located in Durban attracting thousands of spectators for races such as Durban July and more.
  3. Durbanville Racecourse – Is a relatively new redeveloped track and has been getting a lot of work. Winter Classic and the Winter Guineas is under Durbanville big races for the year calendar.
  4. Scottsville Racecourse – Is located in Pietermaritzburg and is known for its undulating track and tight turns. It hosts several races throughout the year, including the prestigious Gold Cup.
  5. Kenilworth Racecourse – Cape racing is known for its beautiful location and views and hosts several major races throughout the year, including the prestigious Queen’s Plate now changed back in 2023 to the Kings Plate.
  6. Vaal Racecourse – One of the busiest horse racing tracks and host to the largest horse field size of 40 runners in a race.
  7. Fairview Racecourse – Located in Port Elizabeth also has a Poly track.
  8. Borrowdale Park Racecourse – (located in Zimbabwe but features South African horses and jockeys)

Factors to Consider When Betting on Horses

  1. Horse Form and Current / Past Performance: The form and performance of the horse are critical indicators of its potential performance in a race. It’s essential to look in to the horse’s previous races, including its win-loss record, speed ratings, and recent form. Consider factors such as the distance of the race, the track conditions, and the horse’s preferred racing style to determine if it’s well-suited for the upcoming race. Also note what horses he has beaten in previous starts.
  2. Jockey Claim / Form and Experience: Jockeys play a significant role in a horse’s performance in a race. Research the jockey’s previous performances and with the horse they teaming up with determine if they are capable of bringing out the best in the particular horse. Consider factors such as the jockey’s experience, style, claiming weight and track record to make an informed decision.
  3. Trainer Success: The trainer’s ability to prepare the horse for a race is crucial to performance. Mostly well established and well supported trainers will have a higher strike rate, research the trainer’s success rate with jockey combo + consider factors such as the trainer’s experience, yard size and jockey booking the horses they have trained, and the race class they are entering.
  4. Track Conditions: Surface type and weather, can significantly impact a horse’s performance. Consider factors such as the track’s surface condition such as Poly track or Turf (grass), the distance of the race, the barrier draw and the weather forecast to determine if a horse is well-suited for the race and condition.
  5. Weather Conditions: Wind, rain, and temperature, can also impact a horse’s performance. Consider how weather conditions may affect the horse’s form and performance or track making it a soft, good, hard going and adjust your betting strategy accordingly.

By considering these factors when betting on horse races, you can make more informed decisions and increase your chances of success.

Essential Horse Racing Tips for Beginners

If you are completely a new punter in the exciting rush of horse racing, As this article has shown some factors to betting on horses it’s important to remember that it’s not just about choosing a horse based on looks or names and hoping for the best. As a beginner punter its very important to do betting research and gather as much information as possible before placing your bets. Getting advice from experienced well known trusted tipsters in the begging can be extremely helpful to improve your betting success and to get to know the sport.

There are numerous resources available for horse racing tips, ranging from free guides to paid subscription services. Free horse racing tools to easily study from lines, with extra resources like blogs, forums, and social media groups dedicated to horse racing. These platforms can help you achieve better betting success and keep you up to date with the latest news.

As you become confident and more experienced in punting, you can consider investing in paid horse racing tipping service and combining your knowledge and research with your preferred tipster tips and when your tips match you know you a bit more confidence behind your selection. Reputable and high-quality tipping services can provide in-depth analysis and selections with insights into upcoming races, giving you an edge when placing your bets.

If you’re looking for reliable and comprehensive horse racing tips, Pocket the Winner is an excellent resource to start with, we offer a wide range of free and paid tips and resources to help bettors of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced bettor, our horse racing tips and strategies can increase your chances of success in punting. Visit our tips page to learn more.

Advanced Horse Racing Tips for Experienced Bettors

  1. Study track bias: Certain tracks tend to favour certain horses with a specific running style or gate draw position. By studying the track bias at each respected track, you can identify horses that are likely to perform well based on their running style and draw.
  2. Follow jockey and trainer combos: Experienced bettors often track and know the performance of South Africa’s top jockeys and trainers and identify patterns and jockey bookings for certain races because of the good performance when teaming up. By following jockey and trainer combos, you can identify horses that are likely to perform well or have their peak run based on the jockey and trainer combination.
  3. Use handicapping techniques: Handicapping is the process of analyzing a horse true potential in a race and to identify the strongest contenders in a race. Experienced bettors often use handicapping to the advantage, such as MR drop or rise in handicap then looking also in to the pace of each race, speed figures, and class analysis, to identify the horses that are most likely to win or have a good finish.
  4. Understand the impact of equipment changes: Equipment changes, such as blinkers or tongue ties, can have a significant impact on a horse’s performance. Experienced bettors often study equipment changes and how they may impact a horse’s performance.
  5. Keep track of trainer and owner comments: Using Facebook groups or contacts to your advantage is a known winning factor for experienced punters they normally have a trusted punter, or informant. But keep in mind the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of “inside info” these inside info can go wrong and remember a race isn’t run on paper, so many things can go wrong.
  6. Analyze betting patterns and prices: Experienced bettors often analyze betting patterns and horse prices to identify horses that are receiving significant betting support or have seen a significant shift in the odds. By analyzing betting patterns, you can identify horses that may be over or under value for you to take advance of those opportunities and win.

By using some of these advanced horse racing tips, experienced bettors can gain an edge over the competition and increase their chances of success.


So, to summarize our article on the guide to horse racing in South Africa, covering the history and culture of the sport, key horse racing tracks, factors to consider when betting on horses, essential horse racing tips for beginners, advanced tips for experienced bettors, FAQs, and horse racing resources. The article discusses the factors to consider when betting on horses, including horse form and performance, jockey experience, trainer success, and track and weather conditions. The tips for beginners include doing betting research and gathering information from experienced tipsters, while the advanced tips cover more complex strategies such as handicapping and exotic bets. The article also provides a list of resources for horse racing enthusiasts, including free guides, blogs, tools, and social media groups, as well as horse tipping services.

FAQs – Horse Racing South Africa

What are some other major horse racing events in South Africa besides the Durban July and Sun Met?

Cape Guineas, the Summer Cup, the Queen’s / Kings Plate, Gold Cup, Dstv Vase, Algoa Cup and the Cape Derby, SA Classic, SA Fillies Classic and so many more great Grade 1 races in South Africa.

Are there any notable horses that have come out of South Africa and achieved international success?

Horse Chestnut best SA horse

Yes, there are several notable horses that have come out of South Africa and achieved international success, including Horse Chestnut, Pocket Power, and Jay Peg. Horse Chestnut is perhaps the most famous.

What is the difference between a Polytrack and a Turf track in horse racing?

Poly and Turf track difference

A Polytrack is a synthetic surface made from a mixture of sand, fibers, and recycled rubber, while a Turf track is made from natural grass. Polytracks are generally easier to maintain and durable for rain and other weather conditions on the day, while Turf tracks can be affected by weather rain making it soft, muddy going and require more maintenance.

Can you provide more information on the different racing styles and how they can affect a horse’s performance?

There are several different racing styles, and each horse is different but some styles is front runners, stalkers, closers, and deep closers. Front runners are horses that like to set the pace and run at the front of the pack try and stay in front for the full race, while closers are horses that like to come from behind. A horse’s preferred racing style can have an impact on its performance, as certain styles may be better suited to certain track conditions or race distances.

How important is the barrier draw in horse racing, and what impact can it have on a horse’s performance?

The barrier draw, which determines a horse’s starting position in a race, can be very important in horse racing but also depends on the distance and track, example if they running a 1000m Sprint its a straight course the barrier draw doesnt play that big of a part but if they go around the bend lets say for a 1600m race then a good draw is better so you dont have to use extra vital energy and take long routes around the track.

What are some common mistakes that beginner bettors make when betting on horse races?

Some common mistakes that beginner bettors make when betting on horse races include not doing enough research, betting too much money, and not understanding the different types of bets available.

How can one stay up to date with the latest news and developments in the horse racing industry in South Africa?

One can stay up to date with the latest news and developments in the horse racing industry in South Africa by following industry publications, such as Sporting Post and follow the racing industry experts, trainers and jockeys on social media.

How to place a bet on horse racing?

To place a bet on a horse races in South Africa, one must first register with a licensed bookmaker at Pocket The Winner we preffer to use one of SA best bookmaker Hollywoodbets they also give you a bonus registration + 50 Free spins.

How does one become a professional horse racing tipster, and what are some tips for success in this field?

To become a professional horse racing tipster or punter, one must have a deep knowledge of the sport and a track record of successful smart betting. Some tips for success in this field include doing extensive research, keeping detailed records of past bets.

Horse Racing Resources

  1. Racing Association – racingassociation.co.za
  2. Sporting Post – www.sportingpost.co.za
  3. Gold Circle – goldcircle.co.za
  4. Racing Post – www.racingpost.com
  5. Daily Racing Form – www.drf.com
  6. Horse Racing Tips – www.pocketthewinner.co.za

These websites provide a wealth of information about horse racing, including news, results, race cards, betting tips, tools and more racing related content.