We all know that horse racing is a thriving industry in the United Kingdom, with millions of pounds wagered every time there’s a meeting. It isn’t just in-person that bets can be placed either, with people typically choosing to spend their time and money using online bookmakers to place their wagers. At a number of meetings up and down the country, it isn’t just horse racing that takes place. It isn’t uncommon for pony racing it be a welcome site at such meetings, with the actual sport being something that you can read about in more detail elsewhere on this site.
The interesting thing about pony racing is that the jockeys are limited to be between the ages of nine and 17-years-old, which means that placing bets on them is essentially placing bets on a minor. Given the fact that you can’t place wagers on Under-16s football matches, for example, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the same sort of rules were in place on pony betting. The reality, though, is very different from that, with on-site bookmakers happy to take wagers on the pony racing as if they’re real races, with no maximum bet amount in place either.
Pony Racing Explained
You can read about what pony racing is in more detail elsewhere on the site, but it is at least worth a quick explanation so that we understand why betting on it is something people might want to do. In essence, pony racing is just like horse racing, with the biggest difference being that it is done on ponies rather than horses.
The Pony Racing Authority was formed in the United Kingdom in 2007, three years after the discipline started up officially for the first time over year. The Racecourse Association, the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association and the Jockey Club are shareholders in the Pony Racing Authority.
It is seen as a gateway for young people to learn not only about riding but also about the way in which professional meetings and events tend to work. The ponies themselves are aged between five and 20, meaning no more than 148 centimetres if they are to be used for the races. The races themselves work in pretty much exactly the same way that horse races work, taking place on the same courses that point-to-point meetings use every week.
There are also pony races that occur at the various racecourses up and down the country, including the likes of Ascot and Cheltenham.
Betting On The Pony Racing
Whilst betting on horse racing is a common occurrence that everyone is used to, the same isn’t true of pony racing. Indeed, you might well head to a point-to-point or horse racing meeting and not even realise that pony racing is taking place, let alone that you can place bets on it.
The way that it works is similar in nature to how horse racing works, up to and including the fact that the contestants will be weighed-out and weighed-in in order to make sure that everything is as it should be. There are still stewards watching the events to ensure that the jockeys obey the rules and so on.
Indeed, the only thing that you’d notice was any different between horse racing and pony racing is the ages of the jockeys and the size of the animals they are riding, although even the latter is probably not all that noticeable when you consider the relative difference in sizes. It is, to all intents and purposes, just a miniaturised version of the horse racing meeting itself.
This includes being able to place bets on the outcome of the races, with bookmakers happy to take wagers on what is going to happen and which of the ponies and jockeys will come out on top in the races.
No Maximum Bets
Given the nature of pony racing, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there might be a maximum bet that can be placed on the races, but that isn’t the case. The minimum wager that you’ll be asked to place is usually around £2 to £5, depending on the bookmaker’s own rules on the matter.
When it comes to the top-end of the wager, meanwhile, there is nothing to worry about on that front. Most bookies will allow you to bet as much as you’d like to, with the only limit being their own payout limits on the things that they offer wagers on. In other words, they might not payout more than £10,000, say, but that’s not because it’s pony racing.
Instead, that limit is there simply because they limit how much they will pay out on all things, so they’ll have a limit on pony racing just like any other sport. You can, of course, place bets that would pay out in excess of their maximum payout if you want to, but you’re only going to be disappointed when you’re expecting, say, £16,400 back from your bet and they give you £10,000. Again, this is nothing to do with the fact that it is pony racing and everything to do with the rules that bookmakers put in place so that they don’t face too much exposure from really big bets.
You Can’t Bet Online
The interesting thing about pony racing is that it is not something that you tend to be able to place bets on online. The majority of online bookmakers are placed to be able to allow wagers on the biggest events, so they’re the things that they know about. You are unlikely to be able to place bets on point-to-point races, so it’s perhaps not all that surprising that you can’t do so on the pony racing that takes place at point-to-point meetings. If you head to a point-to-point venue and get a taste for betting on the pony racing, however, just be aware you won’t be able to do it away from the track.
In some ways, this is a nice flashback to the way that racing used to be. You are limited to the odds being offered by the on-track bookmakers, who don’t need to worry about the competition that they’re facing from online betting sites before trying to get as much money off you as they can. Instead, they’re competing against the other on-site bookies who are also willing to take bets on pony racing. It is all entirely legal and above board, it’s simply that the online bookmakers don’t have the same information as the on-site ones do so the risk on accepted bets on the pony racing is too great for them.