Swedish Trotting on Betfair: Everything you need to know

Horses and drivers take the bend in a Swedish trotting race
Trotting is popular with bettors in Sweden

There's a busy Swedish trotting programme going on so here's our guide to the sport, including famous tracks and best starting positions, penned by trotting expert Calle Törnqvist...

"Betting on trotting is a big tradition in Sweden and many punters have discovered the benefits of backing and laying on the Betfair Exchange."

Tracks and horses

Trotting is a popular sport in Sweden. There are more than 30 trotting tracks in the country and many of them stage races all year round. The racetrack with the most big races is Solvalla near the capital Stockholm.

Every lap at Solvalla is 1,000 metres and the stretch is 196 metres which is standard. Åby (outside Gothenburg) is another famous track but it's different from most others, in part because on the last lap the drivers can use two extra lanes in the finishing stretch. They are called "open stretch" and give horses - that usually get stuck behind the opponents - a chance to sprint on the inside of the first lane.

Almost every race in the south of Sweden involves horses that, in some way, have origins in France or United States. In the north, it's more common to see cold-blooded trotting horses in action. They run much slower and for that reason they only compete against each other.

Two start methods

There are never more than 15 horses in a Swedish trotting race. In many races the auto start is used with a car driving in front of the horses. If 15 horses are racing then eight of them will start in the first tier. There are up to four horses in the second tier and - in races called "spårtrappa" (track staircase) - there's a third tier with up to three horses. Summary: 1-8, then 9-12, then 13-15.

Swedish trotting.jpg

The other start method is the volt start. It's quite difficult to explain every detail but let's make a summary: positions 1, 6 and 7 are the best and, with a fast horse, you often take the lead from that numbers. Positions 2, 3, 4 and 5 also have open space but they're a bit narrower (especially 2, 4 and 5 which lead to many gallops at the start). Horses in positions eight to 12 start behind the others.

Most trotting events include handicap races, with a volt start. Horses that have earned more money than their opponents have to start 20 metres behind and sometimes there are horses starting 40 and even 60 metres behind the rest.

Rules and equipment

The most common distance for a trotting race is 2,140 metres which is called middle distance. Races over 1,640 metres are short/sprint distance and 2,640 metres is long distance. There are more distance options but they're rarely used.

The horses are allowed to gallop but not in the last 100 metres, not more than twice in the race, not for too long and not when they've gained a position thanks to the gallop.

Many different types of equipment are used to get the best out of every horse. Most of the horses are best without shoes and some of them are more competitive with a bike of the American model. You can also try different bridles to get the horse more focused or use ear plugs that you take out during the race.

Trotting on the Betfair Exchange

Betting on trotting is a big tradition in Sweden and many punters have discovered the benefits of the Betfair Exchange. Just like racing in the UK and Ireland and elsewhere, you can back at odds you consider favourable or choose your own odds and hope you get matched before the race. And of course this is Betfair so you can also choose to lay a horse in a trotting race, maybe a favourite, if you think their odds are too short.

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