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Peter Addison
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Until it was overtaken in the 1990s by football, horse racing was by far and away the biggest betting market in the UK. Daily racing meets at famous courses such as Goodwood, Newmarket, Aintree and Epsom saw hundreds of thousands of pounds stacked on hugely popular thoroughbreds like Red Rum, Desert Orchid and Tiger Roll.

Horse racing is still a massive deal to thousands of punters despite the growth of football betting. If you’re one of them, then SafeBettingSites is here to help. We rank safe, legal and secure bookies such as 888sport, bet365 and Spreadex so you know the best betting sites for horse racing to take a punt on today’s runners and riders.

Our Recommended Top Horse Racing Betting Sites for UK Punters

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Horse Racing Sites – A Closer Look at the UK Top 5

So, now you have been informed about the sports books we think should take the top spots when it comes to horse racing, but you’ll probably want to know a bit more about some of them before you decide where to sign up. Here for you are some important details about the sites that we think are the five hottest when it comes to placing a punt on the nags.

1. Spreadex - Number One Site for Horse Racing Bets

Spreadex takes the number one spot in our list because of the impressive range of horse racing options available at the site. Spreadex goes into excessive details about each day’s runners and riders outlining form, jockey success and several other factors that should allow you to make informed decisions about which horses to back, and which horses to steer well clear of.

Betting sites - Spreadex

One thing you need to be aware of though is that Spreadex is a spread betting site, and not fixed odds. This means when you place a bet, you may lose more than your stake. Conversely, should your horse win by some considerable distance, you will win much more than you would at a fixed odds site. If you are unsure about this, check out our spread betting guide.

If you don’t want to get involved with spread betting at all at Spreadex then that is absolutely fine as the site offers fixed odds betting too. On all market pages just switch from ‘Spread Betting’ to ‘Fixed Odds’ by clicking on the relevant tab.

fa_shield-checkWhat we like:

  • The UK’s leading sports spread betting site for horse racing
  • Better returns than with fixed odds betting
  • All major daily meetings covered
  • Bet using the amazing mobile app
  • Fixed odds for horse racing available too

fa_shield-closeWhat we don’t:

  • Welcome bonus not usually available
  • Promotions uncommon
2. Bet365 - Simple But Effective

Bet365 has been a supremely effective sports book in the UK since 2000 – so that’s now two decades worth of success. The amazing thing about Bet365 though is that the site has barely changed since it sprang into life, although of course it is sleeker and response times have improved several-fold. The no-nonsense interface is probably the biggest reason why Bet365 has been such a success, so you can see why it has not been changed that much.

bet365-homepage-

The horse racing aspect of Bet365 is simply superb, which is why the site ranks so highly on our list of the leading and safest UK betting sites for horse racing. All the UK & Ireland daily meetings are covered in incredible detail, and you’ll always find you’ve access to global meetings too, including those in France, the US, South Africa and Australia. An excellent site for horse racing betting fans and betting fans of any sport, including eSports.

fa_shield-checkWhat we like:

  • Outstanding betting platform
  • Great welcome offer with decent horse racing betting terms
  • Ace apps for iOS and Android
  • Cash out always available
  • Ongoing promotions a constant factor

fa_shield-closeWhat we don’t:

  • Simple design may not appeal to all
  • No Skrill or Neteller deposits/withdrawals
3. 888sport - Best odds guaranteed on UK & Irish races

If you were asked which sports betting site is the biggest in the UK, then, depending upon your knowledge of sports betting in the country, you may plump for 888sport. That’s not the reason why 888 has been placed so high on our list of the leading horse racing online betting sites in the UK though – it’s because 888sport guarantees the best horse racing odds on any meeting available to bet on at the site, which is basically any horse racing meet taking place that day anywhere in the world!

888sport free bet qualifying wager

888sport is simply the sports betting arm of what is one of the biggest sports betting companies anywhere on the globe. The 888 group has brands for casino, poker and bingo, as well as 888sport. This hugely succesful company pulls in over $11 million in income every year. If you want to place a horse racing bet with the knowledge that you’re getting the best odds possible, then 888sport is the site you need to use.

fa_shield-checkWhat we like:

  • You will not find better odds anywhere else
  • Watch any race on the site as long as you are logged in
  • ‘Betfinder’ feature will locate any horse running on the day
  • Site lists most popular horse racing bets
  • Filter horse by course and distance winners

fa_shield-closeWhat we don’t:

  • Boring site design
  • Support has drawn criticism in the past
4. QuinnSport - No deposit bet and among the best betting sites for horse racing Ireland

QuinnBet is the newest site on our top five list of the best horse racing betting sites for UK-based punters, but the people behind it have a much longer history. QuinnBet has been created by successful Irish entrepreneur Stephen Quinn who was once regarded as the richest man in the country. Others have overtaken him since then but perhaps QuinnBet is destined to help him find the top spot once more.

betting sites - QuinnBet

If you know anything about Ireland and sport then you will know the emerald isle is synomymous with horse racing. Over time, Ireland has produced outstanding jockeys (Ruby Walsh, Pat Eddery and Tony McCoy), superbly successful trainers (Willie Mullins, Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld) and some incredible horses (Shergar, Arkle and Dawn Run). The Irish love of horse racing is reflected at QuinnBet as horse racing is the primary betting activity at the site. You’ll find race cards at places from the UK and Ireland to Japan and New Zealand, and enough information about the day’s races to make even the most demanding horse racing betting online fans more than satisfied.

fa_shield-checkWhat we like:

  • An amazing site for horse racing betting
  • Market-leading odds guaranteed
  • Enhanced odds offers usually available
  • Racing offers – win even if your horse can only finish third!
  • Site even has virtual horse racing

fa_shield-closeWhat we don’t:

  • No live streaming
5. PaddyPower - Number one for Irish bookmaking

PaddyPower have been around since 1998 and have always been a betting operation that has never been afraid to court controversy. For example, Huddersfield Town began the 2019/20 season wearing a strip that was basically a walking PaddyPower advert. The Terriers were fined £50,000 and then went the rest of the season without a shirt sponsor, even though PaddyPower still paid their sponsorship fee. PaddyPower seemed to have – thankfully – calmed down from their gimmicky history of late.

paddy power SPOTY

Serious sports bettors are free to use PaddyPower and the horse racing coverage at the site is universally excellent. The horse racing aspect of PaddyPower does play second fiddle to football though, which is a little disappointing. You can find all the race meetings of the day in the UK and Ireland at this site, but race meetings beyond these borders are usually unavailable.

fa_shield-checkWhat we like:

  • Refer a friend for a £10 surprise bet
  • Racing Post tips
  • Search function for runners and riders
  • Turbo power prices to boost your winnings

fa_shield-closeWhat we don’t:

  • Best Odds Guaranteed limited to selected meetings
  • Limited number of overseas markets

How we Rank Horse Racing Betting Sites

In order to separate the top horse racing betting sites from the rest, our experts have taken a wide range of factors into account. Safety was the first thing we looked at, and you can rest assured that all our recommended sportsbooks carry strong security measures and legitimate licenses. In addition, we focused on several of the most important areas for horse racing bettors, which you can read about below.

  • Race Coverage
    The likes of the Grand National, Royal Ascot, and Cheltenham Festival will be covered everywhere. Where bookies really distinguish themselves is in their coverage of other races. At top sites, this should include every single race in the UK and Ireland at a minimum. We also like to see events in other major markets – like the USA, France, Australia, and South Africa – being represented. QuinnBet, for example, allows you to bet on all these markets and more.
  • Bet Types
    A good horse racing sportsbook won’t just cover lots of races, but give you plenty of flexibility in how you bet on them. In addition to race winner wagers, each ways are an absolute ‘must-have’, with place odds of 1/4 or 1/5 depending on the number of runners. Bookies providing other variations – such as straight multiples, exotic multiples (like trifectas), and even tote pools – were given a boost in our rankings. Ladbrokes, for example, ticks all these boxes and more.
  • Starting Prices
    We’ve verified that all our recommended sites offer highly competitive odds for racing bettors, giving them the best bang for their buck. In the best cases, sportsbooks like Bet365 have even issued a ‘Price Promise’, guaranteeing the highest odds around on certain premium races. We’ve also checked, however, that the odds for less attention-grabbing races – including those outside the UK and Ireland – are fair
  • Special Features
    Live streaming is the most eye-catching special feature for horse racing. While its actual utility is debatable (statistical analysis is infinitely more useful than the eye test for racing), it certainly makes your betting experience more fun. 888sport is one site with plenty of live-streamed horse races. The quality of a site’s mobile apps is also crucial to many modern racing bettors. The likes of in-house betting tips, event previews, and form guides can also be very helpful, ‘Bet Finders’ can save you time, and Bet Builders (or ‘Build A Racecard’) tools make it much easier to craft multiples.
  • Horse Racing Promos
    The more racing-specific offers a bookie provides, the better. Best odds guaranteed, faller insurance, money-back specials, and odds boosts are some classic examples. BetVictor not only offers enticing ongoing promotions, but has a special welcome offer for horse racing bettors too.
  • Quick Payouts
    When you’ve backed a winner on the track, you want a swift payout. Most top horse racing bookies offer what they call the Double Result. This means they payout on both the first past the post and any amended result following a stewards’ enquiry. You can expect a fast payout from Bet365 on plenty more than just horse racing wagers.
  • Betting Licenses
    You’ll only find fully licensed horse racing bookmakers with the seal of approval from the UK Gambling Commission on SafeBettingSites. The clue is in the name. We only recommend industry regulated and reliable bookies.
  • Range of Payment Methods
    However you fund your gambling, it’s good to have a choice when opening or topping up your account. Leading horse racing betting sites know this only too well and should thus offer a range of payment options. These need to include traditional methods like bank transfer or a debit card and internet friendly eWallet services such as PayPal or Apple Pay. We’ve been impressed with the range of payment options at 888sport recently.
  • Security and Privacy
    Protecting your account, data and personal information when betting on horse racing online is paramount, Here at SafeBettingSites, we only ever advertise bookmakers that take security and privacy very seriously by using encryption technology to keep everything safe.

Key Features of the Best Online Horse Racing Betting Sites

Here, for your convenience, are the most important features of the best online horse racing betting sites and which of the entries in our list of the top ten site supply them.

Sportsbook Live Betting Live Streaming Enhanced Odds
Cashout Bet Builder Each Way Specials
Spreadex fa_shield fa_shield-close fa_shield-close fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close
Bet365 fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close fa_shield
888sport fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close
QuinnBet fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close fa_shield
PaddyPower fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield
BetVictor fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield
10Bet fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close fa_shield-close
Betfred fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close
NetBet fa_shield fa_shield-close fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield fa_shield-close

Best Horse Racing Betting Systems That Work

You have two main ways to conduct your horse racing betting. The first is to place individual wagers as and when you please. The second is to follow a defined, specific system. If you choose to take the latter route, these are three famed horse racing betting systems which have been proven to work.

Beaten Favourites

This is arguably the most famous system around. It also happens to be one of the most straightforward to execute, and has a sound basis in betting psychology. 

Every race will have a favourite in place. A lot of the time, that runner won’t actually win. This system revolves around the public’s response to this happening, which – in most cases – is an overreaction. 

Having seen the favourite come up short in the last race, punters will be reluctant to then bet it in the next race. Bookies will therefore raise the odds accordingly, in an attempt to drive action. Lone Star might have been a 4/1 favourite on June 1st, for example, but have dropped all the way to 7/1 on June 8th. In turn, this – in theory – gives you additional value on a strong runner, who was good enough to be the favourite in the very last race.

In addition to simply finding beaten favourites, there are certain steps you must take to ensure you’re still making a smart pick. For example, you should check that the surface is the same for the second race as the first (e.g. not grass instead of all-weather track), that conditions are similar, that the race length is the same, and so on. The second race must also follow soon after the first (typically within 14 days), so that the condition of the horse itself won’t have changed significantly. 

The Beaten Favourites system might sound simplistic, but it has been proven – time and again – to be effective. 

Matched Betting

No risk matched betting strategies are more popularly associated with other sports, like tennis. They can be extremely profitable with horse racing too, though.

In short, matched betting involves taking both sides of a single market. To do this, you place the back bet on a sportsbook, using a free bet token. You then place the lay bet with a real money stake on an exchange, like Smarkets. Whatever the outcome, one of your wagers will obviously win. The trick is to ensure the odds match up in such a way that you actually make a profit. You can do this yourself, but it’s much easier to use one of the many excellent matched betting websites out there instead.

Even though horse racing obviously isn’t a ‘two outcome’ sport, it’s still easy to place matched wagers. You simply back a horse to win on the sportsbook, then lay that market on the exchange. 

Let’s say you’re interested in Lady Isabel at the 14:10 at Nottingham. You back it at 6.0 with a £10 free bet on William Hill, then lay it at 6.6 on Betfair with a £7.63 stake (this stake is calculated using a matched betting tool). If Lady Isabel wins, you get £7.27. If it loses, you get £7.25. Either way, you make money.

Dutching 

Dutching is arguably the most famous system in sports betting. The concept could hardly be more straightforward. Instead of committing to one outcome of a sports event, you bet on multiple outcomes. This lends itself perfectly to horse racing, in which the main challenge – unlike with a traditional two-sided contest – is the sheer number of competitors. 

With horse racing betting, wagering on all the runners would almost certainly not be profitable. Fortunately, you don’t need to. Some of the most basic stats in racing are that the favourite wins roughly 35% of the time, the second favourite wins 21%, and the third favourite wins 14%. If you wager on all three of those, therefore, you’ve got – on average – a 70% probability of one pick winning. 

Obviously, those are excellent chances. The key to actually profiting in the long-term, however, is calculating the right stakes to place on each runner, based on the odds for each of those three horses. While you can do this yourself, we’d recommend – as with matched betting – that you use a proper dutching calculator to avoid making mistakes.

Horse Racing Exchange Betting

With regular online sportsbooks, you must wager using the odds your bookie gives you. If Secretariat is priced at 8/1 to win the Kentucky Derby, that’s simply the price you must bet at. 

Exchange betting offers something completely different. For starters, you’re betting against other people, rather than against the bookie. Every time you bet on something happening (‘back’ it), another punter is betting it won’t happen (‘laying’ it). Instead of being limited to a certain price on a market, you can also get whatever odds you like, as long as someone is willing to take the other side. You can back Secretariat at 10/1 instead, for example, if another user is happy to lay that wager. 

This flexibility in odds is the biggest advantage of horse racing exchange betting. The other main benefit is that – instead of backing a bet – you can be the one to lay it instead. Check out the next section for more details on doing so. 

Along with a reduction in bet types and special offers, paying commission is the main drawback of using an exchange for your horse racing betting. With most exchanges, whenever you win a bet, you will be charged a small fee (5% on Betfair, for example). With that said, regular sportsbooks put a margin (or ‘vig’) on their odds, meaning that the probabilities of their prices never actually add up to 100%. In effect, this works similarly to paying a commission anyway.

There are far fewer betting exchanges available than sportsbooks, but you still have some excellent choices. Betfair is the most famous of all. It has the most liquidity by far (i.e. the most users), and covers races from the UK and Ireland, France, the USA, and Australia. We actually rate Smarkets more highly than Betfair, Betdaq and Matchbook are other solid options, and some sportsbooks – like Ladbrokes – also have exchange sections. 

Horse Racing Lay Betting

As noted, when using a betting exchange like Matchbook, there are two types of wagers you can place. The first – backing a bet – is more common. You should definitely not be afraid to use lay bets on horse racing too, however. 

Lay betting on horse racing does require a change of mindset. You’re essentially changing roles, from being the bettor to the bookmaker. The odds actually swing in your favour by doing this. If there are eight runners in a race, and you pick a winner, you obviously lose if any of the other seven comes first. With lay betting, it’s the opposite. Wager on a horse not to win, and – if any of the other seven runners come first – your bet is a winner. 

The trade-off for this benefit is that your potential winnings are lower, and your potential losses (your ‘liability’) are higher. If you ‘win’ a lay bet, you simply keep the backer’s stake. Lay a horse for £10, for example, and – when the bet gets matched – you’ll keep the other bettor’s £10 stake if the horse loses. If you’re laying the horse at 7.0 though, you’re on the hook for £70 if it does actually win, which will be paid out to the backer. Your risk, therefore, is much higher than your potential reward.

If you do want to try horse racing lay betting, we’d definitely recommend starting off by laying favourites. There are a few reasons for this. 

Firstly, favourites attract the majority of betting action, meaning your wager should be matched easily. Secondly, both the chances and odds are in your favour. The vast majority of the time (roughly 65%), the favourite won’t win. Accordingly, favourites tend to be underpriced, compared to their actual odds of coming first. If a race has 10 runners, and one of them – the favourite – has odds of only 3.0, this offers far better value to the lay bettor than the backer. Look for the lowest odds you can realistically find on these favourites, to minimise your liability.

New Horse Racing Betting Sites UK

You may see a site you’ve not heard of pop up on the internet and dismiss it immediately. If you are already comfortable with well-established online sportsbooks such as Bet365, 888sport and Betfred what’s the point of signing up for some new guys?

We can suggest two main reasons out of many for signing up with new horse racing betting sites UK. Firstly, the vast majority of new betting sites will offer some kind of new customer bonus – such as a free bet, a no-risk bet or a deposit bonus – for you completing your sign up. You can take advantage of this deal by creating an account and doing whatever you need to do to get your bonus.

The second reason is that the new site may offer something a little different to established sites. You may find a site that has more ongoing bonuses than the sites you are currently using, or innovative feartures such as easy-to-use bet builders which allow you to create your own bet. New horse racing betting sites UK such as the ones listed below are worth checking out.

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New customers & 18+ only. Min. deposit of £/€10. Qualifying real money bet of £/€10. Min odds greater than or equal to 1.5 required. E/W bets excluded. Offer credited within 48 hours. Additional T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly

The Most Experienced Horse Racing Bookies in the UK

If you are new to betting on the horses, you might prefer to use an established UK bookmakers rather than a new one. Here then is our guide to three UK bookies that you have almost definitely heard of even if you’ve never placed a horse racing bet in your life!

Ladbrokes Horse Racing Betting – Bet £10, Get £50

Ladbrokes have been around for one hell of a long time – since 1886 in fact. The company was once an exclusive betting firm for the filthy rich but all that changed in 1961 when betting shops were legalised. Ladbrokes horse racing betting has been available since then and with the best odds guaranteed and live streaming of practically all UK and Ireland meetings, this experienced site is one that’s unlikely to ever stress you out.

William Hill Horse Racing Betting – Bet £10 & Get £30

While not as long in the tooth as Ladbrokes, William Hill horse racing betting has been available since 1934, but only really to the general public since 1961. William Hill was – as you’ve probably worked out for yourself – founded by William Hill, who took illegal bets in Ireland before moving to London to commence legitimate operations. William Hill died in 1971 but his name lives on via one of the UK’s most popular sports books that offers an excellent betting platform complete with ‘Betting TV’, its own live horse racing and greyhounds streaming service.

Coral Horse Racing Betting – Get £20 in Free Bets When You Bet £5

Coral is the third in our list of established UK betting companies, even though as it was created (by Joe Coral) in 1926, it’s an older company than William Hill. Coral horse racing betting began perfectly legitimately in the 1920s but only at racecourses. In 1961 though, just like all its rivals, Coral started to open real-world betting shops when the government passed a law that legalised them. Coral today is actually owned by Ladbrokes but still operates under the Coral name. Like both Ladbrokes and William Hill, Coral offers live streaming and best odds guaranteed.

Most Popular Horse Racing Bet Types & Markets

When operating on horse racing online bookmakers, it is likely that punters will come across the following markets:

Horse Racing Markets and Betting

Winner

The most common method of betting on a horse race is staking on which runner and rider will win. Each entry is given a starting price, which can change in the build up to a race, based on a number of factors. In this instance, the horse in which you have backed must win in order for your bet to win. To make the correct choice you must consider many factors – when was the last time the horse ran? What is the condition of the course and how does your horse run on such ground? How does the horse’s jockey perform at the course? 888sport is a great site that has tons of important information.

Each Way

When there are a number of high quality horses in a race, it may be worthwhile placing an each way bet on the action. This means that your stake will be split into two, with half going on the horse to win and the other half going on it placing. The number of each-way places will depend on the number of runners in the race and the specific bookie, however it is likely to be somewhere between second place and fifth. Some sites, such as PaddyPower, will expand as far as sixth for settling an each-way bet.

Head to Head / Match Bets

Some horse racing sportsbooks will allow punters to bet on the battle between two horses in a specific race. Customers pick which horse they believe will finish ahead of the other. These are called match bets. If you feel one horse is going to run well but is unlikely to win, then you can select another horse in the race that you will think will fare worse. You can good prices at places such as QuinnBet if you want to create your own head-to-head battles.

Winning Distance

Similar to greyhound betting, when there is a clear favourite for an upcoming race, it may be rewarding to bet on them winning by a particular distance. Some horse racing sportsbooks offer this market, whether it be +20 lengths or a different distance. This is a good way to enhance the value for an overwhelming favourite. Spreadex is an excellent site for this kind of betting, as the greater the winning distance beyond the expected winning distance set by the site, the more you will win. Conversely, the narrower the winning distance below what is expected, the more you will lose, so take care!

Ante Post

Ante post betting involves betting on a horse racing well in advance of when it is due to take place. Many horse racing betting platforms introduce ante post markets twelve months in advance, almost as soon as the previous race has finished. Ante post odds are sometimes much more appealing than they are on race day. This is where best odds guaranteed promotions come into play too. Unfortunately, there is always some doubt as to which particular horses will take place in any race too far in the future, so keep checking the ante post prices at sites such as Bet365 if you want to guarantee the best horse racing early betting odds.

Specials

Total winning distance, National Hunt Jockeys title and Favourites Index points are among the specials markets found on horse racing sportbooks. Such markets offer something a little different to the traditional form of wagering on the sport. If you really study the form when it comes to horse racing you will get a genuine feel for the sport and be able to seek out specials that you can really take advantage of. Check out the bigger sites, such as Betfred, as they commonly offer specials more frequently than the smaller ones.

Double

A double is where you bet on two horses to win different races together in the same wager. Both must be successful for the bet to pay out. If you want to work out your potential profit and/or returns here, multiply the horse racing betting odds of the two legs together.

Treble

Add a third horse into a double and you’ve got yourself a treble. This is a wager on three horses to win their respective races on the same betslip. There should be even greater profits on offer with three prices to multiply together.

Accumulator

Any wager on one betslip with four or more selections to win is called an accumulator, or acca for short. These are popular in both horse racing and football, as well as other sports now. All legs of an accumulator must win for the bet to payout. You can win tons off very small stakes but need a lot of luck to pull such a wager off. As well as being a household name among horse racing betting sites, Ladbrokes are well-known for their accumulator offerings too.

Combination & System Bets

There are a whole range of what they call combination and system bets involving multiple horses in multiple races across multiple permutations available on horse racing betting sites today. These particular markets are more for the seasoned punter, who understands the complex nature of the following wager types:

  • Trixie (4 bets) – a treble and three doubles
  • Patent bet (7 bets) – a treble, three doubles and three singles
  • Yankee (11 bets) – a fourfold accumulator, four trebles and six doubles
  • Lucky 15 (15 bets) – a fourfold accumulator, four trebles, six doubles and four singles
  • Canadian (26 bets) – a fivefold accumulator, five fourfold accumulators, 10 trebles and 10 doubles
  • Lucky 31 (31 bets) – a fivefold accumulator, five fourfold accumulators, 10 trebles, 10 doubles and five singles
  • Heinz (57 bets) – a sixfold accumulator, six fivefold accumulators, 15 fourfold accumulators, 20 trebles and 15 doubles
  • Lucky 63 (63 bets) – a sixfold accumulator, six fivefold accumulators, 15 fourfold accumulators, 20 trebles, 15 doubles and six singles
  • Super Heinz (120 bets) – a sevenfold accumulator, seven sixfold accumulators, 21 fivefold accumulators, 35 fourfold accumulators, 35 trebles and 21 doubles
  • Goliath (247 bets) – an eightfold accumulator, eight sevenfold accumulators, 28 sixfold accumulators, 56 fivefold accumulators, 70 fourfold accumulators, 56 trebles and 28 doubles

There are offers applying to combination and system wagers including many of the above by Betfred through their All Correct Bonuses and One Winner Bonus deals.

Forecast

You can also back more than one horse in the same race on the same slip. A forecast lets you wager on which will come first and second. You also have the option of reversing it and covering both horses to finish first and second. The straight forecast includes a specified finishing order, whereas the reverse forecast is any order. Covering both permutations doubles your unit stake.

Tricast

It’s possible to go a step further from the Forecast and try a Tricast. This involves betting on three (or more) horses in the same race to finish first, second and third in a specific or any order. Unit costs increase the more permutations covered by punters.

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Jamie Clark

Try Betting Without the Favourite

“There are times when you can’t really oppose the favourite, yet there’s also little value in backing them. You have the option to take the most fancied runner out of the equation, though. Most of the top horse racing betting sites offer a without the favourite market for these circumstances. Back a horse here and if it wins the race outright, or finishes second to the favourite from the regular betting, you still get a payout from the bookies.”

Horse racing betting odds are likely to be available to view in two different formats – fractional or decimal. The odds surrounding runners and riders can change on numerous occasions in the build up to a race. Factors such as recent form, weight and injuries can see prices change, while some horse racing sportsbooks offer best odds guaranteed. This means that punters placing winning bets will receive the best price, no matter when wagers were placed.

Horse Racing Betting Offers

Most welcome offers are compatible with horse racing, and these deliver – by far – the biggest bonuses of all. Top bookies will also provide a range of ongoing promotions though, many of which can also be on racing.  These can be split into two main types. The first is those which save you money, like faller insurance or money-back specials. The second is those which make you more money, like enhanced odds or best odds guaranteed. 

Let’s take a look at both the different types of promotion and very best horse racing offers available in the UK right now:

  • Price Boosts – These horse racing betting offers either enhance the odds of a particular horse that the bookies want to push or put you in control. It’s better when you can choose the runner boost and get the next best industry recognised price up from the current market.
  • Money Back Deals – Promotions that refund your stake as a bonus or cash if your horse finishes second or placed in a certain race or to the SP favourite at selected meetings or events are common. Keep a lookout for these every day.
  • Free Bets – Any free bet you can get on horse racing betting sites is handy, simply because it means you don’t risk further capital on your next wager.
  • Extra Place Races – If each way bets pay out on four places instead of three, five rather than four, and so on, then that only acts as an incentive for you to take a punt. Extra Place Races are another of the key daily horse racing betting offers available with bookmakers.
  • Best Odds Guaranteed – Shortened to BOG, the concept is simple here. Back a horse on the day of the race and, if it drifts to a bigger starting price (SP) and wins, you get your winnings paid at the larger odds. Best odds guaranteed makes sure you don’t miss out.

1. My Odds Boost – Betfair Sportsbook

betfair sports bettingOdds boost offers can be found on many bookies. Betfair’s variation for horse racing, though – called MyOddsBoost – is arguably the best around. 

Instead of just getting one token at a time, Betfair actually gives you three separate boosts every single day. These will significantly inflate the original odds for your wager, and can be used on any race you like. The maximum stake when using a token is a reasonable £25, and the only requirement is that you’ve placed a wager within the last 30 days.

2. Acca Bonus – QuinnBet

quinnbet bettingQuinnBet has several horse racing deals available, including a very good version of Money Back If 2nd. For our money though, its Acca Bonus promotion is even better.

With this offer in place, you’ll net additional profits on all your winning multiples on horse racing. This will be given as a bonus, with the size depending on the number of selections. Two picks only gets you an extra 2%, but this jumps to 5% for a trebles, 10% for a 4-fold, and 20% for five or more selections. The maximum free bet amount is a healthy £50, and the minimum odds are a nice, low 3/10 (1.30) per selection.

3. Each Way Extra – Bet365

bet365 sportsbookThe each way is arguably the most sensible bet type for horse racing. With its Each Way Extra promotion, Bet365 makes a clear case for being the very best sportsbook on which to place these wagers.

Normally, the bookie tells you how many places you’re given on an each way, and what odds you’ll get. With Each Way Extra, you’re in control. You can either add places to increase your chances of making a return and lower your odds, or remove places to create a harder but more lucrative wager. There are no stake limits in place for the offer, and a sizable range of races are eligible for it. 

4. Bet £10, Get £40 Welcome Offer – BetVictor

betvictor bettingThe other deals we’ve looked at are all ongoing promotions. With BetVictor though, you’ll find the best welcome offer on the market right now for horse racing bettors.

To trigger it, you must place a qualifying wager of £10 or more on racing, at odds of evens (2.0) or greater. Do so, and you’ll receive three separate £10 free bets, all of which can be used on different horse racing markets. This is already outstanding value, and – in addition – you’re also given a £10 bonus for the casino section. 

Horse Racing Betting Apps

Thanks to the revolution in mobile technology, you can now place your bets on the go. So long as you’ve got an internet or Wi-Fi connection, you can access the best horse racing betting apps pretty much anywhere. There are even some mobile only platforms for wagering on Android and iOS operating systems.

Horse Racing Betting Terms Explained

Before you start staking on horse racing sportsbooks, it is important to understand the terms in which you come across. Below are some of the key horse racing betting terms and phrases to look out for:

All-Weather Racecourse – This is basically a synthetic surface that is used to deal with all conditions. Wolverhampton and Dundalk are two examples of such courses, where races can generally take place in all weather.

Blinkers – Blinkers is a form of headgear which blocks a horses view from both sides, meaning that they can only see what is directly in front of them. This is a useful tool for runners who can lose focus during a race.

Bridle – A bridle is another form of equipment used on the head of a horse, which makes it easier for jockeys to control their movement. If a horse does not have to move its bridle during a race then they have done well.

Classic – A series of flat races that take place throughout the season, with the Epsom Derby and 2000 Guineas being examples.

Handicap – Races where weights are used to offer entrants an equal chance of winning.

Form – The condition in which a horse is in ahead of an upcoming race.

Furlong – The measurement used in order to describe how long a race is, whether it be over 5 furlongs or over 3 miles and 1 furlong. 1 furlong equates to ⅛ of a mile.

Juvenile – A two year old horse

Mare – A female horse aged 5+.

Non Runner – A horse which has been withdrawn ahead of a race.

Trifecta – A bet in which punters select the top three finishers of a race in the correct order.

Under Wraps – When a jockey is intentionally stopping a horse from running at its top speed.

Online vs Offline Horse Racing Betting: Pros & Cons

While high street bookies are the preferred option for some platforms, horse racing betting sites UK are now more popular. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of online horse racing betting:

fa_shield-checkPros:

  • Convenient – UK horse racing betting sites are hugely convenient. There is no need to leave the comfort of your own home.
  • Markets – Almost all professional races from the UK & Ireland, along with other regions, can be bet on online. Meanwhile, punters can easily search markets in order to find appealing selections.
  • Promotions – Betting online means that punters can take advantage of promotions. Welcome bonuses, best odds guaranteed, free bets and insurance offers can be found at the best online horse racing betting sites UK.
  • Odds – Punters can ensure that they are taking advantage of the best horse racing odds around. There is nothing stopping you signing up with a number of online bookies, especially if you find one with horse racing early betting odds that are very favourable.
  • Cash Out – Unlike in high street betting shops, the cash out feature is available online.
  • Instant Winnings – Punters will receive their winnings instantly online, rather than having to visit their local bookie

fa_shield-closeCons:

  • Social – Betting online does not allow for any social interaction.
  • Responsible Gambling – It is easier to bet irresponsibly when operating online, with horse racing markets being so easily accessible

The World’s Biggest Horse Races

Race Course
Country
Type
When
Distance
Prize Pot
Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs USA Dirt May 2,000m $3M
Dubai World Cup Meydan UAE Dirt March 2,000m $12M
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Longchamp France Turf October 2,400m $5.6M
Breeders’ Cup Classic Varied USA Dirt November 2,000m $6M
Sheema Classic Meydan UAE Turf March 2,400m $6M
Grand National Aintree UK Turf January 6,907m $1M
Melbourne Cup Flemington Australia Turf November 3,200m $5.3M
The Everest Randwick Australia Turf October 1,200m $14M
Japan Cup Tokyo Japan Turf November 2,400m $5.8m
Epsom Derby Epsom Downs UK Turf June 2,400m $2m

Most Popular Horse Racing Events to Bet on

While meetings take place on a daily basis from racecourses from around the world, there are certainly some races which attract the attention of betting customers more than others. Below are some of the horse racing events to look out for during the year:

Best Horse Racing Events to bet on

The Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day event which takes place annually, taking place each March and hosting races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The Grand National

Part of the Aintree Festival is the Grand National, which is arguably the biggest horse race in the world. Taking place near Liverpool, the Grand National is the biggest prize in the sport, with millions of bets being placed on it. Horse racing betting tips surrounding the Grand National are always interesting to read.

Royal Ascot

Taking place over 5 days, Royal Ascot is a flat racing event which offers a prize pool of over £7 million. Connected to the British Royal family, Queen Elizabeth II is normally in attendance at the event.

Glorious Goodwood

Another leading thoroughbred event from the UK is Glorious Goodwood, known as one of the most glamorous occasions in the sport. The event takes place in July each year.

The Kentucky Derby

Taking place at the famous Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby is the biggest race from the United States. Referred to by some as the “Greatest two minutes in sport”, the Kentucky Derby is a flat race run over one and a quarter miles, competed in by three year old thoroughbreds. A total of $3 million in prize money is up for grabs.

The Melbourne Cup

The biggest race from Australia is the Melbourne Cup. Held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the race takes place over a distance of 2 miles, with three year old thoroughbreds once again being involved. A$8 million is the total prize pool for the race.

Live Horse Racing Betting and Streaming

Streaming is an important part of live horse racing betting, with many bookies now ensuring that punters can watch meetings from around the world. Streams are available on both desktop and mobile in both cases, with races from across the UK & Ireland being found daily. With that being said, below are some of the best betting sites when it comes to live horse racing betting streaming, including how to access streams.

Bookie
Horse racing live betting streamline requirements
Visit site
Bet365 Have a funded sports betting account or have placed a bet in the last 24 hours Watch Now
William Hill Qualifying bet worth at least £0.50 Watch Now
Paddy Power Funded sports betting account of at least £2 or qualifying bet Watch Now
BetVictor Qualifying bet worth £1+ Watch Now
Ladbrokes Positive account balance or have placed a bet in previous 24 hours Watch Now

Best UK Payment Methods for Online Horse Racing Betting

Internet gambling in general has played its part in developing new ways to send and receive money digitally. All of our top horse racing betting sites provide punters with various options for funding their accounts. You need to be aware of minimum deposit and maximum withdrawal amounts, if you back a big price winner. Here are the leading payment options available to you:

  • Debit Cards – Still a popular choice with punters, you can use the debit card attached to your bank account (but not credit cards) for making deposits in the UK. Bank and wire transfers are also another traditional option.
  • Preapid Cards – A prepaid card you’ve purchased in advance like Paysafecard is a viable alternative for deposits. Using these means you don’t give your bookie your bank details, but can’t make withdrawals via this method.
  • eWallets – The growth of digital payment wallets such as PayPal owes much to horse racing betting sites as well as the internet in general. You can link eWallets to your bank account, adding an extra layer of security to transactions.
  • Cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies out there, and on rare occasions this payment option is also available to you for betting in the UK.

Horse Racing Betting Tips

Despite the advent of football betting, and dwindling attendances at racecourses, betting on horse racing has managed to retain its massive popularity. This means that people are always looking for the best horse racing betting tips.

If you want to get pro advice, you can search out horse racing betting tips sites where you can pay to receive info about today’s fancied runners. Most newspapers employ pro tippers, and horse racing betting guides – such as Sporting Life – offer free tips for all the day’s’ race cards. Of course, you could always o it alone and become an expert horse racing tipster yourself. If you fancy becoming a betting on horse racing expert, here are our three golden horse racing betting tips to help perfect your horse racing betting strategy.

Tip 1: Study the Form

You may think that horse racing is a simple sport – a number of horses all start a race together and the fastest horse wins. However, it is far more complicated than that. Some horses start fast and then fade, while others pace themselves and get stronger. Some like soft ground and some like hard. Some like straight courses while others like ones with lots of bends. Some like short races and some like long races … and so on.

To become an expert you really need to get to know all you can about the horses that you are putting money upon. Don’t forget, QuinnBet is an excellent site with tons of racing information, and you can use a horse racing betting guide too.

Tip 2: Vary Your Bets

The whole point of horse racing betting – and the reason you get such good odds on it – is its unpredictability. If you stick purely to race winner bets – on fields with 10, 12, even 15 or more runners – you won’t get very far.

Instead, take advantage of the many bet types which sites like Paddy Power offer. Each carries its own blend of risk and reward. The classic each way, for example, combines the upside of a race winner wager with the safety of a place bet. Exotic multiples – like trixies, yankees, and lucky 15’s – are tough to win, but deliver sizable returns. Pool betting, on sites like The Tote, allows you to join forces with others, increasing both your total stakes and potential total winnings.

Tip 3: Don’t Bet on Every Race

You cannot predict every race. No matter the runners, the riders, the condition of the course, the length of the race and the draw, some races are simply too tough to call. One of the best horse racing betting guide tips you will ever hear, therefore,  is ‘don’t bet on every race’. Instead, use a site such as Spreadex that has coverage of all daily meetings all over the world. Then pick, and choose the races on which you pounce, focusing solely on those where your analysis leads you to feel confident in predicting a winner.

Tip 4: Follow a Plan

If you want to keep your horse racing betting account on a site like Grosvenor Sport alive for the long haul, you need to have a plan. This should have two main parts. 

The first is how you’re going to make your picks. Most bettors choose to pick-and-mix between different races, based on their own analysis and the research they’ve done. Many serious punters, however, will follow a clearly-defined strategy instead, such as the ones we’ve listed above. 

The second is how you’re going to spend your money. We’d highly recommend making a staking plan here. You must identify how much you’re willing to deposit – and potentially lose – up front. Then, you can divide that amount up to identify how big your stakes should be on individual races. After that, you must stay disciplined and stick to the plan, even if you lose a few bets in a row. 

Tip 5: Use Those Offers

You can check out five of the very best horse racing betting offers below, but – even outside of these – there’s a wide range of promotions available. Each type delivers value in a different way, and you should essentially look to use these whenever possible. 

If you spot a good welcome offer – either specifically for racing, or which is simply compatible with racing – pounce on it immediately. The free bets you typically get can be used to save on your real money account balance, or as part of a matched betting strategy. 

Ongoing promotions, meanwhile, can be used on the vast majority of your racing bets. The likes of Best odds Guaranteed will be applied automatically. For offers like Money Back if 2nd or Faller Insurance, you may need to abide by certain T&Cs. It is absolutely worth the small amount of effort it takes to research these, in return for the excellent value you’re given in return.

How to Get the Best Horse Racing Betting Odds

One question that betting on horse racing newbs always ask is ‘where to get the best horse racing betting odds’. The truth is, odds do not vary across sites and bookmakers work together to keep it that way. It has always been that way – bookmakers at racecourses would always employ at least two preteen-age boys. One would write down the bets as they are taken (and shouted out by the bookie) and other would run around the other course bookmakers and report back on the prices the rival bookies were offering.

You can check price comparison sites to get the best odds but the larger bookies – 888sport, PaddyPower and Betfred – all work hard to make sure they offer the best odds on par with all their competitors. Horse racing early betting odds are usually the most favourable, so place your bets early doors!

If you want better returns when betting on horse racing you can try a betting exchange or a spread betting site such as Spreadex. Don’t forget though that with spread betting you may lose more than your stake if your prediction is wildly inaccurate.

Top 3 Bookies for Best Odds Guaranteed

888sport – Up to £100 on your first deposit

bet365 – Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets

Betfred – Bet £10 Get £40 in free bets

Common Terms & Conditions on UK Horse Racing Betting Sites

Behind every offer you take and bet you make lie terms and conditions. These are particularly prevalent with horse racing bookies for a number of reasons. There may be non-runners that impact your bet, horses withdrawn at the start before a race begins and other variables. Let’s take a look at common terms and conditions with specific reference to horse racing betting sites in the UK:

  • Minimum Odds – A certain threshold in terms of prices for horse racing events may apply for a bet to qualify as part of a welcome offer or promotion open to all punters.
  • Minimum Runners – There needs to be a minimum number of runners for an offer, like Extra Place Races, to honour the terms of any bet struck on it. If a race has eight horses declared, but only seven come under starter’s orders, you may not get the deal that attracted you to wager on the event in question.
  • Non-Runner No Bet (NRNB) – If a horse doesn’t run in a race and the bet is covered by NRNB terms, then you get your stake back in full as cash. This won’t apply to ante post markets unless specified.
  • Payment Restrictions – Certain payment methods may be incompatible with welcome offers. Prepaid cards and eWallets may specifically be called out in terms and conditions of sign up bonuses as ineligible. For the avoidance of doubt, punters should stick to using their Debit Cards for initial deposits.
  • Rule 4 deductions – In the event that a horse is withdrawn from a race after final declarations at a price of 14/1 (15.00) or shorter, then Rule 4 deductions may apply. These are in bands of five pence (5p) in the pound sterling (£1) with the shorter the price of the withdrawn runner, the greater the deduction. Rule 4 deductions can’t effect any ante post wagers on the race, however.

Bottom Line on Horse Racing Betting Online

Horse racing is one of the most historic and prestigious sports around. However, all types of people now enjoy backing their favourite runners and riders, with UK horse racing betting sites having become hugely popular. Races can be bet on daily from courses around the world, with all of our recommended sites being nothing but 100% safe and reliable. So, check them out for yourself, before signing up, working out the ideal horse racing betting strategy and backing your favourites.

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References

FAQs

How do I bet on horse races online?

There are a large number of UK horse racing betting sites available online today. Such platforms make betting on races easier than ever, while also delivering a host of markets and features.

What is the best way to bet on horses?

Popular horse racing bets include straight bets for runners to win or there is the option of betting each way, for a win and a place. Bets placed should be determined by horse racing betting online systems or strategies.

How can I watch horse races live?

Many races are shown on television in the UK. For times when they are not, races from the UK & Ireland can be streamed on horse racing online betting sites. A small stake or funded account is required in order to gain access.

What is the minimum and maximum bets for horse racing?

The minimum and maximum bets accepted will differ between horse racing online betting sites. However, bets are likely to start at around £0.10.

What types of bets can you make on horses?

There are many different bet types available on horse racing betting sites now. From simple win and each way wagers to exotic bets like forecasts and tricasts involving multiple selections in the same race, multiples like doubles, trebles and accumulators, and even combination and system wagers, there is plenty of choice. Other markets to consider include without the favourite, head-to-head or match betting and distance betting.

How often does the favourite horse win?

On average, across all horse racing events, the favourite wins around a third of the time. There are variations depending on whether it's a specific type of race like handicaps, conditions contests or age restricted events. However, in general terms, the market leader gets beaten in around two-thirds of races.

Can you bet on a horse to lose?

Yes, you can. Some horse racing betting sites offer a not to win market. Betting exchanges allow you to lay horses you don't fancy and, so long as your bets are matched, you can profit from them losing.

What are the most famous horse racing events

Famous horse racing events in the UK include the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Grand National in April and Royal Ascot in June. Overseas, the Kentucky Derby in May and Breeders' Cup World Championships in November are the major races in the USA. Out in Australia, meanwhile, they have the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November. Europe's richest horse race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe run at Longchamp in Paris, France, takes place on the first Sunday in October.

How can you verify whether a UK horse racing betting site is licensed and regulated?

It's easy to see whether an online bookie has a license and is regulated by the industry. Here at SafeBettingSites, we only include fully licensed and regulated horse racing betting sites, so you know everything advertised is legit.

What payment options should you look for on a horse racing betting site?

A mixture of traditional payment methods tied to your bank account like wire transfers and debit cards, and digitally friendly services such as eWallets should be available to you. This goes for all online betting sites, not just those that specialise in horse racing.

What should you avoid when choosing a horse racing betting site?

You should avoid unlicensed and unregulated bookmakers when searching for a site to place your horse racing bets on. If a bookie doesn't have a license from the UK Gambling Commission, then they're not worth bothering with.

Peter Addison

Peter is an experienced iGaming wordsmith who has been working in the industry since 2013. He has written more words on all aspects of iGaming than he cares to remember, and has provided content for many big industry names. When not writing Peter can be found out running or gaming on his Xbox.

The Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in the UK for November 2022
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