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An introduction to horse racing
Horse racing is one of the longest-running sports in existence. And for as long as there have been people racing horses, there have also been people betting on the results!
In the UK, we have a rich history when it comes to the ‘Sport of Kings’, and now with horse racing online, you can have a flutter on this historic activity any time, any place.
We’re going to tell you all about the best horse racing sites in the UK. We’ll uncover what our experts look for in a great site. As well as which events they offer, which ones have the best odds, and where you can find the best bonuses when you sign-up.
So, sit back and relax. And let’s dive into the world of betting on horse racing.
How we rate horse race betting sites
Our team of expert reviewers have over 10 years’ experience in the online gambling industry. And they work tirelessly, carefully vetting and reviewing online bookies, so that you get the best that the UK has to offer.
We only work with the top bookies in the industry. But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s a breakdown of exactly what our experts look for in a great horse racing site.
✅ Varied selection of events
When it comes to horse race betting sites, our experts first look at the selection of events that these bookies offer their customers. You don’t just want access to the major races, like The Grand National or Cheltenham Festival; you want to be able to bet on a ton of different races from all over the world.
From The Middle East to South America, and even Asia, horse racing is beloved by punters all around the globe. So, even if you’re based in the North of England, for example, you want to know that you can bet on any manner of races and events in far-off exotic places whenever the fancy takes you.
✅ Odds and pricing
As with any sports betting, odds are one of the most important things to look at when calculating a potential win. And with UK horse racing betting, you need a bookies that will offer you great odds on a selection of races.
Prices refer to the odds offered on a horse at the beginning of a race. And these will differ from site to site.
Our experts recommend shopping around, to find the best odds on different sites. One bookies might offer fantastic odds on a particular race, but then offer dismal odds on another event. This is why it’s a good idea to look at different bookies for different races.
In fact, the best idea is to sign up to more than one site. That way, you’ll have instant access to lots of odds and prices over tons of events. And you can place your bet with the best bookie for that specific race.
✅ Horse racing betting markets
Markets are simply which types of bet you can play at a bookies’ site. With more markets come more chances to win. Not to mention, a wide variety of horse racing markets keep things interesting!
Our experts scrutinise the latest horse racing betting markets at each UK site, to make sure they’re offering their customers some great ways to bet.
The most popular markets include:
- Win: bet that your chosen horse will finish in first place
- Each way: wager that your horse will finish either first or second
- Straight forecast: choose 2 horses. They must finish first and second, in that order
- Reverse forecast: 2 horses, to finish first and second in either order
- Straight tricast: 3 horses. Must finish first, second and third, in that order
- Reverse tricast: 3 horses, to finish first, second and third in any order
As you can see, there are many different ways to bet on horses. And with an amazing selection of markets to choose from, you can mix up your gambling style as and when you want.
✅ In-play betting
With modern horse racing online, you can now place bets even after the race has started. If you’re not sure your horse is going to start well, you can wait until it’s out of the stalls before placing your bet. Or, if you like the look of another horse throughout the race, then you can back it midway through.
Our experts recommend looking for sites that offer in-play betting. That way, you can add more bets as the action unfolds. And never miss out on a chance of winning again.
✅ Live streamed events
The best horse race betting sites will offer their punters both in-play betting and live streamed races. If a race has started in Dubai, for example, you want instant access to the action. You don’t want to have to search online for a channel showing the event, or you might miss out on it completely!
When placing an in-play bet and streaming the race live, make sure you have a fast internet connection. With horse racing being such a fast-paced sport, a time lag on your streaming could be fatal for your chances of winning. Nobody wants to place a bet and find out their horse fell a second later!
✅ Special promotions for horse racing
Wouldn’t it be great if there were special bonuses for betting on the horses? Well, the good news is, there are. Bookies across the UK all want your custom. And they’re prepared to offer some very generous promotions to get it.
Our experts look for specific bonuses and promos available to horse race enthusiasts. So that you can be rewarded for betting on the ‘gee-gees’.
Horse betting sites will offer one or more of the following horse racing-specific bonuses:
- Free bets: pick up a free bet from the bookies to use on a specified race or event
- Matched deposit bonus: the bookies will match your deposit with bonus cash to bet with
- Enhanced odds: enjoy better odds for a specific race or period of time
Alternatively, check our lists of trusted horse race betting sites. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest bonuses for horse racing fans. As well as any other promos these sites are offering.
✅ Banking methods
Like making any payment over the internet, when betting at an online bookmakers, make sure you have plenty of options available.
The best sites will have lots of ways for their clients to pay. So look for at least some of the following payment methods:
- Debit card payments
- Bank transfer / internet banking transfer
- e-wallets , like Skrill and Neteller
A good selection of payment options means you’re dealing with a serious bookmaker who takes care of their customers. And you want to be able to pay in and withdraw your money quickly and conveniently. So we only work with sites that offer multiple ways to pay.
Betting markets in horse racing
As we’ve seen, there are many ways to place a horse racing bet. So, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular betting markets around.
The most popular and easy-to-understand bet possible! Simply choose the horse you fancy to win, and place your bet. There are lots of resources available to help you choose a winner. And every race will have a favourite.
By backing the favourite, you’ll be in with a great chance of winning. But the odds will invariably be low, so your winnings might not be great. Choosing a horse that isn’t the favourite, but has decent odds, could mean a serious win.
But this bet is an unforgiving one; if your horse places anywhere but first, then you lose your stake.
Why bet on one horse, when you can bet on two? With a forecast bet (also called straight forecast), you select two horses and predict they will place first and second, in that order.
This is a far riskier bet than a ‘to win bet’, as you have twice as many chances of something going wrong. And it doesn’t make a difference if one of your horses finishes where they’re supposed to. Unless they both come in, in the order you bet on, you lose.
That being said, because of the high risk to this bet, the pay-off can be incredible.
Horse racing sites also offer the slightly more forgiving reverse forecast bet. This is where you select two horses, to place first and second in the race, but in either order.
With a straight forecast, there’s no room for any error; your horses must both finish in the order you have bet on. However, with a reverse forecast, it doesn’t matter which order they come in, as long as they both place first and second.
The pay-out on this type of bet can be excellent, but the odds will be lower than if you opt for a straight forecast.
A simple multiplier, for those who like to mix things up. Rather than placing two single bets, with a double bet the odds are multiplied, so you have a better chance of snatching some serious cash. However, with better odds comes more risk. Both bets must come in for you to win.
If you love excitement and the opportunity for eye-watering wins, then an accumulator (Acca bet) is the bet for you. Bookies will offer different types of Acca bets. But the classic type is when you predict the winners of more than one race.
Odds multiply quickly, and the amount you win can become staggering. But you will need to predict the correct results on many consecutive races for your winnings to roll in.
Probably the most popular bet on horses online, after ‘to win’ bets. Betting each way means predicting that your horse will come in either first or second.
This bet is great for those who like to gamble but don’t want to risk too much. By picking a solid horse, you could pick up a decent sum for placing it first or second.
Promotions at horse betting sites
There’s one thing better than betting on the horses, and that’s doing it for free!
When you join a new site you will often receive a valuable bonus for doing so. It’s a tough industry with lots of competition, so the welcome offers are usually lucrative for the punter.
These online horse racing betting deals can come in various shapes and sizes. The following are some of the best ones that you can find at the moment.
You’ll frequently see this offer crop up when looking at horse racing betting online. Customers love it because it gives them a chance to have a little flutter for free. And the bookies are equally in favour of it as they can apply certain caveats to manage their risk. You could say it’s the sports betting equivalent to free spins at online casinos.
You may or may not need to make a deposit to release an offer like this, it all depends on the site. And you might also find the bet restricted to a specific event or market but, again, this can vary. Finally, they may payout any winnings in bet credits rather than cash.
Although, you shouldn’t let a few restrictions necessarily put you off. As long as you read and understand the rules, then you can easily enjoy the potential that this deal has to offer.
Another great way to thank new customers for signing up is to increase the horse racing betting odds slightly.
It may not seem like much, but some punters are working with small margins on their bets. So increasing the odds can be a big deal. Depending on the other bets in play, it could affect their profit for the day.
It may not be as popular as other offers, as most customers won’t really notice if the bookies stretch the odds from 2.5 to 3, for example.
Matched deposit bonuses
If you like to see a healthy addition to your playing money without doing much in return, then read on.
A top way to boost your stack at horse race betting sites is by opting for a matched bonus. An offer of this type requires you to deposit cash into your account and the bookie will do the same. It’s nice and simple and can prove to be a very productive bonus.
You want to look out for the maximum amount that they will match and also any wagering requirements. Check the T&Cs if you are unsure.
The different kinds of races
Most people can probably name a few of the most famous racecourses in the UK. But did you know there are many different types of horse racing?
If you’re new to this sport, then let us take you through the different kinds of races that you can watch. And, of course, bet on!
Flat racing is simply a race that doesn’t have any jumps in it. So, in many aspects, it’s the simplest form of horse racing. Flat racing is a great test of a horse’s speed and endurance. And they can be done over a long distance, or shorter sprint-style lengths.
Naturally, some horses fare better in these types of races. And some punters believe flat racing to be the fairest type of race out there, as the horses don’t have any obstructions to overcome (namely, jumps). So, flat races are perfect for if you’re new to the world of horse race betting.
As you can probably imagine, jump racing is when a race has a lot of jumps in it! Also called a ‘steeple-chase’, jump racing is popular among bettors, as it provides a lot of action. And with each hurdle potentially felling a horse, these races are dynamic, fast-paced and action-packed.
The best-known races in the UK are all jump races, including the Grand National and Ascot Chase Meeting. And dedicated fans don their ‘Sunday best’ to go and watch these incredible races take place. Plus, of course, bet on their favourite horse race gambling event.
If you like your races short and sweet, then sprints are going to be your go-to! These meetings are set over 5 or 6 furlongs, with each horse competing to be the quickest. And with absolutely no room for error, sprint racing is an adrenaline-fuelled competition that lasts just a few minutes.
In fact, any race under 1 mile long is considered a sprint. And some of the most well-known include the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes, which are part of Ascot.
Also known as ‘pacing’ and sometimes ‘harness racing’, trotting races involve the horse’s legs being restricted. Either by a harness or a cart, in which sits the jockey. While not as popular to bet on, these types of races offer a slightly different experience, and are considered rather ‘old-school’.
Far more popular in the US than the UK, some of the most famous trot races include the Dallas Turkey Trot, in Texas. As well as the Hyde Park Pilgrim Run, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Popular horse racing events
Horse racing sites will cover a huge selection of race meetings from all over the world. There are many popular races in the UK and Ireland, but you can also look further afield for the action.
The US, among others, has some famous events that always draw huge global interest from racing fans. The beauty of placing a bet on horses online is that you have the world at your fingertips. You can find any form info that you’re after and make savvy bets rather than just having a punt.
If you’re not content with a standard flat race, then Cheltenham will deliver four days of fine jump action for you instead!
March sees the finest horses from all over the UK and Ireland come together to please the fans and give the economy an enormous boost! The buzz comes to a head on the final day with the coveted Gold Cup race.
The racecourse has been hosting races for over 200 years and is considered one of the most prestigious events in the UK and Ireland racing calendar. Horse betting sites will have a huge range of markets available during this festival.
This race is a firm favourite, not only with the experts but with amateurs as well. Every year, families and colleagues get together for a sweepstake on the race, which inevitably prompts thousands of people to move on and open sports betting accounts.
It’s a gruelling 4 miles and 2.5 furlongs with some of the toughest fences in racing. It really is anybody’s race, and being an expert won’t necessarily help you pick the winner.
Bets fly through the roof leading up the race and many of those are simply placed because of the jockey’s silks or the horse’s name!
Each June, the Ascot Racecourse hosts 500 horses across a week of racing action broadcast to every corner of the globe.
The five-day event in Berkshire, England, is perhaps best known among racing fans for the Gold Cup, which takes place on the third day. However, many people are there for the pomp and ceremony as much as they are for the sporting action.
The Royal Ascot has been associated with the royal family for centuries, and now it’s a chance to wear glamorous attire and catch a glimpse of some A-list celebs.
The Derby is the world-famous horse race that draws to a close the 2-week derby festival held in Louisville, Kentucky each year.
The first weekend in May, sees the top horses and jockeys battle it out in this 2km flat race inspired by the Epsom Derby race held in the UK each year.
It’s part of the Triple Crown series whereby a horse can attempt to win all three races to basically go down as one of the best racehorses in history.
Hopeful punters place millions of pounds worth of bets on the event in nearly every country around the world.
Live streamed horse racing events
One of the most exciting recent developments in online gambling has been the invention of live-streamed events.
While races like the Grand National are shown on the BBC, free of charge, to view most other races you’ll have to pay for an extremely expensive streaming service. Such as Sky Sports or BT Sports.
Luckily, when you sign up to a fantastic horse-racing betting site, you don’t need to pay for these expensive streaming services. As, you’ll be given the chance to watch all races from either a sophisticated website or direct from your mobile phone.
So, just by being a member of a bookies, you’ll get access to all the exciting races and events that other people have to pay for!
Get more out of horse racing with in-play betting
In addition to live streaming, you can now place in-play bets throughout your favourite horse racing events. In-play betting makes things a lot more exciting. As you can bet whenever you want, before or during a race.
For example, if you’ve chosen a winner before the race and you decide you fancy another horse instead, you can simply add another bet after the race has started.
Live horse racing betting has revolutionised the way that we bet on sports events. And it also increases the amount of bets that you can make. Not to mention, it gives you many more chances to win!
Horse racing betting on mobile
One of the fastest ways to make bets is direct from your mobile phone. Today, with sophisticated and cutting-edge mobile-optimised sites, you can have just as good an experience from your smartphone or tablet as you would expect from a desktop site.
Not to mention, with mobile-friendly payment platforms, you can watch, bet, deposit and withdraw, all from the palm of your hand.
iOS or Android
Both iOS and Android offer fantastic mobile-optimised horse bet sites. And whichever phone company you’re with, you can be sure to get the same great experience on your mobile.
Plus, some sites even give out bonuses to their mobile-users. So you could get your hands on some free bets, just by using your smartphone or tablet to wager with!
But what’s the best way to access your new bookies? Should you download their betting app? Or is it better just to use your phone’s browser? Let’s take a closer look.
Betting in a mobile app
With lightning-fast connection and no need to login every time you open it, a dedicated betting app certainly is the most convenient way to access your favourite horse racing bookie.
Get into your account in a matter of seconds. And use the easy-access drop-down menus to find all the latest races, odds and bonuses. It really doesn’t get any better than that!
Plus, horse racing betting apps also offer extra features that you won’t find at the desktop site. These include notifications on the next great horse races. As well as invitations for bonuses and updates on any upcoming promotions.
However, while apps are definitely the fastest solution, they take up quite a lot of your device’s internal memory. They also require regular updates and bug fixes. Which some punters can find a little annoying.
Having said that, there’s no faster way to get watching and betting on horse races at the touch of a button.
Using a browser based bookmaker
If your phone is already full of other apps, then using your phone’s browser is just as convenient as an app. And it won’t take up any internal memory on your device.
Use your phone’s browser to access all the top sites in the UK. And use the ‘remember me’ function, to avoid having to log in each time. Plus, you can bookmark all your favourite sites, so that you don’t have to search for them every time.
Browser-based betting is almost as fast as dedicated apps. But you have the added advantage of not clogging up your phone with yet another app. Plus, you don’t have to worry about constant updates. However, you will have to forfeit a few of the added extras you get with apps, like push notifications.
Finally, some sites don’t have an app for you to download. So, by using your phone’s browser, you get access to absolutely every site in the UK!
New horse racing bookmakers in 2023
Horse racing is incredibly popular in the UK. As is betting on horse races and events up and down the country, all throughout the year.
This means the emergence of lots of new horse racing bookmakers in 2023. And here at Gamble.xyz, our team of experts are waiting to review any news site that comes to market.
Therefore, to find the latest news and reviews on all the freshest and best horse racing bookies offering horse racing in the UK, check with our lists of trusted and reviewed sites.
Remember, we only work with sites that offer customers the best events, markets and odds, payment solutions, mobile-optimised sites and tons of bonuses. So you can be sure you’re getting an elite experience when you go through us.
Getting started with horse betting online
Horse race betting sites can seem slightly confusing to the uninitiated so we’ve put together a quick guide to get you started.
Below, you’ll find four top tips that can potentially see you off to a great start and might even help land some nice winnings along the way.
Find suitable betting sites
The internet plays host to all manner of gambling operators. As a result, horse betting sites are ten a penny. But that’s not to say that they’re all worth your attention.
The best thing to do is check and see which sites we represent. That way you’ll know that they are legal, trustworthy and provide fair betting action.
Compare different bookies to find the best odds
Looking at the odds available across several bookies will always give you a slight edge. Maximising your profits is sound advice for any investment, and a flutter on the horses is just the same.
A half percentage difference on the odds for any given market may not seem a lot, but they soon add up. If you’re gaining an extra few quid each time you win, then your potential profits can be very attractive over the course of a year.
Find specific horse betting bonuses
With the vast choice of bonuses out there it can be tempting to always go for the biggest numbers on offer. However, that isn’t always the best tactic.
Finding bonuses specific to your niche can produce greater results in the long run as they are tailored towards you.
Also, keep your eyes peeled when the big festivals come around, like the ones we mentioned earlier. Bookies will often produce some cracking opportunities to have a punt on these races for free.
Another good strategy is to be on the lookout for new betting sites, as these often offer new players a great welcome bonus in order to grow their customer base.
Bet on the horses and races you know
Knowing the form of certain horses and studying the conditions of a given racecourse can be a real blessing.
It always helps to have the inside scoop on any small details that can affect the outcome of a race. Many publications devote their pages to this subject and can help you pick the best runners for the occasion.
Registering at a horse betting site
Signing up to a great bookmakers is quick and easy. But, if you’ve never done it before, let us take you through the process with our simplified 5-step guide.
Compare bookmakers for horse racing
The first thing you should do is to compare different bookies, to find the best one for you. This means taking into account things like race selection, markets and odds, and how easy the site is to use.
You should also look at what type of bonus you can get for signing up at these new horse racing betting sites UK. As well as if they offer a solid variety of payment methods. Taking all these things into consideration, you’ll get a good idea of what type of bookies you’re looking at.
Alternatively, simply choose from one of our lists of trusted and reviewed sites. As we check and vet all these different criteria for you. So that you don’t have to.
Pick a password and username
Once you’ve decided on a great new bookies, it’s time to start the registration process. All the top bookies in the UK offer a very easy sign-up process. And this generally starts with you picking a username and password. After that, you’ll be asked to verify your account by email. And that’s it for this stage. Quick and easy!
Enter your personal details
Next up, it’s time to enter your personal details. These usually include your full name, address and telephone number. At this stage you might also be asked to complete the know-your-customer protocols (KYC).
KYC is where the betting site asks you to prove who you are by submitting some documents. These include a photo ID, such as a passport. As well as a utility bill, to act as proof of address.
At all real-money sites, KYC is a legal requirement. And some bookies ask you to complete this process when you register. Whereas others will wait until you win something that you want to withdraw.
But, either way, don’t expect to escape KYC protocols. They are a legal obligation. And they are in place to protect both you and the bookmakers from fraudulent activity. So, even if it seems a little over-the-top, keep in mind that these processes protect you from shady activity online. And you must complete everything if you want to bet real money online.
Look for a suitable bonus/free bet offer
Once you’ve chosen your great new bookies and signed up, it’s time for the fun stuff! Here you choose a great welcome bonus, to get you started on the right foot.
At a fantastic horse bookies, you’ll be offered things like match deposit bonuses, no deposit bonuses and free bets. But, as we always advise, first read the terms and conditions attached to these bonuses. So that you know what’s required of you, in order to turn your bonus cash into real winnings that you can withdraw.
Some bookie bonuses will be automatically applied to your account. Whereas others might require you to enter a code. That said, whichever it is, you can be sure that the bookmaking site will give you clear and easy-to-follow instructions on how to apply your bonus.
Make a deposit with your preferred payment method
Finally, unless you have chosen a no deposit bonus, it’s time to pay into the site and start making your horse racing bets UK.
Luckily, all the leading bookmakers in the UK offer the most sophisticated, secure and easy-to-use payment options on the market. So, whether you want to use your debit card, an e-wallet or pay-by-phone method, you should have access to all of these at your fun new bookies.
To make a deposit, simply follow the instructions in the ‘cashier’ section of the bookies’ site. Choose the option that you prefer and make your deposit. Most payment options will deposit your money instantly. And when you’re done, the amount will appear in your balance. Along with any bonus cash that’s been added through a bonus.
Horse betting deposits and withdrawals
Once you’ve signed up to a fantastic bookmakers, made a deposit and placed some tactical bets, you should now have some winnings to take out.
As mentioned, the leading bookmakers in the UK offer the most cutting-edge ways to deposit and withdraw your money.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular payment methods that you can use to withdraw your winnings.
Digital wallets are one of the most popular ways to make deposits and withdrawals at online horse betting sites UK. It’s usually free to open an account. And big names, like PayPal, Skrill and Neteller let you use your username and password to make transactions.
This means that you never have to give out card details or your personal information to a third party online. And that makes e-wallets extremely safe to use when making any type of transaction online.
They are also available in multiple languages and different currencies. And some providers let you opt for a prepaid Mastercard, which you can load with funds specifically for betting.
However, before opening an e-wallet account, have a look at what fees are attached to moving your money around. As usually there are some charges associated with making deposits and withdrawals at a horse betting site.
Visa and MasterCard are giants of industry. And pretty much every site that accepts payments will take these debit cards.
Debit card payments are quick and easy. But they do mean that you have to give out your personal information every time you make a transaction. Making them less popular with bettors.
It’s also worth noting that, if you like to remain anonymous online, debit card transactions show up on your bank statements. So this is something to think about, if you prefer to keep your spending private.
On the plus side, debit cards will usually not charge you to withdraw your winnings. So they remain very popular with people who don’t like the charges associated with other payment platforms.
Certainly not the newest option on the market, bank transfers still offer safe and convenient ways to deposit and withdraw at your favourite bookmakers.
Usually free to set up, wire transfers offer a familiar service to punters who don’t want to use their debit card. Or who don’t want to open additional accounts (like with e-wallets, for example).
However, it’s important to remember that bank transfers take a few days to process. So, if you want to make a deposit and start placing bets in the same day, you should look at another payment option instead. The same goes for withdrawals. While they’re never instant, bank transfers will take the longest to land back in your account.
Pay by mobile
Pay-by-mobile options offer a huge wealth of possibility when making deposits and withdrawals at any online bookies with horse racing.
Household names like Boku, Payforit and Paysafecard all let you use your mobile telephone number to make payments. That means you don’t have to give out any card details or personal info. Also, your payments remain completely anonymous and won’t show up on your bank statements.
Pay-by-mobile means that you can either use your mobile phone credit or end-of-month bill to make deposits. But, it’s important to know that each one will have daily limits attached. Usually, this is around £30 per day. Therefore, these methods aren’t suited to everyone. And it’s important that you read up on what these limits are before you start to use the service.
Finally, most pay-by-mobile services usually only work for making deposits, not withdrawals. As you can’t send winnings back to your mobile phone bill or pay-as-you-go credit. So you will need to link another payment option to your bookmakers’ account as well, in order to receive any winnings. This could be a bank account, debit card or e-wallet.
A little extra to help to point you in the right direction.