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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 may or may not need to make a deposit to release an offer like this, it all depends on the site. 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.
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.
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.
A little extra to help to point you in the right direction.