Horse racing – An introduction
People all over the world love horse racing. It’s fast-paced, exciting and unpredictable. And with horse race betting sites, you can get in on the action whenever you want, without having to run down to the bookies in your local town.
But what makes a good betting site? And how do you choose from the hundreds on offer? Plus, how does UK horse racing betting actually work? And which sign-up offers are the best?
We’re going to go through all of these points, and more. So that you can make the most out of your online betting experience.
So, to start with, let’s take a look at what our expert reviewers look for in the best horse betting sites.
Our review process for horse racing betting sites
Our team of expert reviewers spend their days carefully putting bet sites through their paces. It’s what they love to do! And with over 10 years’ experience in the UK gambling industry, they know exactly what to look for in a great online bookmakers.
Here’s what they take into account when reviewing these sites.
✔️ Odds and prices
As most people know, odds are what make betting on horse racing exciting. And, more importantly, they’re the key to winning big at the races.
The best horse racing betting sites will offer competitive odds. But these horse racing betting odds will differ from bookie to bookie. So, our experts recommend browsing different online sites, in order to get the best odds on the market.
Some bookmakers might have great odds for some races, but not on others. Therefore, it’s advisable to open various accounts with a selection of bookies, so that you can quickly access the odds before a race.
If one site has better odds on a particular event, you want to be able to get in there quickly. So, if you already have an account, you can snap up these odds in an instant.
✔️ Selection of horse racing events
Because horse racing is so popular the world over, it means that there are races and events starting throughout the day, every day. So, you want horse race betting sites that offer a wide selection of different events for you to choose from.
Our experts always look to see what kind of sportsbook a bookie has. And, if it’s nice and varied, this means you’re in the hands of professional bookmakers who like to look after their clients’ needs.
✔️ Live streaming
With modern technology moving so quickly, the online world seems to change every day! And horse betting sites need to move with the times, if they want to stay in the game. This means offering their punters the most modern gambling experience. And in recent years, one of the most exciting developments to come out is live streaming of sport events straight from your bookies’ site.
Nobody wants to bet on a race if they can’t watch it as well. And while national events, like the Grand National, will be shown on UK television for free, this isn’t the case with a lot of other races.
For example, if you wanted to watch a horse race starting in Dubai, you would need an expensive subscription to a sports package. And if you like a range of sports, this could mean paying out for multiple packages across lots of streaming platforms. Well, not any more.
The best bookmakers offer live streaming straight to your computer or mobile. So you can watch every race instantly. No monthly subscriptions, and no searching frantically online for a channel that’s showing your race.
✔️ In-play bets
Another advancement in tech that has revolutionised the way we gamble in in-play betting. And with in-play horse racing betting, you can back more horses and add more bets while the race is on.
If you love to bet on horses online, then why not take advantage of up-to-the-minute betting options? If you’re not sure which horse to bet on, then you can wait until they’re out of the stalls before placing your wager.
With live streaming and in-play bets, the action never stops at modern-day online bookies.
✔️ Specific Horse racing bonuses
The top horse race betting sites need new customers, like everyone else. And with specific bonuses for horse racing fans, it’s a great time to be a new punter at these sites.
Bonuses you can pick up for betting on horses include:
- Free bets: to use on specific races or events
- Enhanced odds: enjoy better odds for signing up to a new bookies
- Matched deposit bonuses: where the bookies will match your deposit with extra, which you can bet with
- Bet Clubs: get rewarded for your continued custom by joining an exclusive club. These programs usually include free bets and other promos
Our experts carefully review these sign-up bonuses, as well as other types of promos. So that you can get the most out of your online betting. So always check our lists of trusted and reviewed horse race betting sites, to see where has the best offers.
Another important thing to look for when checking out an online bookies, is the betting markets they offer on horse racing. These are the different types of bet you can place, and a great bookmaker will have lots of markets for you to choose from.
Our experts make sure that the sites we list have a wide variety of betting markets. As they are what makes betting on horses so much fun!
To see exactly what betting markets you can wager on, and how they work, see below.
When it comes to betting, you want a site that lets you pay in and withdraw your money quickly and easily. In today’s world, most of us pay for lots of things online. And you want to know that your preferred payment method is available to use at horse racing sites.
Some of the most popular payment options to bet on horses online include:
- Debit card
- Bank transfer and/or internet banking transfer
Our experts recommend choosing sites that offer a variety of payment and withdrawal options. That way, you have access to the most convenient options for you.
The biggest horse racing events
Horse racing has been around for centuries. And over the years, some events have become incredibly popular all around the world.
So, what are the biggest horse racing events on the planet? Let’s take a look.
Held in Aintree, Liverpool, the Grand National is easily the most famous UK horse race in British history. Dating back as far as 1839, this race is the most popular among people who don’t bet at any other time of year.
Known for being a difficult and unpredictable course, punters love this race as it’s full of unexpected twists and turns. And picking the favourite doesn’t mean you’re in for a win.
With lots of jumps, including the famous Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn fences, this race is considered one of the most difficult in the world. And it’s this danger and excitement that has punters all over the planet tuning into this annual event in their millions.
What’s better than one great race? How about four whole days of them! Cheltenham Festival is a super popular 4-day event, held in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, each year. And people from all over the UK and Ireland flock in their droves to the prestigious site.
The festival usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day, meaning that it’s particularly popular with Irish punters. And the bars on site are heaving with happy revellers throughout the entirety of the festival.
Held in Chichester, West Sussex, the Glorious Goodwood is a beautiful event that attracts people from all over the world.
The fashionable ‘Goodwood look’ makes this a particularly ‘Instagram-able’ race, with glamorous girls all competing to look their best come Ladies Day.
And you couldn’t ask for a more stunning setting. Next to the coast, the grandstand boasts views of the Trundle, an Iron-Age hill fort.
Dubai World Cup
Heading out of the UK now, and over to the Middle East. The Dubai World Cup, billed as ‘the world’s richest horse race’ is a lot newer than its classic English counterparts.
The first race was held in 1996, and punters from all over the world now fly out to the UAE every year, to enjoy this elite and super-lux event.
With exclusive fine-dining, concerts and other entertainment on offer throughout the event, the race itself isn’t the only thing on offer here. And with a high-fashion dress code, this horse race looks straight out of the pages of Vogue Magazine.
The different horse race betting markets
As you might expect, you can place hundreds of different types of bets on the horses. Given the long history of the sport, it’s no surprise that we’ve found more and more innovative ways to have a flutter over the years.
Bookies love to tinker with the betting options as it keeps the industry fresh and can appeal to different punters in different ways.
Some are naturally more straight forward than others, but each offers its own unique opportunity to potentially win some cash.
Here are a few of the most popular bets that you will find at your favourite bookies.
If you’re looking for simplicity, then you’re going to love this bet! You need to decide which horse you think will win and place your money on it.
Each horse will have its own odds for finishing first. Naturally, the favourite is considered the most likely to win and maybe the obvious choice for a single wager. On the other hand, the odds-on favourite won’t get you much of a return on your stake, so you might want to back one of the others.
Some fans like to take a risk on an outsider because they have huge odds and you never know when there might be an upset. This is only really advisable for races like the Grand National. The length of the course and all the fences in play make it very hard to predict the finishing places.
Perhaps you’re not content with standard odds on a single outcome. In that case, it could be time to spice it up a little with a double bet.
Doubles are effectively two single bets rolled into one. You select a winner for two different races and the odds for both are multiplied by each other. You will need both selections to win but if they do, you’ll get a nice payout.
You could take things a step further if you’re feeling super-lucky. Horse racing sites will allow you to predict three different winners and create a treble bet. It works in much the same way as the double, except you now need all three results to go your way. Again, the odds are better because the chances of one of your horses losing are much greater with three in play.
Your horse doesn’t always have to win. That might sound strange but it’s true! Online horse racing makes it easy to place an each-way bet, which gives you more chances to win on the same race.
Your selection only needs to come in the top 2,3 or 4 places, depending on the number of runners in the race. The odds are quite small, but if you’re confident that you’re betting on a decent horse each time, then you can aim to win lots of small bets this way.
You can, of course, take things the other way and make it much harder to win. Why on earth would you do that? For bigger payouts.
If you can correctly predict the top two horses in a race and in the correct order, then you’ll see some handsome returns. It’s tough to do, but not impossible.
Maybe the forecast bet sounds a little too difficult to pull off. In this case, you could opt for the reverse forecast instead. This bet removes the need to predict the place. As a result, you will win your bet if the two horses you choose finish in the top two places and in any order.
Online horse racing betting gives you so many options, it won’t take long to find the one that suits you best.
Horse Racing Bonuses and Promotions
Horse race betting sites usually offer some incredible welcome bonuses to their new customers. It’s a great way to get new faces through the door. And the nice thing is you can sign up to as many sites as you like to enjoy them.
They aren’t guaranteed free cash, but they do have the potential to hand out some winnings.
One of the top freebies that you can land are free horse racing bets. They are an instant hit with new customers as they offer a risk-free way of having a flutter.
Don’t expect the bet to reach astonishing levels though. You may well be looking at a free fiver or tenner.
They are very popular during special events like the races we looked at earlier. Check the T&Cs to see exactly how the promo works and any restrictions in place. You can find plenty of these offers in our free bets section.
Giving the odds a small lift can be a surprisingly valuable offer. As a new customer, you may be expecting to see your horse with 3.0 odds, for example. However, if a bookie is feeling generous, they may boost the price up to 4.0.
If you only have to sign up for a new account to achieve these enhanced odds, then it’s a fairly low-maintenance deal! Obviously, you will need to place a bet to have any chance of winning, but the outcome could be better than expected.
Horse racing online has many offers for new customers, but it doesn’t always carter so well for existing ones.
Although the reload bonus is looking to change that! With this offer, the site will match your next deposit up to say 30%, for instance.
Bookies will release this offer at different times during the week to entice you to make further deposits on certain days. If you were due to make a deposit anyway, then this is a bonus you shouldn’t overlook.
Beginners guide for horse betting online
When you first start looking at horse racing sites, it’s hard to know where to begin. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips that can make your life a little easier.
Here’s a quick run-down of some of the most important things to consider.
Research the best bookies
Horse race betting sites are full of numbers and terminology that can leave you feeling a little confused. Therefore, it’s important that you find a site that lays everything out in a clear, linear fashion.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basic functions of a site, you’ll also want to make sure that you can place your bets easily. Nobody wants to spend hours trying to enjoy a flutter.
Another important part of the experience is to know whether winning bets are settled quickly or not. To do this, it’s helpful to do a little research.
Do your homework and see what other punters have to say and also check out review sites like ours. Do you, for example, want to go for an established bookmaker or a new betting site?
Compare odds at various horse betting sites
When placing a bet, it’s good practice to choose the best odds. You can easily do this by comparing the prices that various sites offer.
You can place the same bet with loads of different bookies, but why do this at lower odds than necessary?
Shop around and see which operator’s price will maximise your winning potential.
Find the best bonuses
Welcome deals can give your playing money a real boost if you choose the right ones. Check out the various offers that we display here on our site and see which ones work best for you.
Remember that larger bonuses will often come with more rules which can make it harder to benefit.
Whatever bonuses you choose, always read the small print and don’t try to cash out any bonus money before you are supposed to. This can lead to you forfeiting the bonus.
Bet on what you know best
If you’re a fan of UK horse racing and have a decent understanding of how it works, then make that your niche. There’s little point in betting on meetings halfway across the world if you don’t know how the conditions affect the race etc.
Stick to what you know and become an expert in your field.
Here some questions that we frequently have to answer on the horse betting topic.