Beginner’s Guide to Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing is one of the world’s most popular sports to bet on, right up there with the likes of boxing and football betting. After all, there’s nothing quite like the buzz of watching two horses go neck and neck as they race towards the finish line. Pretty much every top bookie offers horse racing markets, but we’ve put together a carefully curated a list of the very best horse racing betting sites. Whether you’re looking for the most generous bonuses, the highest quality live streams or support for PayPal payments, our list of the best sports betting sites has got you covered.
While you could place your bets at random and hope that luck is on your side, we recommend getting familiar with horse racing and the markets offered at the top online betting sites before you place your first wager. To help you get started, we’ve got the low down on everything you need to know about betting on horse racing, from the biggest events to backing a winner. Let’s get to it.
Bet on these top horse racing events
here are horse racing events pretty much all year round, so a betting opportunity is never far away. It’s the biggest events that attract the most bettors, and with plenty of major festivals across the world, racing fans are spoilt for choice. Let’s take a look at a few of the top events:
Famously known as “the fastest two minutes in sports”, the Kentucky Derby has a $2 million purse and attracts a huge 150,000 spectators. It’s the most prestigious race in the US, making up the “triple crown” along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Europe’s most prestigious horse race, this event sees thoroughbreds compete on a 1.5 mile track. Also known simply as the Arc, the €5 million prize pool makes this the world’s second richest turf race after the Everest.
The Grand National
The Grand National is one of the UK’s biggest races, as people across the country tune in to watch the contestants battle it out for a chunk of the £1 million prize money. This four mile race features 30 fences, making it one of racing’s most challenging courses.
Easily the top horse race in Australia, the Melbourne Cup is a handicap race run over two miles. Held annually in November, this event attracts over 100,000 spectators and has a purse of A$7.3 million.
Dubai World Cup
While the Dubai World Cup doesn’t quite match the history of some other major races, it’s quickly established itself as an important date on the racing calendar. With a $10 million prize pool, this is among the most lucrative events in horse racing.
These races are just a few of the many top events that take place annually around the world. Other important dates include Royal Ascot, Cheltenham and the Breeders’ Cup, to name just a few. It’s not just the major festivals you can wager on, either. A huge number of smaller races take place throughout the year, so you’ll never have to wait long to place your next wager.
Horse Racing Betting Options
It’s fair to say that deciding who to back when you bet on horse racing isn’t always straightforward. Whereas most sports feature just two teams or competitors per match, some races can feature 40 horses, which can make picking a winner a little tricky.
Of course, you could always follow the odds and side with the bookies’ favourite, but with so many possible scenarios in each race, this is far from a guarantee. On top of that, horse racing betting odds are notoriously volatile and prices can change just moments before the start of a race, so the smart money is placed after you’ve done your research. Recent form, ground type, pedigree and jockey are just a few factors you should consider when deciding which runner to put your money on.
As with any sport, keeping up to date and actually watching horse races will always help develop your understanding. There are also a countless number of horse racing betting tips online, which can be helpful, but remember that no tip can guarantee a winning bet. Build up your own knowledge of horse racing and pay close attention to the important statistics to help make the best-informed bets possible.
Horse Racing Betting Markets
If you think that horse racing betting simply consists of backing a winner, think again. Although single bets are still the most popular wagers, there’s plenty of betting opportunities on offer at horse racing betting sites. These are some of your options:
Each way – This is one of the most common horse racing bets and consists of two parts – the ‘win’ and the ‘place’. This means that you’re betting on a horse to either win or finish in a place, such as second or third. An equal stake is placed on each part, and it means that you can still make some returns even if the horse you’ve backed doesn’t come first.
Place only – This is a simple bet on a horse to finish in one of the places, either first, second, third or fourth, depending on how many runners are in the race. Place bets are one of the safest horse racing wagers, but the odds are generally a lot shorter than those offered on other markets.
Forecast, tricast – Forecast bets involve predicting who will come first and second in a race, and in what order. If you want to go one better, you can try your hand at a tricast bet and predict the top three.
Reverse forecast, reverse tricast – Some sites also offer reverse forecast and tricast markets, where you pick the top two or three but don’t have to specify placing order.
Double, treble – These are multiple bets where you bet on a number of horses to win separate races – two for doubles, three for trebles and so on. A multiple bet with at least four selections is a horse racing accumulator. You need all your selections to come in to win, though some horse betting sites let you cash out before all the races have finished.
Trixie – A trixie is a multiple bet and is wagered on three horses across three races. You’re placing four bets in total – three doubles and a treble. Two of your horses need to win in order to bank some returns.
Patent – This is essentially a trixie bet but with three added single bets, so altogether you’re placing seven bets. The single bets mean that only one selection needs to win for you to make some returns, though this doesn’t guarantee a profit. The more winning selections, the higher your returns.
Yankee – This is where it starts to get a little complicated. A yankee is another multiple bet, but you’re betting on four horses. You’re placing six doubles, four trebles and a fourfold accumulator, so there are 11 wagers in total. Like a trixie, you need two to be right in order to win some money.
These bets only scratch the surface of horse racing markets, with plenty of other multiple bets on offer at horse betting sites. If you really feel like pushing the boat out, you could try out lucky 15s, super yankees, lucky 31s and heinzs. These bets become increasingly complex, so make sure you do your research before putting your money on the line.
Horse Racing Betting Bonuses
Horse racing is a favourite among bettors the world over, so it’s natural that horse racing betting sites offer welcome bonuses to attract new punters These are usually matched deposits or free bets, which reward you with a bonus fund once you make a qualifying deposit or wager. You can then use your bonus to bet on horse racing without dipping into your real money bankroll.
Due to the popularity of horse racing betting, many bookies also offer racing-specific bonuses that aren’t exclusive to new customers. These may be in the build up to a big event, such as the UK’s Grand National, but many sites also have regular promotions that can be used to bet on smaller races. Common bonuses include odds boosts, where you can get better prices on a selection, and money-back promotions, where you get back a portion of your stake if your bet loses.
Of course, you should take a look at the terms and conditions before you claim any bonus to figure out if the deal is as good as it looks on paper. The small print on some sites reveals restrictions of horse racing bets being placed using welcome bonus funds. For example, you may find a free bet offer that excludes forecast and tricast bets, or system bets like trixies and yankees. Make sure to also look out for other terms such as wagering requirements and minimum odds restrictions so that you’re clued in before you claim your bonus.
Bet on Horse Racing at New Betting Sites
You don’t have to sign up to a well known brand to bet on horse racing – you’ll find racing markets at all the best new sports betting sites as well. In fact, some new bookies, such as Black Type, specialise in horse racing, and might even provide an even more complete betting experience.
New horse racing betting sites often offer particularly generous bonuses to entice new players, as well as having the latest sports betting technology, so they’re definitely worth checking out. Our list of the top horse racing betting sites features both the top new and established brands, so you can easily compare the finest sites on the market.
Bet on Horse Racing Today
Ready to try your luck at the races? Look no further than our recommended best sports betting sites to find your perfect bookie. Compare the top bonuses using our list, and check out our sportsbook reviews to get the lowdown on banking, odds and withdrawal times. Simply sign up to place your bets today!
Your Questions Answered
Yes. All the horse betting sites we recommend are licensed by governing bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission, which ensures your account and finances are secure and that players have access to responsible gambling settings.
Sure. You can use your smartphone to bet on horse racing at the top bookmakers, either via a mobile web browser or a native mobile app. Mobile betting apps can provide a smoother and more convenient betting experience, and also come with push notifications to alert you to the latest horse racing betting bonuses.
In most cases your bet would become void if your horse falls, meaning it’s a loss. However, some horse betting sites now offer “faller insurance”, which means you’ll get your stake back if the horse falls, unseats the jockey, or is brought down. However, this is usually only available for selected races, and bets may be priced at lower odds or have lower maximum bet limits than usual.
The starting price (SP) is the odds on a horse at the time a race begins. As odds often fluctuate in the build up to a race, many sites give punters the choice between the current odds or SP when placing a bet. If you choose the SP, you could get better or worse odds, depending on how they change. Most bookies also offer ‘best odds guaranteed’ promotions. This means that if a punter places a fixed odds bet and the SP offers better odds, the payout will be calculated using the SP.
Yes. A few bookmakers allow punters to bet live in-play, or ‘in-running’, on horse racing. While some races, like the Grand National, can last over ten minutes, many races take only a few minutes to complete. This means the odds are particularly volatile, so you’ll have to pay close attention if you want to try your luck at live horse racing betting.
Virtual horse races are computer-simulated races that are available to bet on at some online horse betting sites. The results of virtual horse races are determined by random number generator (RNG) technology, and you can bet on these races 24/7, which is one of the reasons they’ve become popular among punters.
Yes. Some top bookies offer live horse racing streaming, which is perfect for live betting or if you just want to watch the action unfold. Just keep in mind that at some sites you may have to place a bet in order to stream races.