Choose from the best online UK bookmakers
Picking the right horse racing bookie isn’t an exact science; we can’t tell you exactly who to use, but there are a number of different aspects of a horse racing betting site that you need to consider when you are choosing your horse racing bookmakers. Whether you want the best prices and specials offers for the biggest horse racing events or you would rather have excellent coverage of races as far-flung as South Africa and Australia, there is sure to be a horse racing bookmaker that is perfect for you.
There are many factors that go into choosing a horse betting site. Below we detail just a few; for more, read our article about what makes a good horse betting site.
While you should not choose a site based purely on its reputation, a good reputation can go a long way. Many of these sites have a good reputation because they are safe, have good customer service and, as a whole, take good care of their customers. That said, be sure to take into account other factors as well.
When choosing a horse racing betting site, you want to be sure that it’s one that will respond promptly to any questions or concerns you might have. Also make sure that it has your preferred method of correspondence, whether email, live chat or telephone.
There are many types of horse racing bets you can place. Different sites offer different types; if you prefer ‘to win’ bets, for example, check the horse racing section to be sure you can bet in that manner.
Do you bet on Cheltenham Festival every year? Check out what promotions the site might offer or has offered in the past. Or perhaps money back on fallers is important to you. In any case, check out a site’s ‘Promotions’ tab (or similar) to see what’s on offer.
The most common type of bonus is the welcome bonus. Shop around to find the site which offers the best welcome bonus for you and ongoing bonuses as well.
Here at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites UK, we bring you all the best betting opportunities for the biggest horse racing events - the whole year round. Whether it's Ascot you're after, Grand National excitement and fun, or you're looking for more information, background or an expert guide about the Cheltenham Festival, you're in the right place.
The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the UK National Hunt season - it is the event that most jumps trainers, jockeys and fans will be looking forward to from the first moments of the season. The Festival features a number of top-class races over four days of racing, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Cheltenham Friday, and is the most popular week for horse racing betting in the country. Should you find yourself looking for further information on everything and anything Cheltenham, be sure to thoroughly read our article with tips on betting at the Cheltenham Festival.
If looking for the biggest race for horse racing betting, then there is only one answer. The Grand National is one of the most traditional sporting events in the United Kingdom and still draws huge audiences, with people up and down the country having a bet. While many will choose a horse based on the name or colours the jockey is wearing, the Grand National offers a unique test for those who like the challenge of picking a winner.
The highlight of the UK flat racing season and the most glamorous week in the horse racing calendar, Royal Ascot brings a unique mixture of top-class racing and high fashion. For fans of flat racing, it is the pinnacle, with only the quickest horses in the country getting the chance to make history at the historic event dating back as far as the 18th century.
Horse racing is a sport of opinions and there are a number of strategies that different bettors like to use in order to attempt to beat the bookies. Some of the most popular include:
Dutching your bets simply means splitting your stakes between a number of selections so that, regardless of the odds, you will win the same amount if any of your selections win. For example, if you fancy two horses in a race, one at 4/1 and the other at 9/1, you could put £10 on the first selection and £5 on the second. Then, whichever one wins, you would get £50 back for your original £15 stake.
Favourites tend to be highly backed and therefore become shorter prices than perhaps they should be based on their probability of winning. This is mainly because as more and more people bet on the favourite, the bookies will attempt to lower its price in order to encourage bettors to back other selections, therefore ensuring they make an even profit regardless of the result. We can take advantage of this by ‘laying’ the favourite using betting exchanges. This means you are essentially taking bets on the favourite to win, acting like the bookmaker. In these cases, you have to pay out winning bets if the favourite wins, while you win the stakes if the favourite loses.
This strategy takes advantage of human nature and people not wanting to be burned twice by the same selection. If a horse is beaten as a favourite, people who backed it last time out will be less willing to do so again, so we can get good prices, presuming that the horse was simply unlucky or had a bad day. A better strategy would be to look at favourites beaten through no fault of their own, such as those brought down by other horses, and look to those as good future bets.
A good method for people looking to bet on the horses with little research of their own is to follow the market. If a horse is being well backed, its price will start to shorten (odds get smaller). A well-backed horse is usually being bet on for good reason, and so following the money essentially means we are following public opinion about the result of the race. Bear in mind, though, that you are generally taking lower odds than those punters originally making their bets.
Getting together the list of winners of a specific race in the past generally gives us certain trends and attributes to look out for in future winners, such as their ratings, age, previous form and number of runs that season. By looking at those trends, we can see which horses in a field match the required trends, therefore giving us an idea of which horses are worth backing.
The most common types of horse racing bets include:
The simplest way to bet on the horses - simply pick a horse to win the race, and if they win, you win!
While betting ‘win only’ is the simplest, ‘each way’ betting is the most popular form of horse racing betting. With these bets, half of the stake is put towards the horse winning, while the other half is put towards the horse finishing in the places at a predetermined fraction of the price. The number of places depends on the number of horses running.
If not confident of a horse actually winning the race, we can bet on the horse to simply finish in the places. This isn’t as popular a bet as win or each way, but it can offer a unique betting avenue in certain cases.
As with most sporting events, we have some races where a favourite is so well fancied that its price is too short to make it a worthwhile bet. However, it can also seem daunting to bet against it if you don’t fancy any of the rivals to actually beat the favourite. This is where the ‘Without the Favourite’ market comes in, essentially allowing us to bet as if favourite were not running at all.
Another way to find value can be to use forecasts. With these bets, we are deciding on the first two or three horses to finish. We can either just pick which horses will finish in the top two or three, or we can bet on the order they will finish at longer odds. Forecasts can give us long odds and can be another good way to bet if there is a heavy favourite in the race.
Like with other sports, we can create accumulators and combination bets by combining our horse racing selections. Horses’ odds tend to be fairly long in comparison to other sports, so we can often get accumulators at very long odds, while we can also make each way accumulators allowing us to win if our selections finish in the places in each race.
A fun way to give an interest in a day’s racing without having to stake large amounts - the placepot simply requires us to pick a horse in each race of the day to finish in the places. The total money staked goes into a total pot which is split between the winning tickets at the end of the day.
Traditionally, when it comes to horse racing, we use what is called fractional odds, presented in the format of, for example, 4/1, 5/1 or 10/1. With these odds, if we stake the right-hand number on a horse and it wins, we win the left-hand number plus our original stake.
For example, if we bet on a horse at 10/1 with a stake of £10 and it wins, we get £100 profit plus our original stake back, meaning we get £110 back in total for our £10 bet.
We also sometimes see odds in the decimal format, for example, 5.5 or 3.75. To work out our winnings using these odds, we simply multiply our stake by the odds to get our total winnings, including the original stake.
For example, if we bet on a horse at 3.75 with a stake of £10 and it wins, we get 10x3.75 = £37.50 back, which includes our original stake.
When we are betting each way, we are given specific ‘terms’ for our each way betting, which details the number of places covered by the bet as well as the fraction of the odds that we get for the each way portion of our bet. The terms depend on the number of runners in the race - the more runners, the more places available.
The standard terms are as follows, but this can varies from bookmaker to bookmaker:
Races with 2 or 3 runners: generally win bets only
Races with 3 or 4 runners: 1/5 of the odds for 1st or 2nd
Races with 5 to 7 runners: 1/4 odds for 1st or 2nd
Races with 8 to 11 runners: 1/5 odds for 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Races with 12 to 15 runners: 1/4 odds for 1st, 2nd or 3rd
Races with 16 to 21 runners: 1/5 odds for 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th
Races with 22 or more runners: 1/4 odds for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th
If we want to find the best horse racing betting sites, we need to compare each bookie and see which one suits our needs. We provide you with the tools to compare each bookie and find the one that is right for you, whether that is through our charts listing our top-ranked bookies and their betting bonuses or by looking deeper into our reviews section to find out more about each individual bookie. When choosing your horse racing bookie make sure to at least take the following into account:
The first thing that will attract you to a new bookie is their betting bonus, with most offering us some sort of incentive when we join. Different bookies offer different levels of bonus with different terms and conditions, so make sure to check this out before you sign up and start betting.
After we’ve used our deposit bonuses, it is the offers and promotions that will be most attractive and keep us using an individual bookmaker. Each bookie will offer various offers and promotions, so picking a bookie depends on what you want, with offers including bonuses if your horse wins by a certain distance, money back if a horse falls or money back if your horse is beaten by a narrow margin, amongst others.
There’s nothing like the adrenaline of watching a horse race when you’ve got a bet in-play, and many bookies will offer you the chance to watch your bets in action through their live streaming services, while others show graphics detailing how the race is unfolding. If that is something that appeals to you, make sure to choose a bookie that offers these kinds of features. Betting in-play is difficult in horse racing, and not offered by everyone, although some bookies will offer in-play coverage of some kind, so it is an option if this is something that you’d like to do.
It used to be that horse racing was the king of sports for betting, but in modern times, other sports such as football and tennis have taken over somewhat. That means that the level of coverage will differ for horse racing between bookies, so make sure to find a bookie that offers the kind of coverage you require, especially if looking to bet on horse racing outside of the UK.
The odds on offer from different bookmakers for the same selection vary more than you might think. Bookmakers are likely to have some horses in a race at a good price and others at a bad price, so having a few accounts is no bad thing. Comparing the odds before picking your bookie is vital, and with a bit of research, you should be able to see the bookie that offer the most consistent good odds.
Customer support is an underrated aspect of sports betting, as it only tends to rear its head when we have problems with a bet or with the site. Before you pick your horse racing bookie, it’s a good idea to check that they have a decent array of options for customer support, including FAQ sections and live chat features.