Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the UK, particularly as far as betting is concerned. While the football calendar has its ups and downs, racing remains consistent and keeps bookmakers and punters ticking over all year long.
There are horse racing meetings in either the UK or Ireland every day, while the sport is also huge in the United States, as well as France, South Africa, Australia, and various other territories.
No matter what time of day it is, there is likely some horse racing taking place somewhere in the world.
While finding a race to bet on is easy, deciding which sportsbook to use is not. All old-school UK bookmakers and most newcomers offer horse racing betting to some degree. But just because your bookie has the upcoming races listed, that doesn’t mean there aren’t better options out there.
#1 horse racing betting site 2021
Betfair Horse Racing Betting
£20 Risk Free Bet
Even when only considering their sportsbook, Betfair would arguably be the best horse racing betting site in the UK. But when you throw in the Betfair Exchange as well, they are truly second to none when it comes to wagering on the sport. From regular promotions, to live streaming, to the best odds around, Betfair leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the nags.
Horse racing betting: Key factors
Anyone that is used to betting on sports will be aware of some of the ways in which bookmakers encourage customers to wager with them.
One of the main ways of enticing punters is through promotions, while live streaming, and high-quality content providing tips and analysis is also valuable.
On top of that, offering the best odds and as many different bet types and markets as possible, both before the race and in-play, help the best horse racing betting sites stand out from the rest.
- Look for the best odds
- Ensure every bet is thoroughly researched
- Don't bet on every single race
- Place different types of bet
- Only bet what you can afford
Horse racing betting odds
Odds should always be at the forefront of any bettors’ mind when placing a wager. Rather than just sticking to one betting site and using them for every punt, it is much more profitable over time to take the best odds, wherever they may be, even if that means having an account with half a dozen different bookies.
When it comes to standard Win or Each Way wagers, there is not much disparity between the leading bookies, especially as far as the betting favourites are concerned, but even taking a horse at 11/2 as opposed to 5/1 is certainly worthwhile.
The big boys in the UK betting sphere, such as Betfair, Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes and others, all have a very similar payout percentage to one another, meaning that on the whole, one does not have better odds than the other across all horse racing markets.
It is worth shopping around for the best odds on any given race.
But for each specific race, there is a chance that one might have a standout best price on your chosen horse. This could be the case ante-post, i.e. days in advance of the race, or in the minutes leading up the race, when the market is moving quickly and big money is being piled on.
The best odds for a horse to win a particular race are usually found on the Betfair Exchange, so we would suggest using this service for Win Only wagers. However, for each way bets, the best odds and terms can be found elsewhere.
Top 10 horse racing betting sites
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High odds on the exchange
New customers only. Min odds 1/5 (1.2). If you place a multiple at least one selection must meet the min odds requirement. Max £20 refund. Payment restrictions apply. Qualifying bet must be placed and settled within 30 days of account opening. T&Cs apply.
Huge variety of markets
Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Classic British bookmaker
New customers who register, deposit & bet via Mobile only, min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets credited as 2 X £15 (30 day expiry), free bet/player/payment method/country restrictions apply.
Boost odds with Uniboost
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Wide selection of promos
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify. £5 Bet Builder free bet will be available to claim from the promotions hub after the qualifying bet has been settled & will be valid for 7 days. T&Cs apply.
Boosts & Best Odds Guaranteed
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min €5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x €5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Money back specials
18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.
Free daily predictor & cash prize
New UK customers only. £10 Min Deposit. 100% matched free bet on your first deposit of £10. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bets. Debit Card & Paypal deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Full Terms apply. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way.
Unique Betfinder function
18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days. Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.
Excellent live streaming
£/$/€10 min deposit using promo code “TOP100” - The bonus will be applied once the full deposit amount has been wagered at least twice with cumulative odds of 1.5 or greater. Wagering must be cleared within 60 days. This offer may not be combined with any other offer. Withdrawal, payment methods and country restrictions, and Full T&C’s apply
Horse racing betting site promotions
Many horse racing betting promotions are based around the odds, so there is some significant crossover between the two elements.
Existing customers with various bookmakers can take advantage of offers such as Best Odds Guaranteed, which many top betting sites implement across all UK and Irish horse racing.
All of the bookies in our top 10 list offer Best Odds Guaranteed.
Several bookies also offer daily bet boosts. Some allow punters to choose which single bets they want to boost, while others have enhanced odds on selected single or multiple markets each day.
William Hill offer enhanced odds, as well as daily bet boosts of the users' choice.
There are also money back specials, which are often ramped up around the major events such as the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, and Royal Ascot. Terms can vary, with some offering money back as cash, and others as free bets.
Extra places is another common type of horse racing betting promotion. This gives bettors a bigger chance of winning an each way bet.
For new customers, horse racing promotions are often even more generous. Whether it is free bets, double winnings, or enhanced odds, there are copious creative ways in which betting sites can provide value to punters.
Latest horse racing promotions
Get a £5 free bet on MansionBet for every 3/1+ winner you back each weekend on selected races. Read more
If your horse falls or the jockey is unseated at Aintree, MansionBet will refund you with a free bet of up to £25. Read more
Horse racing bet types and markets
Some bettors are happy to just place win, each way, or accumulator bets, but in an ever-evolving betting landscape, more and more different ways to bet on horse racing are popping up.
By selecting a race on Paddy Power, you can view markets such as Match Bets.
Many bookies allow you to lengthen the odds by not only backing a horse to win, but selecting it to win by a minimum number of lengths.
Forecasts and tricasts should also be available on every betting site, while betting without the favourite, finish exactly 2nd, and match bets between two horses are just a few of the many different types of wagers now on offer.
Bookies Bonuses Recommends
Paddy Power Racing Betting
£20 Risk Free Bet
Plus a £5 Bet Builder free bet!
Paddy Power is a great option for horse racing bettors, as they display an array of different markets and also ensure that there are lots of promotions for new and existing customers. The brand also has a news site with daily horse racing betting tips from racing experts plus legends such as Ruby Walsh.
In-play horse racing betting
Live betting has become hugely popular in sports such as football and tennis, and while races may not last anywhere near as long as other sporting events, there is still an appetite for in-play wagering.
Not all online sportsbooks have this capability, but some offer the opportunity to back a horse during the race. If a horse starts badly but you still believe it can win, you might be able to get better odds during the race than you would have done beforehand.
Back or lay a horse during the race using your expertise.
On the Betfair Exchange, you can also lay horses, which is essentially backing a horse not to win, while the race is going on. Odds update every few seconds, so the prices are completely up to speed.
Horse racing live streaming
The best way to follow horse races is through a live streaming system on the betting site you placed the bet on.
A large number of betting sites, generally the biggest ones (including all 10 in our list), provide this function, and if they also offer live betting on races, then this is a top-notch experience and a fantastic way to follow and bet on the action.
Sometimes, a small stake is required in order to watch a race live, but on other occasions, as long as you are logged in to your account, you are good to go.
Watch and bet on live horse races all in one place on Bet365.
Horse racing form, tips and analysis
Although this might come as a surprise, betting sites do provide a comprehensive overview of the form of each horse in UK and Irish meetings, and lots of bookies also have additional information to accompany the numbers, provided by outlets such as Timeform or Racing Post.
The honest and detailed analysis allows bettors to make informed bets.
Some betting sites also have blogs or news sections, where tipsters and pundits share their best bets for each day. The coverage is particularly impressive around big meetings.
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