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Betting on Horse Racing

Horse Racing Betting Sites

betting on horsesHorse Racing is the oldest sport that is still available for you to bet on nowadays. Horse Racing has a huge tradition in the UK and it is worth nearly £4.5 billion to the economy with a total of 100,000 jobs directly or indirectly linked.

In Great Britain alone there are more than 7,000 horse owners and more than 10,000 races a year. Despite many are saying that it is not a sport followed by the youngest generations the numbers seem to indicate the opposite: every year around 6 million people attend horse racing in the UK and 400 million worldwide. In Britain alone, there are 11 million people that place bet on the nags every year and this is more than any other sport, football included!

The horse racing industry is huge

As you can see the horse racing industry is massive and it is not surprising to see that every bookmaker is interested in acquiring market share in horse racing betting. In this guide, we will explain how to bet on horses and also what are the suggested betting sites for this sport.

Best Online Bookmakers For Horse Racing

Horse BettingEvery respectable bookmaker that operates in the UK offers horse racing betting. After all Horse Racing is still the bread and butter of most operators and, in most cases, the main source of revenues.

Since there is a lot of competition between betting sites in regards to horse racing there are lots of opportunities for players to secure very good value. There are some bookmakers that do excel in this sport and here we have listed the ones we believe are the best as they have the top horse racing features and more offers. Check those out and get the maximum value from your horse racing bets.

BetfredBetfred  – Biggest Racing Sponsor – Tote Owner

Betfred has a great tradition in the UK when it comes to horse racing. They have always invested in this sport and in 2011 they have also become the owners of the Tote: thanks to this deal they now have a solid presence at every single racetrack in the UK.

As if this wasn’t enough, Betfred are also the biggest sponsor of UK horse racing as they have a sponsorship deal in place that is covering 700 races every year. It is, therefore, a consequence that Betfred is offering great horse racing odds and the markets available are in line with their marketing efforts.

Stream every UK and Irish Race

With a Betfred account, you will be able to live stream every UK and Irish race both on your computer and mobile. The only term is that you stake a minimum of £1 in the race. Betfred does also provide, free of charge, great statistics where you can see the latest results, race form, course information and so on.

Similarly to others betting sites, Betfred are offering best odds guarantee on UK and Irish racing so even if you place a bet well before the race you can have peace of mind that you are not going to commit on any value.

Betfred invented the Lucky Betting System

Betfred is also the inventor of the Lucky betting system and to celebrate this they are offering enhanced odds for one winner each day who match all selections in Lucky 15 / 31/ 63. So by betting with Betfred, you will get enhanced payouts on Lucky bets placed on super bonus races and this is not something you can find elsewhere.

Since Betfred is the owner of the original Tote license, the totepool betting feature is much bigger than any other competitors: here you will find offers such as risk-free placepots and Scoop6 exclusive promos.

Site Interface Can Be Improved

On the slightly negative side, we should say that the interface to bet can be improved and the same can be said for the streaming that looks clunky especially if compared with the most modern bookmakers. Another criticism we can make is that Betfred are very UK focus and although this is positive they should also look further to the international meetings. Don’t get us wrong though those are minor issues and Betfred is surely a bookmaker you want to have in your portfolio if you are going to bet on the nags.

As you would expect, you can get some great value by betting on Betfred as there are regular offers and promotions dedicated to horse racing. If you don’t have an account yet with this betting site you will also be able to get a very generous welcome sign up offer. Betfred has very high payouts limits on horse racing as the maximum is £1 million. Betfred Full Review.

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Paddy PowerPaddyPower  – Best For Regular Offers

Horse racing is massive in Ireland and surely an Irish betting giant like Paddy Power is expected to treat this sport with all the respect he deserves. Most of Paddy Power’s brilliant offers are in fact dedicated to horse racing.

By betting with Paddy Power on horse racing you will benefit also from best odds guarantees on UK and Irish horse races: with this offer, if your horse starting price is better than the price you accepted when placing the bet, then Paddy Power will match the difference. Similarly to Betfred, you can live stream horse races both on desktop and mobile as long as you have placed a minimum £1 bet. We have tried the service and we can confirm that the quality of the audio and text commentary is great.

There are also other services provided by Paddy Power to racing punters and are completely free of charge. You can get the latest statistics, news, results, and form in the ‘Paddy Power inFormer’ section: here you will find everything you need to make an informed decision on every selection.

Unbeatable Offers

But the main reason why Paddy Power is a great horse racing bookmaker is their unbeatable offers. Every single day Paddy Power will give you an offer around horse racing which is associated with a comical theme: this is in line with Paddy Power relaxed approach. Most days you can get money back offers such as if your horse finishes 2nd or 3rd in big races but also enhanced place offers, free bets and a lot more.

Paddy Power might not suit everyone but it is a fact that they cannot be beaten for daily betting promotions. Most UK bookmakers pay little attention to international meetings but this is not the case for Paddy Power that is also streaming races from the US, South America, and France for instance. As you would expect Paddy Power limits for horse racing are huge (up to £1 million) and by signing up with them you will also receive a superb welcome offer! Paddy Power Full Review.

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CoralCoral  – Great All-Rounder

Coral is one of the biggest UK bookmakers and has been involved in horse racing since the legislation in 1961 allowed off-track betting. It is therefore not surprising to see that horse racing feature prominently on the homepage of this betting site where you can access the dedicated section with odds, betting highlights and offers.

If we do want to score Coral, we can say that they do not do anything you cannot find on others betting sites, but they do have an overall package that we believe has the edge over the competition.

Great odds and Live Streaming Offering

Coral allows you to live stream UK and Irish horse races both on mobile and online as long as you have taken part in the action with a minimum stake of £1. The live stream section has a great interface and also presents a considerable amount of betting options.

By placing a bet with Coral, you will also get the best odds guarantees security: so if your horse SP is higher than the odds you were given, this bookmaker will cover the difference. As you would expect this betting site is also offering a vast range of betting news, statistics, results, blogs and excellent radio service to enhance your betting experience.

Money Back Promotions

One thing to flag is that there are some offers at Coral that you won’t find elsewhere. One of those is the money back if your horse finishes second by a length or less in selected UK and Irish flat races. Another one is the money back if your horse falls in National Hunt jump racing. In addition to that, we have to say that Coral is perfect in giving existing customers regular free bets and enhanced odds. If you are betting on the nags regularly, you want to have Coral in your betting site portfolio.

Even though they have some coverage for US racing and other international meetings if you focus on anything outside the UK you might be better off with an international bookmaker. Coral payout limits for horse racing are high (up to £1 million), and when you sign up you will also get a very generous offer so that you can give them a good try! Coral Full Review.

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BetVictorBetVictor  – Best For International Streaming

Even if BetVictor is still a prominent UK bookmaker it has over time acquired a prestigious international pedigree that is missing in some others online betting sites. It is therefore advisable to have it in your horse racing betting sites portfolio as they do provide things that you won’t necessarily find elsewhere.

BetVictor are offering the best odds guarantee price promise, and they are also streaming all races in Britan and Ireland as long as you have placed a bet. In addition to this, however, with BetVictor, you can also stream races from abroad like for example South Africa and UAE. We have looked at their odds, and they are terrific, so BetVictor is the clear destination if you are going to bet on international races.

Top interface

This betting site has worked hard to provide a very good betting interface to their customers: this note also extends to their excellent mobile app where placing a bet is very easy and intuitive. On the slightly negative side, the depth of the market isn’t at the same level of the competition, and the same can be said in regards to offers and promotions which are never the most impressive. Having said that BetVictor’s virtual racing offer is by far the best around at this moment in time.

Is All About Fairness With BetVictor

BetVictor’s brand is all about fairness, and this is also reflected in horse racing: they will give customers money back if the horse loses his winning chance at the start of the race after coming under starters orders. So if your horse is refusing, whipping around at the beginning and fail to come out or lose all chance at the stalls, BetVictor will refund your bet: this is only possible here as all the other bookmakers will take your money. BetVictor won’t, and it will even give you a cash refund: this is a clear proof that this company wants to be the gentleman of the bookmakers.

All in all, BetVictor is a must have bookmaker when betting on horse racing so if you don’t have an account yet take advantage of the generous sign-up offer they are giving out now. BetVictor Full Review.

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LadbrokesLadbrokes  – All In One Racing Site

Ladbrokes has been in the horse racing betting for more than 100 years. It was initially operating as an agent for horses trained at Ladbroke hall back in the 1800s.

As you would expect Ladbrokes are offering an all-round package to horse racing punters: you can get live streaming and best odds guarantees on Uk and Irish horse racing in addition to Totepool and exchange betting. Ladbrokes also have an excellent US racing coverage and provide customers with great news, stats and results features.

Ladbrokes One Of The Top Horse Racing Sites

Ladbrokes is undoubtedly one of the best horse racing betting sites out there, but we have to highlight that their offers are generally quite disappointing and also they have a rather bland interface if compared with the others top bookmakers. Payouts are also quite limited considering they are a massive bookmaker, so we are not impressed with them. Certainly, one to keep an eye on but we don’t see Ladbrokes at the very top. Ladbrokes Full Review.

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William HillWilliam Hill  – Big Market Depth

William Hill is another bookmaker that has a very long history in regards to horse racing. Similarly to the competition, they are offering the best odds guarantee on the UK, and Irish racing and also they can be proud of their live streaming service which is one of the best around. On William Hill TV you can watch not only domestic races but also most US ones.

Great Odds And Features

William Hill scores very high when it comes to odds and features: the depth of the market is enormous and so is the coverage. When betting with this bookmaker, you can see that they have immense knowledge in regards to horse racing. On the negative side, William Hill is rather weak in regards to offers, and the interface can be undoubtedly improved. Since they have a great book though this is something you can live with and we surely suggest to have this betting site in your portfolio as it can come back very useful. William Hill Full Review.

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A Brief History Of Horse Racing

History of horse racingHorse racing is one of the first forms of gambling that still exists today. Even with some differences and variations, this sport survives in nearly every country where breeds, courses, obstacles, and surfaces are made to suit the different cultures. In the Arab Emirates, you can also bet on Camel racing, in the US in Pig Racing and in Norfolk on the snail racing!

The Sport Of Kings

Initially, horse racing was designed for warriors to show their skills. With the time it became an aristocratic activity, and it was therefore known as ‘the sport of kings.’ Racehorses became, for example, a prevalent type of gift amongst European monarchs and until today Queen Elizabeth II owns many horses that do attends the many ‘Royal’ meetings.

It was in Newmarket that anything like modern day horse racing took place for the first time. King James I and then Queen Anne saw the potential of this area for horse riding already back in the 1600’s: the first race at Royal Ascot is therefore still named the ‘Queen Anne’s stakes’. In 1964, however, Oliver Cromwell banned the sport but King Charles II revived by introducing the Newmarket Plate that was won by himself.

The Jockey club was created in 1750 and ‘the classics’ were established towards the end of that century including St Leger, Epsom Oaks, the Epsom Derby and the 1000 and 2000 Guinea’s. It is impressive to see that those races have made it until today and do still provide an excellent challenge for breeders and jockeys.

Technology has improved the sport

Even though many aristocratic elements are still there, nowadays horse raving has opened the doors to the masses that can access the news from newspapers, television, streaming and also bet through the bookmakers. Technology has made it possible to track any horse race worldwide from your mobile phone.

Every day there are hundreds of different races taking place at all levels and distances. You can decide to bet on flat racing and jump racing from the smallest meeting up to Cheltenham or the Aintree Grand National where around £150 million is wagered on a single race every year. But what are the best bookmakers for horse racing and where you can bet on international races? What type of bets you can place and what are the offers available? Find the answers to all those questions here in our dedicated horse racing betting guide. If you want to know more about the history of horse racing check our dedicated section.

How To Bet On Horse Racing

If you are new to horse racing, then you will realise that there are terminologies that are different from the ones of other sports. Nothing concerning though as, once explained, everything is pretty straightforward and over time you will become proficient with those terms. In this page, we have tried to make your life easier and have discussed some of the standard conditions and betting options that you will encounter in your journey into the world of horse racing betting.

If you are looking for regular promotions take a look at our horse racing offers page. If you want to know more about horse racing betting check out our guide.

Starting Price

When you are betting on horses you can either decide to take the price offered at the moment that you place a bet or you can also go for the starting price or SP. The SP is the odds of a horse at the start of the race so when the betting is suspended. Similarly to other sports, odds tend to move over time and this fluctuation is dictated by both form and the amount of money that is bet on a particular market. The vast amount of cash is placed before the race is live and this is why you can see the odds being more volatile as we getting closer to the start.

The Best Odds Guaranteed And The Starting Price

The industry sets the Starting Price (SP) and it is respected by all the bookmakers that are offering it to their customers. There isn’t a particular advantage to taking an SP and the majority of punters only prefer to take SP in case of odds will drift out. The vast majority of bookmakers are now offering best odds guarantees for the UK and Irish racing so it is probably better to take the fixed price as if the SP will become higher then you will get that price anyway, so you have nothing to lose.


Similar to other sports a favourite in horse racing is the horse that has the lowest odds when you are placing the bet. In close races that have a big field (i.e. a high number of runners) the favourite can change several times before the race is starting.

You can back the favourite irrespective of who it is with most bookmakers as they have an option where you can bet on the favourite at SP odds (regardless of who it ends up to be). With some betting sites, you can also bet the second favourite too.

Best Odds Guarantee

Best Price Guaranteed 300x112 - Betting on Horse RacingThe vast majority of online betting sites are now offering best odds guarantee but what this means? The concept is pretty simple. If you are betting on a horse that does qualify for the best odds guaranteed and the industry starting price (SP) has higher odds than the ones you received when you initially made the bet, your odds will be automatically upgraded to match the SP and you will receive a higher payout if your selection is a winning one.

Why It Is Important To Take Advantage Of Best Odds Guaranteed?

In case the SP is lower than the odds you were given, you will still keep the original odds so you understand that you are in a win-win situation. Generally, it is always better to bet with bookmakers that do provide the best odds guarantee as it is an additional insurance in case the price you are given was significantly lower than the final SP. Even if you are betting with a bookmaker that give you the best odds guarantee you should always check that the odds given are good value vs the competition. This is because if the SP odds will not end up higher than the odds you were given, you will be left with these and they might be lower then what you might get elsewhere.

Also, bear in mind that best odds guarantees usually only apply to bets that were placed on the day so if you are planning to bet on races further ahead you have to be conscious that those will not be covered.

Disqualification And Non-Runner No Bet

disqualifiedDisqualification happens rather frequently on horse racing, and it is something you need to consider. Horses can be disqualified for different reasons, but the most common is failed weight after the race or the horse taking a non-specified route. When this happens, there is a steward’s enquiry that will make a decision, and if the horse that you have backed is disqualified, you can end up losing your winnings. Some bookmakers might offer to pay out on disqualified horses as well in addition to the horse that eventually wins the race, but this is not the norm. The advice here is that if you are planning to bet regularly on a horse, then you should get a betting site that does payout on disqualified horses.

What is Non-Runner No Bet?

If your horse pulls out before the race, bookmakers will return your stake as standard, and this is called Non-Runner No Bet: this is however only true if the bet was placed on the day of the race. If you have backed the horse in an ante-post market, the refund will not be as standard, so it is essential to check the terms and condition of your bookmaker.

Rule 4

Rule 4This rule is also called Rule 4 deductions. If a horse will be withdrawn and he is in a specific odds range, then a bookmaker can reduce the payout on other horses. The reduction amount will be determined based on the odds of the withdrawn horse and will apply to all bets that have been placed on the day of the race but not ante-post.

What Is Rule 4 Deduction?

Some betting sites have decided to cancel this rule for a specific odds ranges so if you are going to bet regularly with horses it is best to pick a bookmaker that will pay out full amounts in most cases.

Let’s make an example to get this rule clear: if you are backing a horse at 5/1 and you have a favourite horse that is withdrawn at odds that are evens (2.0) then due to Rule 4 you are going to lose £0.45 for every £1 won. If you have staked £10, then you would initially get £50, but with the deduction, you will only get £27.50.

Ante Post Betting

Ante Post bettingAnte-post is any bet that is placed more than a day before a race takes place. Usually, it is before 9 am on race day but this is not uniform, and it is worth checking with your bookmaker. In this sport, the most significant amount of money is bet on the day of the race, but for significant events, money is wagered on the ante-post market.

Why Betting Ante-Post On Horse Racing?

Some bookmakers tend to release prices earlier then others so if you like betting on the ante-post make sure you select a betting site that does offer earlier prices.

But what is the rationale for placing an ante-post bet? Since more money are bet as we get closer to a big event odds will move as a consequence: this means that horses with very high odds like 50/1 and 1000/1 will move to a more normal range (for example in the Grand National). If you are betting on outsiders, it can be advantageous to bet ante-post.

It is important to realise that bookmakers have different terms between ante-post betting and on the day betting. The vast majority of operators, for example, will not return stakes for non-runners in the ante-post. Similarly, promotional offers like best odds guarantees might not apply to ante-post betting, so it is worth checking the terms before deciding to place an early bet on horses.

Early And Board Prices

Board prices traditionally refer to the odds that are on the ‘boards’ of the bookmakers at the racecourse. Those are normally made around midday which is a couple of hours before the first race takes place. There are also prices offered before this, from around 9 am and are called ‘early prices.’

Both early and board prices will qualify for best odds guarantees, non-runner refunds and other offers and concessions.

Tote & Totepool Explained

Totepool bettingSurely we have all seen the tote brand around but what is the tote and what is totepool? Betfred owns the tote license but you can do totepool betting with the majority of bookmakers.

Totepool is a little different to regular betting on horse racing. In a conventional horse betting, you can decide to either take the fixed odds when placing the bet or taking the SP. When you bet on the tote the odds are not fixed but will vary depending on both the total amount of money that has been bet and also the number of punters that are taking part in the game: this is why the word ‘pool’ is included in the brand name.

Many Different Types Of Totepool

There are many different types and variations of the totepool, but in general, you can place all the usual kinds of bets on the tote like win, place, each way, forecasts and lots more. The multiple race betting of the tote is very popular as it allows for a tremendous amount of money to be won: Totescoop6 is offered nearly every Saturdays, and to land this you have to pick six winners from 6 selected races (those are usually televised but could be in different tracks).

The difference here is that you are not betting directly against the bookmaker but other punters. The operator will only get a cut of the pool to organise and collect customers bets. Due to this odds usually are 10% better than those you will find with straight fixed odds betting. The cost of taking part in Totepool is low as it is just £1 minimum or £2 for the Scoop6.

Check terms and conditions

As mentioned, there are many variants of tote betting like totewin, toteplace, totejackpot, toteplacepot, totequadpot, toteexcata, and totetrifecta. You can find all the details in our dedicated totepool page. Since tote betting can have different rules especially around non-runners and disqualified horses, it makes sense to check those in advance if you are not used to tote betting.

The majority of people see tote as a fun game, a bit like a lottery. It is something that you can try weeks in and out as the cost is meagre and if you do win, you will win big. The majority of punters tend to play the tote in addition to conventional betting as they are pretty different in both expectations and costs. If you want to read more about The Tote check our page.

Race Card

Race CardThe race card in horse racing do display al the runners by the name of the horse; it will also have the name of the jockey and the name of the trainer. There are official race cards that are used at the track and even some that you can get access online. The majority of betting sites also produce their virtual race cards that might contain additional information for punters.

All The Info That You Will Find On A Race Card

On the race card you will find the time of the race and the name of the race. If the races are sponsored, then it will read something like ‘Betfred handicap chase.’ On the race card, you will also see the prize money on offer and the number of runners that will compete for it. In addition to this, you will also see the distance in furlongs and miles and information about any live coverage available either on TV or streaming.

You will also be able to see what is the latest form figures in previous seasons with some symbols that will read like for example P = pulled-up, U = unseated rider, C = carried out and so on.

What Is The Number Next To The Horse In A Race Card?

The number that is next to the horse is that one that will be displayed on the cloth of the horse. Next to it, you will see the draw that indicates the stall the horse will begin the race from. You will also be able to see the ‘owner silks’ which are normally the weird colours worn by the jockey. In some race cards, you will also see lots of little codes like ‘CD’ which means that the horse has already won on the same course over the same distance. ‘C’ means course winner, ‘D’ distance winner and ‘BF’ beaten favourite and lots more.

You might also see other letter codes like ‘b’ which means blinkers, ‘v’ visor, ‘h’ hood and so on. There will also be a number that will tell the number of days since a horse last raced the course. The RTF is the ‘Race to Form’ and indicates the percentage of a trainers’ horses that have been in form in the last two weeks.

Another critical information to look at is the age of the horse and the weight carried by the horse and others information provided by the handicapper. In some race cards, you will also find some other tip ratings and lastly the most important number which is the odds of the horse!

Horse Racing Types And Terminology

Flat Racing And Jump Racing

There are two basic types of a horse race in the UK: a flat race and a national hunt race. The national hunt race can be flat or have obstacles to jump. A flat race is when horses are running over a distance between 5 furlongs and 2 miles.

National Hunt races are divided into steeplechases, hurdles and flat. National Hunt races are more prolonged than flat races as they are between 2 miles and 4 1/2 miles. A national hunt flat race is also called as ‘bumper’ and is less frequent in numbers. Steeplechase is harder than a hurdle race as obstacles are more challenging to overcome. Hurdles obstacles are smaller than the horse and flexible while steeples usually are higher than the horse and more robust.

Aintree Grand National

Aintree Grand National is the world’s greatest steeplechase: in this race, the fence called ‘The Chair’ is 5ft 3in and has a 6ft (1.8m) open ditch which is situated just before the fence. The horses used for the biggest steeplechases are, not surprisingly, the oldest (9 years plus) and strongest ones.

Longer horse races (which are over 4 1/2 miles) are called endurance races and are not very common in the UK. Some of those races can be up to 100 miles.

Jump Season

The jump racing season goes from November to April, and the horses that do take part are older and more experienced so they can cope with a different range of conditions. Having the ground softer does help to land off the jump, and this is also why those type of races are traditionally run over the winter period. Traditionally those races have lower payouts, but horses and trainers have longer careers than in flat races. Click here to know more race types.

Flat Racing

Flat racing, on the other hand, is seen as the ‘upper class’ version of racing. Those races are run over short distances, and it is all about speed: this is why the primary season for those are from late April to October every year as they need the ground to be as hard as possible for maximum speed. The best thoroughbreds are involved, and the age is between 2 and four years old: they do earn a lot more money in those races, but they do have significantly shorter careers.

Horse Racing Distances

Because horse racing is an ancient sport, the distance terminology is different from the modern metric system. As you might have had the opportunity to notice horse races are run over yards, furlongs, and miles.

A yard is just below a meter (91 cm), a furlong is an eighth of a mile (201 meters) so to make a mile you need 8 furlongs. A mile is 1.61 km. The Grand National is the main and longest steeplechase in the United Kingdom, and it is 4 miles 3 1/2 furlongs which are 7.14 km.

Breeds In Horse Racing

Horse Racing Breeds - Betting on Horse RacingEntry to horse races usually is breed restricted, and the majority of horses taking part are thoroughbred which means that they need to have a pure breed sire (father) and dam (mother). The majority of horse breeds are going back to a few early horses such as Godolphin which is an Arabian breed from the early 1700s.

What Are The Difference With Thoroughbreds?

Thoroughbreds are different in size and height and are typically measured in hands (where a hand is around 4 inches so 10 cm). Arabian breed horses are animals that initially came from the Bedouin people in the Middle East and are particularly famous for their stamina. A Quarter horse, which is more common on the other side of the pond, is a breed of thoroughbred mixed with Spanish colonial horses: those horses are known as they are particularly suitable for rapid acceleration. Most horse races in Britain are thoroughbred only races.

Grey horses are not a breed as you can find grey horses in any breed. A grey horse can be born of parents with dark coats similarly to a blonde child could be born from parents with darker hair.

Horse Racing Grades And Classes

Grades and ClassesHorse racing has some classifications that are known as grades classes. But let’s take a look at what is a grade in horse racing and what is the meaning. Grades and classes show what the prestige of the race is: the highest is the class and the more top quality horses will be involved. It also has the highest prize money and coverage.

Many Different Bands In Flat Racing

In flat racing, you will find many bands: class 1 is the top class, and it does include the Classics. So you have Group 1 races, group 2, group 3 and listed races. Class 2 to 7 contain some handicap and conditions races. Classic and others group 1 races are the top class: the 1000 and 2000 Guineas and the St Leger Stakes are examples of top Classics races. Class 1 races are sometimes also called conditions races: in those races, the weight of horses is determined by the terms attached to a race. There are also some subclasses of class 1 races.

For classes 2-7 the races are categories in conditions races or handicap which is determined on horse abilities: this is defined by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) that will determine the weight that a horse will need to carry during the race. The aim of giving weights is to balance the field. So to conclude the higher is the class, the better are the horses that are taking part in the race.

National Hunt Classes

In National Hunt, the top class is Class 1 and horses must have a high enough handicap before entering this class. Class 1 racing is then divided into three grades (1 to 3) and another lower category known as listed races. Grade 1 is the best races of the year: there are 30 in the UK calendar and the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Kings George VI Chase on Boxing Day are included in this grade. Grade 1 races have a handicap which is based on age and sex only. Click here for more about flat races.

Grades 2 and 3 are lower category races, and here the weight-for-age system is applied. The more we go down in the grade and the more the handicap system is used. Class 2-7 are further lower divisions of races: as you can guess the lower the class the smaller is the money prize. A horse can move to a higher class, but to do so, he must have a specific racing.

Different Payouts For Different Grades And Classes

Even bookmakers have different levels of payout depending on grades and classes. The highest payout limits are generally restricted to the most senior classes. Click here for more jump races.

Unless you are serious about betting on horse races, I wouldn’t spend too much time learning about all the classes and grades. The most important thing to know is that horses are categorized by class, and the reason to do that is that all horses taking part in a competition should have at least a chance of winning. As in every sport, the better the class, the better would be the field and the most difficult would be for the horse to win. In the same way, the prize will be higher!

“Going” – Ground Conditions

Going horse racingIf you have been on any track around the UK, you might have heard the phrase how is the ‘Going’ today? This means what is the ground conditions: i.e., how soft and muddy the surface is. As you would expect, the softer the surface the harder is to run on it. In the US this is called track condition and in Australia is track rating.

Different Horses Like Different Conditions

Different type of horses like different ground conditions and also other factors play a factor in this like training. The ‘Going’ is critical and can play a crucial role in regards to the outcome of a race: this is one of the reasons why the majority of horse racing bets are made on the day when these kinds of things have been analysed.

In the UK those are the terms to define the ground: heavy, soft, good to soft, good, good to firm, firm and hard. If the ground is hard than the race is usually cancelled as there will be a too high risk of injuries for everyone involved. In Ireland, they typically use the word ‘yielding’ to define a ground which is good to soft.

Artificial Surfaces

Horse races can also be on artificial surfaces, and in this case, the following grades will apply: slow, slow to standard, standard, standard to fast and fast. In the US racing, you will also see those terms to define ground conditions for turf tracks: heavy, soft, yielding, good and firm. For dirt tracks you have: sealed, slow, sloppy, muddy, good and fast.

As mentioned Australia have grades to describe each class from 10 which is muddier to 1 which is firmer.


The Form is horse racing is the information about previous horse results. It is typically split into different categories that are based on the performance over different distances, different track conditions, different race classes, pace, courses raced at, trainer, weight, jockey and other things. As there are many factors to consider in a race, it is essential to analyse all the different situations that might have impacted that result.

Handicapping In Horse Racing

HandicapHandicapping in horse racing has always existed. It consists in giving some horses a weight that will affect the speed at which it can run. The weight is given based on the horse ability: every time a horse races a ‘handicapper’ will look at the performance and give him a rating. The weight is assessed depending on many factors like weight, race distance, ground conditions, finishing margin and others. The handicappers use the data to make decisions however there is always an element of subjectivity.

60% Of British Racing Is With Handicap

Not all horse races have handicaps, but around 60% of all British racing is with the handicap. Handicapping is very popular with punters as it makes the field a lot more equal and you can get a much better odds than a non-handicap racing. The idea behind is that when you are placing a bet you want this to be as fair as possible and this is why handicapping has been successful over the years.

All the most significant races are handicap race. Non-handicap races are typically restricted to younger horses or those that are coming back from injury: this is because a horse’s ability is unknown and it will be too complicated to assign a handicap. Non-Handicap races are usually the less prestigious and have lower prize money.

Non-Handicap Horse Racing

In a non-handicap horse racing weights are set on the conditions of the race as a whole and not on an individual horse ability. For example, you can have a situation such as ‘No horses in the field have won a race’ or ‘Any horse that has won a race in the last three months has to have an extra 3lb’ and so on. Usually, more favourites win in non-handicap racing.

If you think about that a horse usually is 1000lb+ (450kg+) and is a mighty animal a bit more few extra pounds will not mean too much so remember this when considering handicapping.

Weight And Age In Horse Racing

One form of handicapping is called weight-for-age. Generally, older horses are more matured and can dash over longer distances; younger horses have faster acceleration and do better over shorter distances. Most immature horses are therefore more suited to flat races while older horses perform better in hurdle and steeplechases. A horse is considered to be mature when he reaches four years of age.

To have horses of different ages to compete together, a system called ‘weight-for-age’ is used: in this way, races can still be competitive as weight is added to more mature horses.

Live In-Play Betting

It is possible to live betting on horse racing from all the online bookmakers that are listed on BestBettingSites.Online. Most of the punters, however, will bet up to the starting gun but not during the actual race. The majority of bookmakers like Betfair, Bet365 and few others will permit to bet in play but this depends on the length of the race and also on what is happening. When there are longer races for example and lots of horses are in the pack then in-play betting can be made available for a lot of the race.

News, Results And Statistics

If you are planning to bet on horse racing, it is essential that you do follow form, results and analyse statistics. Nowadays, this task is made easy but the majority of bookmakers that do present all those services on their sites at no costs.

You will not only find comprehensive stats on those betting sites but also live results, news, and blog with tips. The majority of firms have partnered with the traditional racing prints to offer even more in-depth analysis from the top experts. If you use those tools regularly and in the right way you have a great chance of being successful in horse racing.

Live Streaming And Commentary

Live Stream Horse RacingHorse racing is available in live stream with a lot of betting sites. The norm is that you can access the service for free as long as you have placed a minimum bet on the race, which is usually between £0.50 and £1. Most UK focused bookmakers do stream all UK and Irish races, however, there are others like BetVictor where you can also get the US and international racing.

Have A Broad Portfolio Of Bookmakers

The suggestion, in this case, is to have a broad portfolio of bookmakers so that you will always be able to watch the race where you have placed a bet on. If you are on the go, you can still watch the race as nowadays the vast majority of gambling sites have excellent mobile apps available to members.

In addition to the live streaming, the majority of bookmakers also have live commentary services or radio services on horse racing. Those are generally free and don’t even require you to sign up. If you find some excellent commentary on a site but better odds on another site you can still listen to the race in one bookmaker and have a bet on another one.

Check The Horse Races That Are Live On TV

It is also important to check which are the races that are broadcasted on TV. Some bookmakers will offer enhanced terms on races that are live on TV generally on Sky, ITV or Channel 4. Some of those offers are attractive and can increase significantly the return you have especially if you are betting on multiple races in a single meeting.

Best Horse Races UK

  • Cheltenham Gold Cup - Betting on Horse RacingCheltenham Festival – This hugely popular festival is in mid-match, and it is the start of the horse jump season. The feature race of the first day is the Champion Hurdle. The second day we have the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the third day the World Hurdle. The most important race is the Cheltenham Gold Cup which is a grade 1 race that is run over three miles and 2 and a half furlongs and has 22 fences that horses will have to overcome.
  • Aintree Grand National – This is the worlds most celebrated and most challenging steeplechase and has the most valuable horses competing. It is run in April each year since 1839. There are up to 40 horses taking place, and they run over a distance of 4 miles 3 1/2 furlongs (7.14km). The race is hugely popular with around 9 million people watching it in the UK alone. 150,000 spectators attend the event live, and more than £150 million bets are made on this event. There are some very famous fences like Becher’s Brook, the Chair, and Foinavon. The Grand National is the culmination of a 3-day festival that also includes the popular Ladies Day on a Friday where the Melling Chase is held. The Saturday also sees the Aintree Hurdle which is another top grade 1 race.
  • Scottish Grand National – This is a grade 3 event that is over two days, and it is held in Ayr in mid-April after the Aintree Grand National. It is run over 4 miles 1 furlong (6.65km) and has 27 fences. The first race was run in 1858.
  • Guineas Meeting – The 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas are group 1 flat races which it takes place at Newmarket in spring. Those two are part of the five classic races and are run over a short distance of 1 mile and are open to 3 years old thoroughbreds. In the 2000 Guineas, both colts and fillies can take part while the 1000 is only fillies.
  • Oaks Stakes – This is a group 1 flat race and is the third of the five classics races. It is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of 1 mile 4 furlongs (2.4km) in June each year. It is also called Epsom Oaks as the event was devised at a party at Earl of Derby in 1778. This race is open to 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies.
  • Epsom Derby – It is also called the Derby, and it is a group 1 flat race open to 3-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. The Derby is run over 1 mile and 4 furlongs, and it is Britain’s richest race and the highest profile of the five classic races.
  • Royal Ascot – Ascot Racecourse was created by Queen Anne in 1711, and Royal Ascot is attended by members of the British Royal Family in June each year. The race is hugely popular attracting more than 300,000 people over the week. The most important race is the Gold Cup that is a group 1 flat race that takes place during Ladies Day and it is 2 miles and 4 furlongs long.
  • King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes – This race takes place at Ascot in July and it is over 1 mile 4 furlongs. This is also a group 1 flat race.
  • St Leger Stakes – A group 1 flat race which is fifth of the 5 Classic races. It is run over a distance of 1 mile 6 furlongs (2.9km) at Doncaster and it takes place in September each year.
  • Champions Day – This takes place in autumn (October) at Ascot, the best day is the Champions day with the best race that is the King Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
  •  Racing Post Trophy – This also takes place in October at Doncaster: it is a Grade 1 flat race which is over 1 mile. Lots of winners of this race have historically won the Derby
  • Welsh Grand National – A grade 3 national hunt race run in late December open to 4-year-olds and up at Chepstow, Wales which is run over 3 miles and 5 and a half furlongs. There are 22 fences that will challenge horses in the process.

Odds And Payouts


Since UK bookmakers odds tend to vary significantly our strong recommendation is for you to open several accounts through bestbettingsites.online: in this way, you will be able to take full advantage of the best odds available for any horse racing events. When there are big events like Grand National and Ascot, this is even more important as the different betting sites are competing hard and tend to offer better odds and promotions.

When You Can Take Advantage Of Best Odds Guaranteed?

As we have seen the vast majority of the bookmakers we have listed in this site are offering best odds guarantees on all horse racing. Although this is a great news, the best odds guarantee only ensure that SP of your selection is bigger than the odds you were given when placing the bet, you will get the difference matched. So if for example, you have placed a bet on a horse at 4/1 and the starting price odds is 5/1 then you will be given the 5/1 price thanks to the best odds guarantee offer. The issue is though that best odds guarantees are only beneficial if the odds of your horse drift out after you have placed the bet. Let’s suppose that you place a bet at 4/1 with bookmaker A while bookmaker B is offering 6/1. If the starting price is 5/1 you will still get 5/1 but by not taking advantage of the odds of bookmaker B you will get eventually paid at 5/1 instead of 6/1.

So it is always best to place a bet with a bookmaker that is offering best odds guarantee however you should also compare the odds with other operators to make sure you are not missing out in better prices.

What Are Price Promises?

Price promises are very different to best odds guarantees as it is a promise that you will get the best odds available from all bookmakers in relation to that event. Those type of offers is rather rare as they are risky for the betting site however you can see around big events. Betfred tends to offer price promises on horse racing so if you are interested you can try this bookmaker.

Enhanced odds offers are very common in this sport and you can be certain to find daily enhanced odds or money back offers especially when big meetings are happening. The likes of Paddy Power, Coral, Betfair and other leading bookmakers are really good in giving out daily horse racing offers. Other bookmakers like BetVictor might not be as active with offers but they do normally provide better raw odds in general. Having accounts with more operators will allow you to benefit from the competitive scenario.

Enhanced Place Offers

Normally you will also find enhanced place terms with most bookmakers: with those offers, you get for example 4 places each-way instead of just 3. In some instances, you can also get money back if your horse finishes in second place or sometimes third as well or get a refund if your horse is beaten by another one with longer odds. Others promo are price boost odds on certain horses and so on. It is important to note that money back promotions tend to give you a refund as free bets and those have requirements that will need to be met before can be withdrawn.


Limits 300x103 - Betting on Horse RacingSince horse racing is a favourite sport, it is not surprising to see that bookmakers have some of the highest payout limits in the World. With the majority of bookmakers, you can get around £1 million payouts on UK and Irish horse racing which is great. You would need to be careful though as most betting sites are limiting those higher payouts to meetings that are covered by the full satellite information service (SIS) – since this includes most of the meetings in the UK and Ireland it doesn’t affect punters too much.

Check Payouts Especially On Foreign Races

It is worth knowing though that this service and payouts do not cover some foreign races and smaller bespoke UK meetings can be significantly lower for these meetings even just £10,000. If you are going to place a big bet or a large acca that involve some less popular races it is a good idea to check the bookmaker T&Cs to know the specific payout limits.

Payout limits for horse racing on the most popular bookmakers go from £100,000 on smaller races to £1,000,000 for the biggest meetings.

Even if the vast majority of bookmakers do turn around payments very quickly, it is still essential to check this especially if you are betting cumulatively. Some bookmakers are still a better option than others, so it is worth a quick check with customer services, to find out the average turnaround time.

Types Of Horse Racing Bet

As betting on horse racing has been going on for years, the vast majority of the kind of bet we know today were initially invented for this sport. There are many different ways you can bet on horses from simple win single to place bets to forecast, full cover bets (like Lucky 15) and lots more. Here we will guide you through the most common bet types so that you can decide what the one that suits you best is.

Win, Place And Each-Way Betting

WinA win bet on a horse race is the most natural type of bet you can place as what you are doing is to pick the horse that you believe it will finish first. An each-way bet is betting half of your money on a win and half of your money on a set number of places. The number of places that are paid in an each-way bet is linked with the number of horses that are taking part in a race and the bookmaker of course. You will get a return from a place bet if your horse will place in one of a certain number of positions.

Scan The Different Betting Sites To Find Best Odds

It is straightforward to find out if you are getting good odds in regards to those type of bets. To do so, you merely need to do a quick scan of other betting sites, and you will know if they are offering better odds of the ones you have been given. If you are placing an each-way bet however you will need to go a bit deeper than that to evaluate as it depends on the number of places you are being offered. Most bookmakers will provide either a quarter or fifth of the odds for place bets, so it is essential for you to balance the odds with the placed offered.

Multiple Bets

There are many ways of placing multiple bets on horse racing. The vast majorities of multiples were initially developed for this sport so you will find a significant number of options available for this type of bet.

If you are placing a simple accumulator, you are predicting some winners or places in a series of races. For you to get a return, all the horses you have selected have to either win or place. Accumulator betting is very common in horse racing and also on the tote, and it is not surprising to see lots of odd enhanced offers and promos around this type of bet.

Betting sites usually do offer special offers for doubles, trebles, and X-fold betting especially if those are around a specific meeting or if those are televised.

Full Cover Betting

When you are placing a full cover, bet you are covering all the possible multiple bets for a certain number of selections. For example, you can do a Trixie where you have three selections, and you are placing four bets: a treble and three possible double combinations. If you bet £1 per line the total cost, in this case, will be £4.

All full cover betting is available for horse racing, and there might also be some offers from time to time for these types of bets especially around more significant events and meetings.

Lucky Bets

The most common type of bets is full cover betting with singles like for example Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63. Usually, those bets have enhanced offer terms, so it makes sense to shop around a bit before committing.

A Lucky 15 bet is a bet that has 4 selections that consist of 15 bets. Since you are betting on all possible multiples you will have 1 four-fold bet, 4 trebles, 6 doubles and 4 single bets. If you are betting £1 per line the total cost will be £15.

A Lucky 31 is made of 31 bets on 5 selections and a Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets on 6 sections. There are also other options available like the Goliath, Heinz, etc. There are normally many offers on Lucky 15 and sometimes also on Lucky 31 and Lucky 63. This bet type was invented by Fred Done owner of Betfred and this is why you can always rely on this bookmaker in regards to best offers on Lucky betting.

Forecast And Conditional Betting

ForecastForecast betting is a very common way of betting on horses. A forecast is a prediction of an order of events as the name does indicate. There are regular offers and promotions for forecast betting and those are normally in the form of odds guaranteed or money back. Totepool bets are also a type of forecast bet.

Straight Forecast

There are different types of forecast betting but the most common type is the straight forecast where you are predicting the order of a given number of horses at the end of a race. Normally this is limited to the first two. You can also bet on reverse forecast however in this case the horses can finish in any order. In a tricast forecast, you are predicting three horses: this is obviously very difficult but if you are brave enough you can get huge returns.

Conditional Betting

Conditional betting is a bet that has a number of conditions that has to be met for the bet to be placed or for the bet to continue. Those bets are normally linked singles and they are also known with the name of any-to-come bets. A conditional bet can be something like £10 conditional on Jon Amore and Dodgy Brother both to win two separate races one after the other. The bet could say if Jon Amore will win then bet the initial stake on Dodgy Brother in the next race. If Jon Amore loses then there is no extra money bet on Dodgy Brother.

You won’t find many offers for conditional bets on betting sites, so the best way is probably to phone up or bet in store if you are keen to take advantage of those bets.

Spread Betting

You can spread bet on horse racing but this is normally only offered through specific exchanges. Spread betting was first developed as a financial betting tool but it can be effectively used on any market where you can make a prediction on a precise outcome. It is therefore very suited to horse racing.

What Is The Difference Of Spread Betting Vs Fixed Odds Betting?

In a nutshell, this is a type of non-fixed odds betting that can give you rewards or losses depending on the accuracy of your prediction. The way it works is that you are offered a price that you can either buy or sell like for example the winning distance. If you beat the prediction you make a profit if not you lose and the amount is related to how far the result is from the value you have decided to buy or sell.

It might be a bit complicated at the beginning as it is a different way of betting but once you have tried a few times it is not harder than normal betting. You will need to be careful though as, since this is a non-fixed form of betting, you can lose more than your stake (but also win more than your stake). Lots of punters have become millionaires by betting in this way but also many lost more then what they have deposited. If you are interested in this type of spread betting you can get also some interesting offers on specific betting exchanges.

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