UK horse racing betting is big business for the bookmakers in Britain. In this comprehensive guide, Sportslens.com tells you everything you need to know about the top horse racing betting sites including details of offers and promotions, strategies and tips for successful gambling and who the main players are.
Best Horse Racing Betting Sites UK Ranked
These are the best horse racing betting sites in the UK right now:
- 888Sport – First past the post
- Kwiff – 2nd Place Refund promotion
- Betfred – The Bonus King of horse racing
- Vbet – Weekly horse racing bonus deal
- Boylesports – Horse racing offers galore
- QuinnBet – Live stream horse racing for free
- William Hill – Plenty of horse racing promotions
- Virgin Bet – 3/1 winner bonus every day
- Spreadex – Back horses to win by distances
- BetUK – Each Way Plus promo
A Closer Look at the Top 5 UK Horse Racing Betting Sites
When you are betting on horse racing in the UK, you should ideally take your punts with one of the best online bookmakers. We have all the details that you need to know about the top dogs. Read on as we look in depth at Britain’s best betting sites for horse racing today:
1. 888Sport – So much to offer on Horse Racing
Without a doubt one of the best online horse racing betting sites in the UK, 888Sport have so much to offer if this is your sport. From handy tools like BetFinder, which helps you pick out horses, and BetFeed that shows you popular and trending punts, to the many promotions available. Each Way + provides enhanced place terms on certain races every day. Double Result, meanwhile, guarantees you a payout on the first past the post and any amended result.
You can also Watch and Bet on all British and Irish horse races, plus stream the best of the action from Australia, France and the USA. Back a winner at 4/1 (5.00) or bigger, and receive one £5 free bet per day on 888Sport. With a wealth of both domestic and international races to bet on, they really have it all. As horse racing online betting sites go, this is one of the best.
- Top UK horse racing bookie
- BetFeed and BetFinder tools
- Each Way + gives extra places
- Watch and Bet from 5 countries
- Double Result deal covers you
- 4/1 Winner bonus just once a day
- Sportsbook layout could be better
2. Kwiff - New and intriguing British bookie
As new kids on the block, Kwiff are one of the new horse racing betting sites UK punters can wager on. While they establish themselves in the region and industry, there are encouraging signs. Kwiff includes horse racing in their weekly Loyalty Club offer. This provides a novel, additional £10 in surprise bets to go with a guaranteed £10 cash bonus when you wager at least £250 on accas. This is great if you like placing trebles or accumulators.
Kwiff also have more traditional horse racing promotions on their sportsbook too. These include the 2nd Place Refund deal if your horse finishes runner-up to the SP favourite. As Kwiff also pays out on the First Past The Post regardless of results amended by a steward’s enquiry, you are covered either way. With markets across multiple countries, this is a strong start from these newbies as they build their profile.
3. Betfred - Industry big boys
Another of the top horse racing betting online platforms is Betfred. Backed by land-based betting shops the length and breadth of Britain, this firm is one of the established elite when it comes to internet gambling. Horse racing plays a big part at “The Bonus King” with so many offers available. Chief among them are popular promotions like Free Bet if 2nd and Extra Place Races for those punters who like to play each way.
What sets Betfred apart from other top horse racing betting sites is their deals on system and combination bets. Their All Correct Bonuses are paid in cash and provide you with bonus winnings on Yankees, Canadians, Heinz wagers and Lucky bets like Lucky 15, 31 and 63. The One Winner Bonuses are some consolation too. With a full horse racing betting service covering all major events around the globe, Betfred are one of the big boys.
4. VBET - Emerging players in sector
More relative newcomers now in VBET. They provide horse racing betting under the Racing tab of their sportsbook. The number of races in total each day by country is listed on the left-hand side, while you can also toggle between action today, tomorrow and Future Races. It is a very neat layout for betting on the sport of kings.
It’s the weekly horse racing offer of a £5 free bet when you place 5x £5 wagers on the sport that make VBET interesting. There is the ubiquitous Best Odds Guaranteed on all British and Irish horse races when you bet on the day too, plus paying out on the First Past The Post and any amended results. Taken altogether, VBET are well set up to build on their horse racing service.
5. Boylesports - Feel the passion for horse racing
Although Boylesports are an Irish bookmaker, they have a major presence in the online marketplace in Britain. When it comes to horse racing betting sites UK punters use, this firm does well because they have lots to offer. From their Acca Insurance and Loyalty Bonus for those who place multiples to Extra Place races, daily horse racing specials and more, this sport is a major part of what Boylesports is all about.
They also run the Free Bet if 2nd to the SP Fav deal seen on other top horse racing betting sites too. Featured meetings appear on the right-hand side of the Boylesports sportsbook. There are also handy tabs to navigate through Highlights, Race Cards, Specials, Virtuals and even Antepost horse racing betting markets. This puts Boylesports among the best in class.
How We Rank the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites UK
The top horse racing online betting sites all have similar qualities, so how do trusted experts at Sportslens.com rank them? A safe and secure gambling environment is paramount, but that goes for any general sports betting platform. Here, we show you the key factors that helped us separate the wheat from the chaff:
Horse Racing Offers
It can be among your expectations that the best horse racing betting sites in Britain will have offers and promotions specific to the sport. Many have become familiar to seasoned punters such as Money Back or Free Bet if 2nd deals, Extra Place races for each way betting enthusiasts and daily specials. A top bookie also pays out on First Past the Post but also any amended result following a steward’s inquiry. With their incredible system and combination bet offers, Betfred are definitely one of the best sites for promotions relating to British horse racing.
Types of Bet
Any sportsbook just offering the basics of win only and each way on horse races certainly isn’t going far enough. You should have a vast range of wagers at your disposal. A top site provides Match betting between two horses, place only, without the favourite, fallers insurance, distance betting, ante post markets and even Tote or pool betting through parimutuel services that works differently to regular fixed odds. At Ladbrokes all this and more like bets in running are available.
Horse Races Covered
Even though our concern is with British horse racing here, the sport is obviously huge on a global scale. It’s not simply enough for a top betting site to cover the main UK races and events like the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National and Royal Ascot. Markets on big races abroad are as essential as the bread and butter of daily domestic betting. You should look out for ante post horse racing betting odds for major overseas action including the Melbourne Cup in Australia, Breeders’ Cup in the USA and big races closer to home in France and Ireland. William Hill takes a strong look at the global picture.
The Best Odds
Everyone wants the top price on any bet they place, not just horse racing wagers. Almost all bookies provide the Best Odds Guaranteed on British and Irish races for punts taken on the day. The top sportsbooks must go further and ensure competitive ante post prices, or like Bet365 issue a Price Promise to be the industry leader in terms of odds once final declarations are known. That way you know you are getting real value.
Streaming horse races that you bet on live has become an important part of the gambling experience. Results services are good but actually seeing how your fancy gets on is better. Top bookies not only have this but handy tools and even horse racing betting tips from experts to help you find winners. When it comes to these special features, 888Sport has plenty to offer you in terms of live streams and its BetFinder and BetFeed tools, plus all the picks from horse racing ratings brand Timeform.
Key Features of Top UK Sites When Betting on Horse Racing
You may be wondering more about the key features a top sportsbook in the UK should have when it comes to horse racing betting provision. The table below shows whether or not our 10 best sites for this sport tick all the boxes:
Horse Racing Betting Strategy That Works
Alongside horse racing betting in the UK, it is important to have a strategy in place before you start wagering. Many so-called systems are billed as foolproof, but the fact is that you will still lose from time to time. What a good horse racing betting strategy does is help you make better informed decisions ahead of taking a punt. It should also help you find winners more often than not. Here are some of the most popular:
Horse Racing Exchange Betting
You may have heard of betting on the exchanges in relation to horse racing. This is where the serious and experienced punters place their bets. Unlike fixed odds, this is what they call peer to peer betting. An exchange like Betfair or Smarkets will charge commission for facilitating your wagers. You can both back horses to win or for a certain number of places but also lay horses to lose if you don’t fancy them.
As the above shows, exchanges show you where the money is going. Big sums of money, over £400,000 in total, are wagered on big Group 1 races like the Nunthorpe Stakes at York during the Ebor Festival. The different exchange markets are listed along the top. Bets for a horse, the equivalent of backing them, are on the left-hand side. Wagers against a horse, also known as laying (and more on that below), are on the right.
Your proposed wager needs matching by another punter, but you can set the odds. That means you could end up winning more on the exchanges than you would through a fixed odds bookmaker better, despite the commission fees. On the downside, if you lose you end up owing money to the person who took your bet on. There are fewer exchanges than fixed odds betting sites, but the likes of Ladbrokes and Matchbook do provide this type of service too.
Horse Racing Lay Betting
When betting on the exchanges, the option to lay a horse can be very tempting. There may be genuine reasons why you don’t fancy horses for certain races. The ground or trip may not be right, or the race terms unfavourable. It is good that you have the option on the Betfair Exchange and Matchbook, for example.
Say you wanted to lay Golden Pal in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. You click on the lay prices and find the backer’s odds you want to take. You can then match their stake and get your peer to peer bet on. There can be only one winner bar a dead heat, so laying has its advantages in that, if the horse finishes anywhere but first your wager comes off.
Laying the favourite could be a rewarding tactic on betting exchanges like Ladbrokes Exchange and Smarkets, because they only win races about a third of the time. That means on two out of three occasions they lose. It could prove profitable to do it, but just remember the risks attached with laying horses. Should it win, then you will owe the person whose back bet stake you matched money at the odds they set.
Top New Horse Racing Betting Sites UK
New horse racing betting platforms open to British customers more often than you might think. We shall come on to the established bookmakers in the UK later. You may be wondering what, if any, advantages there are in betting with a newbie. There may be a better sign up offer for new customers on offer.
If you have already joined or previously been a punter on big name bookies, then you can’t avail yourself of any welcome bonus. With a new kid on the block, you know for sure this is your first time. Check out the toplist of new bookmakers below:
- Kwiff - Supercharge your horse racing bets
- Parimatch - Backed up by BetVictor brand
- BetUK - Each Way Plus deal on horse
- Hollywoodbets - Great horse racing offers
- LiveScore Bet - BOG and live stream races
The Most Experienced UK Horse Racing Betting Sites
If betting on horse racing is new to you, then you may not be aware who some of the established British bookmakers are. These are four betting sites with so many years of experience behind them. Each started out as trackside bookies, then went into betting shops and later embraced the revolution in internet gambling.
Top UK Horse Racing Betting Markets to Bet On
The top horse racing betting sites in the UK all offer a great range of different markets. You will find the most popular of bet types with British bookies listed below:
Many people like to keep things simple and bet on the outright winner of the horse race. This bet pays out on the First Past the Post, an amended result following a steward’s inquiry or in the event of a dead heat half your stake to the full SP. With their Price Promise promotion, Bet365 are among the best for betting on a win.
Betting each way is popular because it mitigates the risk of losing. There are two wagers in one here, so your unit stake doubles. You back a horse both to win and for a place. The precise nature of the place terms offered by bookies varies depending on the type of race and number of runners. Top horse racing betting sites like 888Sport will have extra place races each and every day, giving you every incentive to put wagers on.
Without the Favourite
There are times when the favourite is such a short price that there is little value siding with them. That horse may well win the race, but if you cannot even double your money what is the point. In such circumstances, betting without the favourite becomes a popular alternative. Here, if your fancied runner beats the favourite and wins the race or finishes second to it, then the bet pays out. Among the top bookies, Betfair has generous without the favourite markets.
Matches (Head to Head)
A match bet in horse racing is where you wager on one named horse beating another. Your fancy doesn’t have to win the race, just finish in front of its rival. This is popular when two horses have a history of meeting, and the weights may have swung in one’s favour. Horse racing match betting is part of the service that William Hill provides.
There are pros and cons to betting on horse racing ante post, yet it remains popular. Taking a punt in advance almost guarantees you better odds as fancied runners shorten up following final declarations and on the day of the race. However, you cannot bet ante post in conjunction with bookmaker offers. You also are not guaranteed a run for your money. Again, Bet365 offers a great range of ante post betting odds.
Although not quite so popular as on top football betting sites, accumulators or accas for short still have their place in horse racing. From doubles and trebles to more complex bets, all legs must win or place if you go each way to receive a return. That can be tricky to pull off, yet the odds are multiplied ensuring massive profit if you pull it off. Among the top bookies for horse racing accas are QuinnBet as they run a specific bonus.
Combination and System Bets
More complex still are Combination and System wagers, which are multiples like accumulators but covering singles, doubles, trebles and up. There are many combinations, hence the term, yet to gain a return some only need one or two horses to win. The undisputed kings of horse racing system bets are Betfred, who reward your bravery in placing them with bonus deals and extra winnings.
As with any other sport, there are special bets you can place on horse racing. From the Flat Trainers’ Championship to the Irish National Hunt Jockeys’ Title, favourites indexes, and combined winning distance wagers, there is plenty relating to individual meetings and the season as a whole to take a punt on. These sorts of specials and more can be found on Coral where they are popular.
The Best Horse Racing Betting Online Offers
All the best betting sites for horse racing have great offers. From welcome bonuses that new customers can use on the sport to other promotions, it is good for you to know what the top deals you can get are. Let’s take a look at the best in class for horse racing betting offers:
Key Horse Racing Betting Terms Explained
You will come across lots of industry specific terms when you wager online. No horse racing betting guide would be complete without a glossary. Read our list below, so you are in the know:
Horse races don’t all take place on turf or dirt but also a range of artificial surfaces that can be used during the winter. All-Weather racecourses in the UK use tapeta, fibresand and polytrack. These are manufactured using rubber as a base so that moisture from rain gets absorbed.
Within conditions races, there are certain allowances given to horses in particular circumstances. Three-year-olds on the Flat always get weight for age from their elders. Over jumps, it is the same for four-year-olds racing outside of their generation. Fillies and mares also get sex allowances in open company against colts and geldings. This is more generous under National Hunt Rules at 7lb, with only 3lb received on the Flat.
There is headgear that trainers can put on racehorses which helps them to concentrate while they are running. Blinkers, as their name suggests, shield a horse’s eyes from what is going on around them. This should in theory help them to run straighter and wander about less.
Another item of headgear, these allow a racehorse more peripheral vision than blinkers yet still block other runners from view on either side of them. A trainer may try cheekpieces before resorting to blinkers, or just to sharpen a horse’s performance up after wayward signs on previous races or in their work on the gallops.
Age restricted races to three-year-old colts and fillies in the UK and Ireland. Classics, which include the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, The Derby and the St Leger have vital importance for the future of thoroughbred breeding. Winners of these races or their Irish equivalents are virtually guaranteed to have careers at stud or as broodmares depending on their gender.
A male horse aged between two and four who remains entire is called a colt. This applies to any horse who doesn’t have a gelding operation before the age of five. Thereafter, entire colts are simply referred to as horses.
Where two or more horses cannot be split in a photo finish by the judge for determining places. In horse racing betting terms, the result of a dead heat is bookmakers paying out on both (or more) at half your stake wagered to the full SP.
The favourite is the horse with the shortest price available with the bookmakers for a particular race. Some favourites can be strong in that they may be odds-on, and others weak.
A female horse aged between two and four is called a filly. As three-year-olds, fillies can contest Classic races like the 1000 Guineas and The Oaks in the UK, plus their Irish equivalents.
The betting odds offered by bookmakers are called Fixed Odds. These may be different from but based on the prices available on the exchanges.
All horse races in the UK and Ireland are measured in miles and furlongs. There are eight furlongs in a mile. Horse races on the Flat in the British Isles range from five furlongs up to almost two-and-three-quarter miles. Jumps races in the UK and Ireland vary from about two miles to four-and-a-quarter miles.
Any male horse that has undergone a gelding operation is called a gelding. This is common in National Hunt horses, so that their reproductive organs don’t get in the way while jumping hurdles or steeplechase fences, but also among older Flat horses not wanted for breeding.
Horse races where the official ratings of the assessor, the British Horseracing Authority handicapper, determine the weights carried. In handicaps, every other horse is relative to the top weight and its official rating. There may be weight for age allowances in handicaps, but fillies and mares do not receive sex allowances.
Defining what a juvenile horse is depends on the code of horse racing in the UK and Ireland. On the Flat, juveniles are two-year-olds. Over jumps, this term applies to horses aged three at the start of the National Hunt season who turn four midway through the campaign.
Any female horse aged five and over is called a mare. It is more common to see mares kept in training in the National Hunt code than on the Flat.
Any horse that is withdrawn for any reason following final declarations and horses coming under starter’s orders for a race is called a Non-Runner. Taking a horse out of the race, even at the last minute, can cause the market to change.
A Rule 4 deduction is one of Tattersalls Rules of Racing, which states that if a horse is withdrawn from a race at odds of 14/1 (15.0) or shorter, then a deduction of so many pence in the pound sterling (GBP) applies to any bets struck after final declaration. The shorter the price a runner was before being taken out, then the greater the deduction in increments of 5p (£0.05).
The industry abbreviation for Starting Price. These are the odds that a horse was sent off in the race with fixed odds bookmakers. SP used to be calculated based purely through on-course betting but this changed to consider an aggregate of leading online bookmakers. It is also referred to as the price a horse returned at.
Where to Get the Best Horse Racing Betting Odds
Everyone wants top horse racing betting odds when they place their wages. The Best Odds Guaranteed promotion is almost universal among British bookies, yet some bring this into effect earlier than others. Here are three of the best for horse racing early betting odds today:
Top 3 Horse Racing Betting Sites UK for Best Odds Guaranteed
- Bet365 - Get up to £100 in bet credits
- Coral - Bet £5 to Get £20 in free bets
- 888Sport - Bet £10 to Get £30 in free bets
Top Horse Racing Betting Sites With Live Streaming
Now a key part of the gambling experience, live streaming the horse that you bet on is something that any of the best betting sites for horse racing should provide. Certainly all UK and Irish horse races should be available to stream, so here are the top dogs when it comes to watching the action live:
|Bookmaker||Requirements for horse racing live stream||Visit bookie|
|UK, Ireland, France, USA and Australia, all for free||Watch Now|
|UK, Ireland, France, USA, Australia Watch & Bet deal||Watch Now|
|UK, Ireland, France, USA, Australia, Brazil, Dubai, India, Singapore, South Africa must have funded account or bet within the last 24 hours||Watch Now|
|Betting TV 1 and 2 has free live UK and Irish horse racing||Watch Now|
|Positive account balance or place bet within the last 24 hours||Watch Now|
|UK and international races must have funded account, Ireland place a £1 bet to qualify||Watch Now|
Our Horse Racing Betting Guide to Big UK Meetings and Races
There are some huge horse races and meetings in the UK throughout the year that people like to bet on. Whether it is a Group or Grade 1 feature race, a valuable and prestigious handicap or an entire festival, there is something for everyone in the horse racing betting community. The table below lists 10 of the biggest events with more details about the top three underneath:
|Race or Meeting||Course||Type||Distance(s)||When||Level|
|Cheltenham Festival||Cheltenham||National Hunt||2m to 3m 6f||March||14 Grade 1 races|
|Grand National||Aintree||National Hunt||4m 2f||April||Grade 3 handicap chase|
|Guineas Weekend||Newmarket||Flat||Rowley Mile||May||2 Group 1 Classics|
|Derby Festival||Epsom Downs||Flat||1m 4f||May/June||3 Group 1 races including 2 Classics|
|Royal Ascot||Ascot||Flat||5f to 2m 5f||June||8 Group 1 races|
|Glorious Goodwood||Goodwood||Flat||5f to 2m 4f||July/August||3 Group 1 races|
|Ebor Festival||York||Flat||5f to 2m||August||3 Group 1 races|
|St Leger Festival||Doncaster||Flat||5f to 2m 2f||September||1 Group 1 Classic|
|British Champions Day||Ascot||Flat||6f to 2m||October||4 Group 1 races|
|King George VI Chase||Kempton Park||National Hunt||3m||December||Grade 1 steeplechase|
For four days each March, the best jumps horses in the UK and Ireland compete at the Cheltenham Festival. This is the top National Hunt meeting in the British Isles with key races including the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself. There are many top level novice hurdle races and novice steeplechases during the Festival too.
As the world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National captures public attention in a way like no other horse race. It has often been said that two-thirds of the UK adult population bet on the Aintree marathon, a handicap chase over 30 famous fences and a gruelling 4m 2f in April. Whether you really study the form, or just like the name and colours a horse carries around the Liverpool venue, the National is part of the British sporting consciousness.
The Queen at the races? This is why horse racing is called the sport of kings, and Her Majesty is often in attendance at Royal Ascot. From the royal procession before racing begins each day to the eight Group 1 races on the track, this is the premier Flat festival in the British Isles with good reason. For five days each June, the best thoroughbred from the UK, Ireland and beyond do battle in Berkshire. There are now 35 races to bet on at Royal Ascot every year.
The Ultimate Horse Racing Betting Tips
Betting on horse racing remains so popular, but what about tricks of the trade? If you are something of a novice, then you may not know how the pros and seasoned gamblers go about making the most of their punting. Read on below as we reveal our top 3 horse racing betting tips that can help you:
The Last Word
That is about all for our look at horse racing betting. From great offers and deals to famous races, tips and strategies, you should know a lot more about wagering on this sport than when you arrived on this page. As with anything, when betting on horse racing betting sites in the UK, do so sensibly. It can be tougher to find winners than in other sports where there are only two or three outcomes, so remember that and stake accordingly.