Best Horse Racing Betting Sites | 2019

The Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in the UK

In the UK, there are two key focus sports for betting - football and horse racing. This page walks you through all of the best horse racing betting sites in the UK today and explains the basics of racing betting too.

There’s a lot to consider when betting on this incredible sport, from horse racing odds and racing free bets, all the way through to considering form and major events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.

We’ve covered all of that and more - need to know how each-way betting works? Read on. Keen to understand ante-post betting? No worries. Who are the top seven online betting sites for horse racing? Let’s start there…

The Top 7 Online Bookies for Horse Racing

  1. bet365 Logo
    bet365
    5 / 5
    Sign-up Offer
    100% up to £100
    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.
    Details
  2. Unibet Logo
    Unibet
    5 / 5
    Sign-up Offer
    100% up to £50
    18+ www.begambleaware.org Minimum deposit £10. You must wager your bonus money 3x to make it withdrawable at minimum odds of 1.40 (2/5) in Sportsbook, 25x for Casino. Bonus will expire after 30 days of opt-in. Further T&Cs Apply.
    Details
  3. mobile
    mobile
    Betfair Logo
    Betfair
    5 / 5
    Free Bets
    £100
    ZBBC01
    New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.
    Details
  4. William Hill Logo
    William Hill
    5 / 5
    Free Bets
    up to £30
    C30
    New online customers only, min £10/ €10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Full T&C Here.
    Details
  5. 888sport Logo
    888sport
    4 / 5
    Free Bets
    $30
    30FB
    18+, New customers only – Minimum deposit of €10 using deposit code 30fb - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least €10 (€20 e/w) placed on any sports markets - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply - full T&C’s apply
    Details
  6. Paddy Power Logo
    Paddy Power
    5 / 5
    Free Bets
    up to £20
    YSKA46
    New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
    Details
  • EnergyBet Logo
    EnergyBet
    4 / 5
    No Deposit
    £5
    Sign-up Offer
    5SPORTS
    Offer available to New UK Customers. £5 No Deposit Bonus available in the EnergyBet sportsbook. Bonus must be wagered 7 times at ACCA odds of 3/4 or more, with each selection at odds of 1/4 or more. Email [email protected] with promo code 5SPORTS in the subject line to claim the bonus. 18+, Gamble Responsibly. Full EnergyBet T&Cs apply.
    Details
  • Black Type Logo
    Black Type
    4 / 5
    Sign-up Offer
    up to £10
    18+, New Customers Only. Guaranteed £5 Casino Bonus and a £5 Free Sportsbook Bet if your first bet loses. Qualifying bet must be a single of £10 or more at odds of evens (2.0) or greater. Full T&Cs Apply.
    Details
  • Betfair Logo
    Betfair
    5 / 5
    Sign-up Offer
    100% $30
    ZSKABY
    Commit $30 via the promo hub on Sportsbook to qualify. Buy in and Bonus must be wagered x10 within 90 days. Min. odds 1.60. Card/Paypal deposits only. Full T&Cs.
    Details

Our betting reviews are researched and written objectively so that you can make the most informed decision about which is the best online betting site for you.

When it comes to horse racing betting we take into account the overall sports betting product - the best odds, the best navigation and ease of site and who offers great payment methods - horse racing betting by PayPal is a really useful tool after all. We also look at responsible gambling measures.

Our list of 7 online betting sites above really highlights who we believe are the best online bookies for betting on horse racing - we’re sure you’ll find a great place to bet on horses there.

 

Betting on Horses at William Hill

William Hill is one of the best online betting sites for horse racing in the UK and has a history of sponsoring key races throughout the calendar.

They have a fantastic sports betting product in general, with really strong customer support and plenty of payment methods, but their horse racing betting markets and promotions really shine through.

They’re best odds guaranteed on UK horse racing and offer bespoke promotions such as paying you more if your horse wins by 3 lengths or more - they’re obviously keen to take on as much of the UK horse racing money as possible and offer plenty of value to their customers to ensure this.

William Hill Logo
William Hill
5 / 5
Free Bets
up to £30
C30
New online customers only, min £10/ €10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Full T&C Here.
Details

Horse Racing Free Bets and Promotions

It’s really clear that online betting sites these days need to continue to offer great betting promotions and extra value where possible and horse racing betting is no different.

It’s quite possible that some betting operators will offer bespoke Horse Racing betting offers so be sure to look out for these - they change regularly but some of our favourites have been:

  1. Best odds guaranteed - back a horse at a certain price and if it starts the race at a bigger price, they’ll pay you at the better price.
  2. Winnings Boosts - if your horse wins by a certain number of lengths they’ll pay you a certain percentage more in winnings
  3. Money back if 2nd to the SP Favourite - if you bet on a horse and it finishes 2nd to the starting price favourite, they’ll return your stake as a free bet
  4. Price Boosts / Enhanced Prices - bigger odds on certain horses
  5. ITV Racing promotions - get free bets for backing winners at a certain price on all ITV Racing live races
  6. Bet and Get - bet a certain amount on a specific horse race and get a free bet for a different race
  7. Accumulated free bets - bet on horse racing regularly and get a small free bet for one of the big festivals/meetings

If you want to bet on horses, make sure you take advantage of these great offers but make sure you check out the key terms and conditions on all horse racing free bets and promotions before you get involved.

The Different Types of Racing Betting

The terminology around horse racing may be confusing for some - in fairness, there are a lot of different types and classifications of racing, not to mention the two different types of racing in the UK.

As with any subject, it helps when betting on horse racing, if you understand the basics at least, so familiarising yourself with some the different racing jargon should be of utmost importance - especially as it does actually affect how you may bet.  We’ve explained the different types below to make it easier for your racing betting.

Betting on Jump Racing

Traditionally jump racing, or National Hunt racing to give it it’s full name, is a form of racing that involves jumping over fences. This has been more of an autumn and winter pursuit, running from October to April and encompassing some of the biggest and best horse races that the UK has to offer.

When betting on National Hunt races, there is a lot to consider in your bets:

  1. The Ground - winter months can make it soft or heavy and this takes its toll on horses
  2. Form - has the horse you’re betting on won or ran well previously
  3. What quality of race is it? Is the horse your betting on running with better quality horses
  4. Pedigree - has the horse been bred out of a previous winner
  5. Jockeys - who’s been booked to ride the horse - have they been in good form?
  6. Owners and trainers - is the trainer in form
  7. How far the horse has traveled to race - a long distance may indicate the horse is fancied
  8. Follow the money - are others betting on this horse - is the price shortening? 

The Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National are the two real flagship events within the calendar but the National Hunt Season is full of excellent racing and high-end races each week with the longer courses testing the stamina of the best racehorses.

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bet365
5 / 5
Sign-up Offer
100% up to £100
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.
Details

Betting on Flat Racing

With a season running from late March through to November, the flat racing calendar sees some huge and historic races that are steeped in tradition.

With better weather and, therefore, harder ground - known as ‘good’ ground in racing terms - flat racing is really for the faster, sprinting horses with races held at distances that, generally fall shorter than the National Hunt.

Ascot is the ultimate pinnacle of the flat season with the Royal procession leading it’s way up the course before the racing each day but there are plenty of amazing flat races and courses to get involved with.

What are the best flat races for betting?

Race

Course

2000 Guineas

Newmarket

1000 Guineas

Newmarket

Derby

Epsom

Oaks

Epsom

Gold Cup

Ascot

St Leger

Doncaster

Yorkshire Oaks

York

Cheveley Park Stakes

Newmarket

Goodwood Cup

Goodwood

Sprint Cup

Haydock

Understanding Betting on Novice Races

One of the harder categories of race to bet on, a novices race is one where the horses competing are yet to win at the race-type they’re competing in. This means you may see different types of novice race names - Novice Hurdle race for example.

It’s generally pretty tough betting because these horses remain as novices for the entire season, even if they go on to win loads of races, as long as they are a novice when they race that first race. Which means often you’ve got fields with horses that have won against horses that are complete novices.

It can make for some exciting betting and exciting races as you’re more likely to see a potential superstar horse in its early days - however, often the betting is worth avoiding unless there’s a lot of money for a horse or you can see particularly strong form lines.

Betting on Maiden Races - Explained

A maiden race is where all the horses who are running haven’t yet won a race - essentially they’re looking for their ‘maiden victory’. This makes betting harder to an extent as you tend to have fields that all have quite mixed form and are trying to get off the mark for the first time.

When betting on Maiden races, be sure to have checked out the form and follow the money as closely as possible - if the odds on one of the runners start to fall then it’s a pretty good indication that someone, somewhere, fancies this horse to win.

How do I bet on Handicap Races?

A handicap horse race is one where horses tend to race at different weights, with a judge of sorts - known as the handicapper - decides which horse is to run at which weight, depending on their perception of skill levels.

So if they think a horse is particularly strong, then they’ll be given a much heavier weight to carry, whilst a horse that isn’t deemed as strong will get a lighter weight. Now if everything was perfect and the handicapper got it correct, then you’d expect all horses to finish at exactly the same time.

That never happens of course and is what makes it really exciting and fun to bet on - you essentially also get to be the handicapper and determine which horse you think can beat their handicap mark.

Betting on handicaps gives you the opportunity to really get into the form, make sure you’re getting the best horse racing odds and allows you to follow the money to see who may beat their handicap mark.

The Best Horse Races for Betting

With the two seasons overlapping, as well as a few courses offering all-weather surfaces, it’s rare to have a day where there isn’t any horse racing. On a week-to-week basis, there’s so much to get involved with and traditionally Saturdays can see up to 6 meetings.

It’s the big races and meets that really get the heart pumping for both the purist racing fan and the punters that want to bet on horses with Cheltenham and the Grand National the big two from the National Hunt calendar and the Derby and 2000 Guineas ranking well up there from a Flat Racing perspective.

Our Horse Racing betting guide continues to explain the best horse races for betting and different types of markets, below.

The Cheltenham Festival Betting

Hosted in March, over the St Patricks Day week, thousands of people descend on the Cotswolds town of Cheltenham and literally take it over. Hotels, bars, restaurants are all booked out months, if not a year in advance and if you want a quick pint, you’re likely going to be out of luck.

Why? One of the best week’s in the sporting calendar, let alone the horse racing calendar - the Cheltenham Festival. Held over 4 days and culminating in the famous Gold Cup, the Festival sees some of the highest quality National Hunt horses, compete for some of the highest grade races at one of, if not the, toughest race course out there, featuring the famous ‘Cheltenham Hill’.

From a betting perspective, it’s worth having a bankroll ready as it’s not easy pickings here - the races are generally super-competitive but also feature heavily backed favourites and coming in towards the end of a season means there’s plenty of form to unpick. That’s all before we even contemplate whether our horse will make it up the final hill.

The best online betting sites will go all out for Cheltenham though, meaning that there are plenty of Cheltenham offers and promotions to get involved with such as:

  • Money back if 2nd to the favourite
  • Money back if your horse loses
  • Increased winnings if your horse wins by  a certain length
  • Free bets for backing an initial horse
  • Bespoke deposit bonuses purely for Cheltenham
  • Enhanced odds on short-priced favourites
  • Jockey Specials

Ultimately you need to make sure you’ve done your betting research and are on top of the best offers out there for Cheltenham week. All of the big online bookies, as well as the new and smaller bookies, will have something to offer you, and if they don’t then avoid them for this week.

Unless you have an incredible source, we’d suggest avoiding most horse racing tips too - in races this competitive it’s really hard to determine what’s genuine and what’s not - put your own time in and enjoy the Festival.

William Hill Logo
William Hill
5 / 5
Free Bets
up to £30
C30
New online customers only, min £10/ €10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Full T&C Here.
Details

Betting on the Grand National

Signaling, more or less, the end of the National Hunt season, the Grand National is the best-known jumps race in the world and has a prize fund to match it, with the race worth over £1million.

The race has been going since the mid-1800s and brings out everyone regardless of whether they’re a regular bettor or not. At this time of year, the best online bookies will go into overdrive, especially with new customer offers as they know it’s a chance to bring in more customer.

Anything goes in this race and at over 4.5 miles long with 30 massive fences to jump, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the hardest races to predict, with favourites often going off around the 10/1 mark and previous winners topping 100/1.

Anything goes for betting on the Grand National too, with plenty of people choosing their horses based on crazy stuff such as:

  • Horses name
  • Jockey’s name
  • The colours of the silks
  • Random ‘finger in the page’
  • The same horse they got randomly in a work sweepstake
  • Favourite numbers

How do I bet on the Grand National for the first time?

If you’ve never bet on horse racing before, or never bet on the Grand National before, then no worries, we’re here to help - it’s really very easy if you just follow the steps below. In a race like this, we’d suggest betting on a few horses if you’re comfortable doing so:

  1. Read our best new betting sites reviews
  2. Choose your bookmaker and follow the registration process
  3. Once you have an online betting account, go to the ‘deposit’ page
  4. Deposit an amount you’re comfortable betting on the Grand National with
  5. Go to the ‘Sports’ or ‘Sportsbook’ page
  6. Find the ‘Horses’, ‘Horse Racing’ or ‘Grand National’ page, if they have one
  7. Click on ‘Grand National
  8. Select the horses you wish to bet on
  9. Input your stake and type of bet - win or each-way (remember stakes are doubled for each-way betting)
  10. Check your bet slip one last time and press ‘Place Bet’
  11. Cheer on your horses at race time!

The Best Horse Racing Markets Explained

As with horse racing in general, there are plenty of terms and jargon within the betting markets that may not make loads of sense when first betting on horse racing. Below you’ll find explanations of the basics, so take a read before you choose your horse racing bookmaker.

Ante-post Horse Racing Betting

Ante-Post betting is really popular amongst many sports, such as football - especially when betting on tournaments ahead of time, but what does it mean and how does it apply to Horse Racing.

All it really means is to bet on an event before it starts, however, as time has passed the industry has it as it’s own classification and a horse race may be in ‘ante-post state’ for a certain period of time.

For example, if I was to bet in September, on the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which runs in March, this would be Ante-Post. This race wouldn’t really leave the ante-post state until a day or so before it happens.

One thing to note with ante-post horse racing betting is that if you bet on a horse and it doesn’t run, it’s unlikely that you’ll get your money back. Because you’re betting so early, before horses are announced officially, online bookies will just deem that as bad luck on your part.

However, some of the best online horse racing bookies such as those on our list will say that an ante-post market is ‘non-runner, no bet’, meaning that if your horse doesn’t race, you would get your money back.

Race Winner Betting

This is by far the simplest market when it comes to horse racing betting - you are picking the winner of a horse race from a list of the horses declared for the race. Generally, these will be ordered by their odds, with the favourite first, going all the way down to the outsiders.

If you’re really confident in the horse you’re picking then this is the market for you as will see you get the maximum returns for your money.

Each-Way Betting

One of the biggest questions for newer punters is, how does each-way betting for horse racing work?

When you make an each-way bet, you are essentially making 2x bets - the first bet is on the horse to win the race and the second bet is on the horse to ‘place’ in the race. Each race has a different amount of ‘places’ and this depends on the type of race that it is. Traditionally you won’t get more than 4 official places in a race however, these days, the best online betting sites for horse racing in the UK will offer extra-places as a promotion. So if a race officially paid 4 places, they may offer 6 if they felt it would get you to bet with them.

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Unibet
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100% up to £50
18+ www.begambleaware.org Minimum deposit £10. You must wager your bonus money 3x to make it withdrawable at minimum odds of 1.40 (2/5) in Sportsbook, 25x for Casino. Bonus will expire after 30 days of opt-in. Further T&Cs Apply.
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What are the official each-way betting terms for horse racing?

Runners and Race Type

Places

Place Odds

Up to 5 horses - all races

Win Only

Win Only

5-7 horses - all races

2

1/4 odds

Over 7 horses - all other races

3

1/5 odds

12-15 horses - handicap races

3

1/4 odds

Over 15 horses - handicap races

4

1/4 odds

All races

Enhanced Places

1/4 - 1/5

Bookies will pay out the win part of the bet the same way as if you placed a normal win bet - at the full odds offered to you and then, depending on how many horses are running and what type of race it is, the online betting sites will pay you at a fraction of the full odds for your horse placing.

Below is an example of some hypothetical each-way bets, broken down into the Win returns and Place returns for each of the individual bets. If your horse placed then you would take the ‘Place Returns’ whereas if your horse won, you would take home both the ‘Win Returns’ and the ‘Place Returns amounts:

Stake

Odds + Place Terms

Win returns

Place Returns

£10 e/w

5/1 - place 1/2 odds

£50 + £10 stake

£25 + £10 stake

£10 e/w

10/1 - place 1/3 odds

£100 + £10 stake

£33.33 + £10 stake

£10 e/w

28/1 - place 1/4 odds

£280 + £10 stake

£70 + £10 stake

£10 e/w

66/1 - place 1/5 odds

£660 + £10 stake

£132 + £10 stake

Forecast/Tricast

For those horse racing punters who want to get even bigger odds on a race, there is always the forecast and tricast option.

A forecast bet allows you to pick the first 2 horses home, either in a ‘straight forecast’ where you pick the exact positions, or a ‘reverse forecast’ where you pick two horses to finish in either 1st or 2nd. Once you choose the reverse forecast option though, be aware that this constitutes 2x bets so a £10 reverse forecast would cost £20 - essentially a bet on each of the outcomes.

With tricast betting, it’s the same concept but you’re picking the first 3 horses home, either in the exact order which constitutes one bet or in any order, which is known as a combination forecast and constitutes 6x separate bets, so a £10 combination tricast would cost £60 in stakes.

However, should you get a tricast correct, then you’re very likely in for an excellent payday as an online punter.

Horse Racing Odds Comparison

When it comes to betting on horse racing you’ll find that all of the different online betting sites offer slightly different odds based on what their traders and algorithms think is the right point in the market.

When you’re betting on horse racing in the UK you should make sure that you’ve exhausted your horse racing odds comparison options to make sure that you’re getting the best odds.

We actually believe it makes the most sense if you have more than one betting site - not because we want you to bet irresponsibly, quite the opposite; we want you to ensure you’re getting the best value from your online horse racing betting.

How do I compare horse racing odds and bet?

In all of our online betting site reviews, we look at odds as a key feature to determining whether we recommend them or not. This means that you can rest assured that if we say an online bookie is great, then we really mean it. So when it comes to horse racing odds comparison, we suggest:

  1. Reading our Best Online Betting Sites reviews
  2. Registering at the online bookies you’ve chosen
  3. Go to their ‘Sports’ or ‘Sportsbook’ page
  4. Click on horse racing and find the race or meeting you wish to bet on
  5. Check the odds from each bookmaker against each other
  6. Choose the bookmaker that has the best odds vs place terms
  7. Go to the deposit page and make a deposit with your favourite payment method
  8. Go back to the sports book and click on the horse(s) you want to bet on
  9. Check your bet slip is correct and press ‘Place Bet’

Live Streaming Horse Racing at Online Betting Sites

These days it’s really quite possible that you can watch horse races that you’ve bet on, live from the betting site as part of a live streaming service.

Not all online bookmakers offer this so it’s worth checking as you go and checking out all of our best horse racing betting sites above and when you do bet, you need to consider that this live streaming service for horse racing isn’t free.

In order to watch a race, you need to have a minimum bet on the race - this usually ranges between 50p to £2 but each online betting site is different so just double check their terms before betting.

Horse Racing Mobile Betting Sites

Most online bookies will offer their horse racing services for mobile betting as well as desktop betting - meaning you can access all the best horse racing markets from your mobile app or mobile website.

At those bookies where you can stream the race live if you’ve bet on it, they generally also extend this service to mobile as well, so wherever you are, you can be happy that you’ll be able to watch your favourite horse or race.

Another thing to look out for from a mobile horse racing betting perspective is whether there are any bespoke promotions for mobile betting on horse racing - this could be in the form of a horse racing deposit bonus, or horse racing bet and get bonus - if there’s value out there to be had then you need to make sure you take advantage of it.

Horse Racing Betting Site FAQs

Is Online Betting On Horse Racing in the UK Legal?

Horse racing betting is completely legal in the UK and is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. If you're betting on a site that doesn't have a licence from the UKGC then this is really silly as it won't be a safe and secure site - leave and join a site that's licenced. 

Do Online Bookies have Live Streaming for Horse Racing?

Many online betting sites do have live streaming services for horse racing betting but it tends to work differently from live streaming on other sports. For horse racing you generally have to 'pay to watch' via making a qualifying bet - often between £1 and £2 on the actual race that you want to watch. 

What's the Best Horse Racing Online Betting Site?

The best horse racing betting site will be licenced in the UK, offer live streaming, have a great mobile horse racing product as well as having the obvious - excellent horse racing odds and the best horse racing promotions. bet365 fit the bill across all of these elements, whilst LeoVegas and William Hill both come very close.