Horse racing has always been one of the betting industry most popular outlet. In fact, it could be argued that without betting the sport would have little appeal to those not internally involved with the sport. Its coverage has become so vast these days that the majority of bookmakers will all offer a really wide range of betting markets to choose from, including meetings now from around the world.
The sport is actually one of the more popular when it comes to live streaming. Whilst this feature is still quite new to a lot of bookmakers, horse racing has been a sport that bookmakers have been able to provide much more easily than a lot of other sports. As a result, we will be looking to see which bookmakers offer this service in our list below.
What we want to find from this article is which bookmakers are offering the best all-round package when it comes to betting on horse racing. We realise that there will be some that offers features that others don’t and this will be taken account for, but we will try and be as objective as we can to find out the best bookmaker for horse racing.
Best Horse Racing Betting Sites
#1 – Coral
Coral are one of Ireland’s biggest exports in the gambling industry and it’s no secret that the Irish love their horse racing. So, if you put tougher a bookmaker from a nation crazy about horse racing, it’s going to be pretty much safe to say that Coral will have a good coverage of horse racing.
From the minute you walk through their virtual doors you will see that there are a plethora of markets to bet on from around the world. Coverage is great and they even include a few intentional markets that the two above don’t.
What has made Coral really stand out for us is the ease in which you can navigate between markets and features that the site has on offer. You can quickly flick between today’s cards, easy picks, tote, futures, specials, results, virtuals, US Tote and a search feature if you still can’t find what you are looking for. You can even build your own race card if you want so that races you re targeting are all in one place. Their affiliation with At The Races means that you can stream everything from both your desktop and mobile device, providing you have wagered on that race.
#2 – ToteSport
For those of you that are familiar with horse racing already, then it’s highly likely you will have heard of the Tote. Well, the Tote has expanded over the years and become a very successful bookmaker of their own, even though they are actually now owned outright by Betfred.
ToteSport have always offered something a little different than most bookmakers and they probably are at their strongest when it comes to betting on horse racing. The site allows you to bet on the Tote, which is essentially betting into a pool where a dividend will be repaid should you win.
The site itself offers aide range of markets to bet on and again, like Coral offer betting opportunities from all major race meeting in the UK and even some internationally. They make number 2 spot because of the fact that their international coverage isn’t quite as strong, but it’s better than the majority.
As a final point about ToteSport, we particularly liked the number of promotions the site runs for existing users who bet on horse racing. A pet peeve of ours in the industry is that bookmakers don’t do enough to retain customers after they have got them through the door, but ToteSport seem to have bucked that trend somewhat. They provide best odds guaranteed for all races, along with betting enhancements, free Racing Post subscriptions and even Totepool rollovers!
#3 – BetVictor
BetVictor are another site that provides a pretty solid horse racing section. In fact, to be honest they could be ranked anywhere in the top three such is the strength of their coverage. Like the three above, the UK and Ireland are definitely their main target areas, but they do include a number of international races as well.
The race cards add another dimension to the section with information from Timeform included on site to make a more detailed decision. We particularly liked the little predictor section which gave each horse a star rating out of five. This is based on facts and stats from previous markets and then some sort algorithm, rating horses against each other. We aren’t sure how accurate this can be, but if you are the casual bettor then it should be relatively useful.
Like its rivals above, BetVictor also include a live streaming channel so you can watch racing both on your desktop and on your mobile device. You will need to place a bet on that race before you area bel to stream it though. It’s also worth finally noting about the fact that you can place Tote Bets directly from BetVictor as well, if this is something you are interested in.
#4 – Betfred
Betfred are probably the least recognised bookmaker for horse racing in our list. They are much more focussed on that of football betting; or at least, that’s how a lot of people perceive them. They actually boast a more than substantial horse racing section and you will find that should you ever sue them, they will be as competent as any of the previously mentioned bookmakers for the most part.
In typical Betfred fashion, they have introduced a number of fairly obscure betting markets for the sport. Things such as their price boost, racing specials, Beaten by a head or less and other festival related markets really do keep the betting experience feeling rather fresh. Their market coverage allows them to make these sorts of promotions all that bit more common.
What we will say about Betfred is that they offer a wide range of races from a number of meetings around the world. Like most of the bigger bookmakers in the industry, Betfred include pretty much all the meetings in the UK and Ireland, but on top of that they include a wide range of international races, as well.
How to Bet on Horse Racing
As with any sport, betting on horse racing can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. It wont take long browsing any of the bookmakers in our list to see how well the sport is covered, meaning that there are a huge number of races to choose from.
On top of all that, you can also choose from a wide range of markets if you so wish, although the most popular will always be that of the outright winner and the each way betting market. Both have their merits in terms of value, but it should inevitably come down to the fact that you need to compile your research before betting on any market.
Whilst on the topic of research, we think that this should be the most important aspect of horse racing betting. There are folk who spend hours, if not days searching about for that perfect value bet. Even after all these hours, they may only come up with one or two bets over the course of a week. This is taking it to the extreme somewhat and whilst we don’t expect that many of you will have the time or motivation to do this, it’s worth noting just how in-depth some people make their research for each and every bet.
There are two main types of bets to place when betting on horse racing which are the to win market and the each way. The to win market is pretty self explanatory in that you place your wager on that horse to win. If it finishes in any other position than 1st then you lose your bet.
The each way bet is actually split up into two bets. Half of your bet will go on the full odds of that horse to win and the other half will go on at a fraction of those odds for it to place. An example might be if you place a £10 each way bet on a horse at odds of 10.00 with the bookmaker paying 3 places at ¼ the odds(note: the bookmaker will base the number of places paid and the division of odds before the race has started; generally the more horses in the race the more places the bookmaker will pay out). £5 of that bet will go on that horse to win at odds of 10.00. The other £5 will go on the horse to finish within the top three places at ¼ the odds, so 2.50. If the horse wins then the bookmaker will pay out both bets. If it finishes in the top three (without winning) then the bookmaker will pay out ¼ of the odds. If it finishes outside the top three then your whole bet loses.
Another popular market is betting without the favourite. This makes races where the favourite is a huge odds on or miles shorter than the field much more competitive from a betting perspective. The enhanced win and cover bet follows a similar theme in that it allows you to cover your bet if the horse finishes in a certain position. The more positions you include the shorter the odds will be.
The winning distances market is another targeted at races where there is already a likely favourite. This means you can bet on the horse to win by a certain distance, rather than just win the race. Each race will determine a winning distance in terms of lengths (of the horse) and you often get to choose between brackets of margins such as a nose to three lengths, three lengths to 5 lengths and so on. It will likely depend on how good the horse is to the odds you get for each spread.
Horse Racing Bets
- Win Only – The most common market is the win only where you place a bet on a horse to win. If they are successful then you can collect your winnings, if they fail to win then you lose your stake.
- Each Way – Each way betting basically means you place two bets. The first bet is half of your total stake and the money goes onto the horse to win. The second bet goes into a place pool which then pays out should horse fail to win but mange to finish within a top number of places. Depending on the size of the race will depend on how many places are played. This usually is between 3 and 5 places with bigger fields providing more places. If a horse is placed then bookmakers usually pay out ¼ or 1/5 of the starting price for that horse. So if you wanted to wager £10 each way then your total stake would equal £20 (£10 on the win and £10 on the place). If the horse fails to win or place then you lose your stake. If a horse fails to win but manages to place then you win whatever the fraction of the starting price is times your £10 bet. If the horse wins then you receive your winner money and the place money.
- Place Only – Some bookmakers – but more commonly betting exchanges – will provide a place only market. These will be fixed odds and it won’t matter if your horse wins or comes within the stated amount of placed horses, your pay-out will be the same.
- Lay Betting – Via a betting exchange you can lay a horse, meaning you offer a price for it to lose. If the horse does lose then you win, but if the horse wins you have to pay out at the odds you set prior to the bet betting settled.
- Tote Betting – The Tote works like a big pool and isn’t too far away from the same format of the national lottery. Basically you pick your horse, put however much money on that horse to win and if it does you get a dividend of the winning pool. It’s not uncommon to find inflated prices when betting with the Tote depending on how much money is in the betting pool.
Horse Racing Betting Rules
The betting rules for horse racing can get quite complicated and long. The majority you will never really encounter but there are a couple that you should be aware of that get applied quite frequently.
The main one that get’s used a lot is ‘Rule 4’. The top and bottom of this is to protect bookmakers when betting on races. It allows the bookmaker to alter the odds of the horse should their be a significant omission from that race. As an example, let’s say you backed the second favourite in a race at odds of 5.00 with the favourite going off as a ‘dead cert’ at odds of 2.00. At the last minute this horse pulls out for whatever reason and now all of a sudden you have the favourite in a race at odds of 5.00. Except, this isn’t exactly fair on the bookmaker who sets their prices based on all horses in the race. The true value for that horse to now win would be around 2.00.
Rule 4 allows bookmakers to make these adjustments and basically protect their backs when laying odds. The adjustments are set in stone and you can find these from a number of online resources. Depending on the price of the omitted horse and the horse you backed, will in turn give you the ‘true’ price of your now bet.
- Dead Heat – In the event of a dead heat between two horses for the win will mean that the original stake is halved and split between the two horse’s starting prices and full odds being paid out as a result. If a dead heat is called for placed horses the same principal is applied.
- Omission – If a horse withdraws before the race starts or fails to make it into their stalls then bets on that horse will be refunded. Rule 4 (C) comes into play which basically means that if the horse that is withdrawn has an effect on the rest of race in terms of betting lines then bookmakers are able to adjust the odds on other horses after the race. Depending on the odds of a horse will depend on how much the horse has deducted from their starting price.