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Horse Racing Betting Sites Bonuses & Free Bets

Horse racing can be traced back to ancient times. However, the closest to today’s form of racing began around the 17th century. Today, horse racing has become almost synonymous with placing bets. People in the UK, even those who rarely gamble, enjoy taking part in this age-old tradition.

Naturally, this level of interest means plenty of high-quality races and great opportunities for betting. Since there are multiple events happening on most days of the year, fans are never short of entertainment. Now, even more so, because broadcasters and bookies work together to cover events from around the world.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

1.   To Win

“To win” means to bet on a single horse in a race. Whether you follow the races or choose one at random, this type of bet is what most people opt for.

2.   Each Way

This type of bet is especially popular among horse racing fans. It is a split bet — half of your stake goes for the horse to win, the other half goes for it “to place”. “To place” means that your horse finished in the top two, three, or sometimes lower. If the horse wins, you win both parts of the bet. If it doesn’t win though, you get paid for only one part of your bet.

3.   Accumulator

The accumulator involves betting on multiple selections, but in order to have a return, all selections must be won. These bets can be doubles, trebles, four-fold accumulators and so on. For example, Doubles would mean placing two bets on two horses in different races. If you win the first bet, its winnings “roll over” to the next bet. That makes this type of bet very lucrative, because you could have a huge return.

4.   Forecast

There are two types of bets — straight and reverse. Straight involves placing a bet on two horses in one race to finish 1st and 2nd in the right order. When you place a reverse bet, you select two horses again but in either order.

5.   Tricast

This bet is the same as the forecast but you bet on three horses instead of two. Also, since this is like the forecast bet, you also have to choose whether to bet straight or reverse.

6.   Place Betting

Place betting works just like each way, but instead of betting that your horse will finish 1st, you bet that it’ll place. So, you are betting that a horse will “place” (2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 1st), but at reduced odds.

7.   Specials

There are many specials you can bet on. For example, which jockey would ride the most winners during a season or by how far a certain horse would win.

8.   Combination Bets

These bets have very unusual names such as Trixie, Yankee, Super Heinz, or Canadian. They always cover a number of accumulators. For example, the Trixie is when you have 4 bets in 3 different events. You bet 3 doubles and 1 treble. So, if you pick A, B, and C, your bets will be AB, BC, AC, and ABC. You have to win at least two of these to get a return.

9.   Ante-post Betting

This bet is a long-term bet since you bet before you know which horses will run. For example, after a big race, bookies will offer the ante-post odds, which are greater, for next year’s race.

Horse Racing Betting Rules

1.   Ante-post Betting

There are a few rules to be aware of when placing an ante-post bet. First, you could lose your bet if your pick doesn’t race at all. That uncertainty is what makes the odds of ante-post bets so high.

2.   Rule 4 Deductions

These deductions are made when a horse withdraws from a race in which you’ve already placed a bet. So, if it’s a three horse race and the favourite withdraws, the odds of the remaining two horses decline.

3.   Starting Price

Another way that you may get lower odds is if you place your bet on the starting price (or SP) of a horse. The starting price reflects the on-course bookmaker market, so it may change depending on the number of bets placed. Since the starting price isn’t fixed, you may see a horse at 4/1 but by the time the race starts its odds fall to 2/1.

4.   First Past the Post

The last thing to consider is that some bookies will only pay out on the first horse past the post even if they later get disqualified. Still, not every bookmaker does this, so consider your options in advance.

Betting Strategy

The best thing you can do when you place a bet is to do your research. Study the form as much as possible, check the weather conditions, research how many wins the jockey has, how many wins the horse has had in the previous races and, of course, the competition.

Another thing you can do is to check out the national newspapers. They often carry tipping columns which can be very useful, especially if the tipster is having a good run. Paid tipping service is a bad idea because by the time you get the tip the odds would be lower than they were worth. Also, if they are so good, why would anyone sell them?

There is no shortcut to winning. Just as with any other craft or sport, you need to put the time in and really study the basics. Even though most people view betting as a pastime, if you have a knack for spotting potential winners and are willing to watch hours of footage, it might become a big source of income.

Flat Racing and National Hunt

There are many branches of horse racing, but the two main ones are flat and jump. Flat races are usually shorter and they don’t feature hurdles or fences. In addition, they take place from April to mid-November because the summer ground conditions aren’t suitable for the higher impact of obstacle racing. There is also winter flat racing, but it is a lot shorter and it’s usually for lower-class races.

The National Hunt races, on the other hand, feature some obstacles, ranging from higher, more rigid fences to smaller ones. These races tend to be longer — from 2 to 4 miles each. The National Hunt is held from mid- to late-October until the following April. Still, you can see lower-class races around the year, just like flat racing.

Major Races In The UK

As horse racing keeps growing in popularity, more and more people are taking part in the tradition of betting in the biggest races. Gambling on horses has brought over £3.7 billion for the British economy. Each season there are several big events to be aware of. Here are some of the most prestigious ones.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

This race is one of the biggest steeplechases in the world. This National Hunt event features 22 fences spread over three miles. The Gold Cup was originally a three-mile flat race first held in July 1819. The obstacle races began a bit later, in March 1924. The most successful horse was Golden Miller, with five consecutive wins from 1932 to 1936. Modern legends of the Cheltenham Gold Cup include Kauto Star and Best Mate.

Grand National

You could say that the Grand National is the most popular horse race there is. And you would be right. It spreads over four miles and it features 30 fences. Its value is noteworthy, as well, with a prize fund of £1m in 2017. The Grand National takes place in Liverpool, around early April every year. The obstacles are famous as well, earning the title “the ultimate test for horse and rider”.

2000 Guineas Stakes

The 2000 Guineas is the first one of the Triple Crown races. This race spreads over one mile and it’s held in late April or early May. This huge race was first organised on 18th April 1809. The prize fund has almost doubled since 2012 from £350,000 to a whopping £500,000. The 2000 Guineas’ leading trainer is Aidan O’Brien, with eight wins.

The Epsom Derby

Again, one of the most famous races in Britain. The Derby is a flat race and the most prestigious one of the five British Classics. The Derby is held on the first Saturday of June and it runs a distance of one mile, four furlongs. It’s the second race of the Triple Crown, after the 2000 Guineas and before the St Leger race.

St Leger Stakes

This event is the last race of the Triple Crown races and it spreads over one mile and six furlongs. The horses run at Doncaster every year in September. The St Leger race is also the oldest of the five British Classics, it was first organised in 1776. In 2017 the prize fund was £700,000!

Other Notable Mentions

There are so many huge races all over the UK that it’s difficult to name them all. The Epsom Oaks and the 1000 Guineas are two of the five British Classics, they are both filly-only events. The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes feature the second largest prize in Britain.

Jumps racing also has other massive races. These include the Stayers’ Hurdle, the Champion Chase, and the Champion Hurdle. Other highlights are the King George VI Chase and the Betfair Chase. Ireland has equivalents of the five British Classics as well as jumps contests like the Irish Gold Cup, Lexus Chase, and the Ryanair Gold Cup.

Latest Horse Racing Tips

As we’ve mentioned before, the best way to bet properly is to do your research. Unlike most sites, we provide suggestions on which horses to follow closely and point out key information about the races instead of listing “sure wins”. If you are rather new to this age-old tradition, we do offer our “pick” at the end of previews.