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UK Horse Racing Betting – The Ultimate Guide | How to bet on horse racing betting in UK


UK horse racing betting is a “national hobby” in the United Kingdom. The British people are racing horses and betting on them since the Roman Empire. (Yes, that Roman Empire.)

They host the most famous horse racing events in the world. Their “Jockey Club” is established in 1750 and one of the oldest ones in the world. Each year, horse races generate nearly 4 million pounds for the United Kingdom economy.

In short, there are lots of reasons for you to start betting on horse races: Your ancestors demand it. But if you are not sure where to start, we have good news: This guide for UK horse racing betting is just the thing you are looking for.

Below, you can find everything you need to know about the national sport of Britain and a list of the biggest bookmakers UK sites.

Horse racing betting systems in UK

We can say that there are two main horse racing betting systems UK: Flat racing and jump racing. Flat racing is the most common system: The horses race on an oval track without any obstacles. The length of the track can be anything between 400 meters and 4 kilometers. The most famous flat races in the world are the Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epson Derby, and Kentucky Derby.

Jump racing, on the other hand, is much more common in the United Kingdom. It is known as “National Hunt” and means that there are several obstacles on the race track. Grand National, The Open, and The Winter Festival are the most famous jump racing events in the world.

The best UK horse racing betting sites in 2020

William Hill
William Hill horse race betting is one of the oldest brands in the United Kingdom. It covers all the national and global race events and offers quite competitive odds.

You can use its native apps for iOS and Android too, if mobile horse racing betting is what you are looking for. And the best part is you get a 100% match bonus for your first deposit, up to 100 GBP.

Unibet
If you are new to horse racing betting, the welcome bonus of Unibet will be quite useful: You will get 40 GBP money back on your first bet. The deal is simple: Play a horse racing bet with the odds of 2/5.

If you lose that bet, you will get your money back, up to 40 GBP. Even if you lose, you will have another shot at winning: This is a good deal and you should take it.

Sportingbet
Sportingbet supports PayPal deposits and offers quite good odds for all kinds of sports, horse racing bets included. Its welcome bonus is similar to Unibet but more practical.

If you place a bet with the odds of 1/1 and lose, you will get 10 GBP as a money back bonus. Don’t forget to take a look at the greyhound races too, they are as good as horse racing.

Horse racing betting terminology in UK

We cannot talk about UK horse racing betting without explaining some terms first. You will see lots of “weird” terms at new horse racing betting sites UK, and it will be quite hard to understand them if you are a beginner.

To help you, we are listing and explaining the most common UK horse racing betting terms below, most of them also applying to dog betting, too. There are, of course, other terms too, but since this is not the purpose of this guide, we will only explain the most frequently used ones.

Further Information

  • AWT: Short for “all weather”. It means the race track is artificial and can be used in all weather conditions. There are 5 AWT race tracks in the United Kingdom and all of them are supported by horse racing bookies online UK. These tracks are located in Chelmsford, Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell, and Wolverhampton.
  • Blanket Finish: The horses finished the race almost at the same time and it is impossible to understand which horse has won. (They were so close; you could throw a blanket between them.) Also known as photo finish, because the judges need to check the photo at the finish line to determine the winner.
  • Banker: The horse that is expected to win the race is known as “favorite” all over the world. The British, on the other hand, call that horse a “banker”.
  • NAP Bets: This term is pretty common in football betting sites UK It is short for “Napoleon” which is the best hand in a French card game. In other words, UK horse racing nap bets mean “sure bets”, the bets you are expected to win. Lots of new horse race betting sites UK publish a NAP list every day on their main pages.
  • Rule Of 4: Reducing the odds of a race after a horse is withdrawn from that race. Such an action will increase the winning chance of other horses, so their odds are reduced. It is a very common practice at betting exchange UK
  • Betting Exchange: A market where the bettors can place a horse racing bet against each other, instead of against the bookmaker. Betfair is the most popular (and the first) exchange in the United Kingdom. Betting exchanges have lower house edge percentages, so the bettors can earn more.
  • In-Running Betting: A term for UK horse racing live betting. It means placing a bet while the race is going on.
  • Free Bets: Refers to a promotion that is pretty popular at new horse racing betting sites UK. You get a bankroll for free to place a bet, and if you win it, the prize is yours to keep. Basically, you can play a free bet with this promotion and keep the payout. There are, of course, lots of terms, conditions, and limitations. Refer to our other guides and reviews for more information.
  • Place: Second position in a horse race. It also has a special bet, see below.
  • Each Way: Betting that a horse will finish the race first or second. This is a specific UK horse racing betting type, see below.
  • In The Money: The first, second, and third horses.
  • Maiden Race: This is a pretty common term used in horse racing sites UK. It means all the horses in that race did not win any race in the past, they are “maidens”. Such races can offer quite high odds.
  • Pocket: Or, “boxed in”. If a horse is in a pocket, this means that it is surrounded by other horses from all sides and cannot move freely.
  • National Hunt: This term is specific to horse racing betting sites UK. It means “jump racing”. While the horses are racing, they also jump over obstacles.
  • Turnover: UK horse racing betting turnover can refer to two things: The profit rate of the bookmaker or the wagering requirement of a betting bonus.

Top Horse Racing Betting Sites in UK [2020] - Updated List

Rank
Bookmaker
Bonus
Horse Racing Offer
Rating
Get Started
1
100% up to £50
Available
Rating 9.99 out of 10
2
£10 FREE BET INSURANCE
Available
Rating 9.96 out of 10
3
Up to £30 in Free Bets
Available
Rating 9.93 out of 10
4
BET £10 GET £30
Available
Rating 9.90 out of 10
5
Up to £100 in Free Bets
Available
Rating 9.90 out of 10
6
BET £10 GET £30
Available
Rating 9.90 out of 10
7
£40 Money-Back + £10 Casino Bonus
Available
Rating 9.85 out of 10
8
£10 MONEY BACK AS FREE BET
Available
Rating 9.60 out of 10

How to bet on horse racing in UK: Reading a race card and placing a bet

Tip

So, you want to start horse racing betting UK but have no idea where to start, right? Well, no worries: Veteran bettors feel the same when they look at CSGO betting sites UK for the first time, at least you know what CSGO is short for. As explained above, this is also a betting on horse racing for dummies UK guide so we will tell you the basics. And learning to read a horse racing betting card UK is the most basic thing we can talk about, so let’s start with that.

A race card is a physical card that lists all races of that day and shows the times and odds of these races. It can be obtained free of charge from all hippodromes. You should not confuse it with the bet slip: This card is for informational purposes only. Think of it as a TV guide: By looking at the card, you can be aware of every event that will take place that day. Its design is different in every hippodrome, but the elements it contains are always the same. Usually, there is the name and age of the horse on the left side, jockey information in the middle, and betting odds on the right side. There are also a number of letters under each horse name. The descriptions of these letters are as follows:

  • A: The horse has previously won a race on this track.
  • D: The horse has already won a race of the same length.
  • CD: The horse has previously won a race of the same length on this track.
  • BF: The horse was listed as a favorite in the previous race, but lost.

Horse racing betting sites UK also use a “digital” version of these cards. But they are easier to use – Race cards and betting coupons are located on the same screen and can be used together. Let’s explain this more by using a step-by-step guide.

Placing a bet on UK horse race betting sites

Step 1
As can be expected, you must find a UK horse racing betting website first. Before creating a betting account UK, make sure that the website is licensed from the UKGC and covers global horse racing events too.

In order to save time and avoid risks, just pick one of our recommended horse racing bookmakers UK.
Step 2
Visit the website of that bookmaker, fill out the registration form, and become a member. Before making your first deposit, check the current promotions page. Maybe you can get a free bonus with your deposit.

Or, maybe there are no deposit betting UK bonuses and free bets you can use without making a deposit.
Step 3
Check the main page of the website. Although each website uses a different design, the interface elements are usually the same. On the left side of the screen, you will see a list of horse races that you can bet on.

When you select any race from this list, the race card opens in the middle of the screen. This card contains all the information you need, just like physical cards. But unlike physical cards, betting options are also included here.
Step 4
Choose one of these options and determine the amount of money you want to wager. (To get an idea, you can check out the types of bets listed below.) On the right side of the screen is your bet coupon. You can see the list of bets you have placed and the total amount you have to pay on this section.

You are not considered to have placed your bet without pressing the “submit” button at the bottom of the coupon. You can bet multiple bets on multiple races. Or, you can choose only one race and one bet - the decision is yours. In any case, when you're done, hit the “submit” button and wait for the race to end.

Note that you can do all of these from mobile devices too. And you don’t even need to use a horse racing betting mobile app UK: You can simply use the website and place your bets with your mobile browser.

If you want to use an application, this is also possible. While we cannot pick the best mobile betting app UK for you, our recommended UK horse racing betting websites support native applications too and we suggest starting with them.

Betfair
Rating 9.90 out of 10
Bonus codes are really useful things if you find the right ones. Well, Betfair offers the right one: Use the code ZBBC01 while opening your account and place 5 single bets of 10 GBP with odds of 1/2. For each of your bets, you will get a 20 GBP free bet bonus. Since there are 5 bets, the bonus will be 100 GBP in total.
Get bonus
888Sport
Rating 9.90 out of 10
888Sport offers a simple deal to newcomers, and like all simple things, it is very useful: Make a 10 GBP deposit, get a 30 GBP free bet bonus. You just need to use this code during the deposit: 30f. After making the deposit, you will get three free bet bonuses (two for desktop, one for mobile) and each one will be worth 10 GBP.
Get bonus

UK horse racing bet types and their explanations

You are now ready to start playing at online horse racing betting UK websites. However, there is still a small problem: What kind of bet should you place? Horse racing bets are not as simple as UK political betting, there are lots of possibilities and outcomes.

And picking the right one is important, because each bet options offers a different payout & winning chance. So, what are these types and which ones are best for beginners? Let’s take a look.

Basic types of horse racing betting in UK

BET NAME

EXPLANATION

WINNING CHANCE

Win
EXPLANATION
The simplest and most common betting option. The horse you picked must finish the race first, that’s all. We recommend allocating 4% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Average
Place
EXPLANATION
This time the horse you picked must finish the race either first or second. You can get better payouts than the “show” bet. We recommend allocating 5% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Good
Show
EXPLANATION
The horse you picked must finish the race first, second, or third. The odds are not as high as “win” or “place” but your winning chance is better. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Good
Across the Board
EXPLANATION
Placing a Win, Show, and Place bet at the same time. If the horse you picked finishes first, you win all three bets. If it finishes second, you only win Place and Show bets. And if it finishes third, you only win Show bet. We recommend allocating 7% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Good
Betting Each Way
EXPLANATION
Placing a Win and Place Bet at the same time. We recommend playing “Across The Board” bet instead of this one, unless you are getting very high odds.
WINNING CHANCE
Good
Place Only Betting
EXPLANATION
The horse you picked must finish the race second, third, or fourth. We recommend allocating 8% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Very Good

These options are also available as “ante-post betting”.  Ante-post means placing a bet before (at least a day before) the race. In other words, you are placing a bet way before the market opens. It is even possible to place a bet for a horse race that will happen in a month. You can place an ante-post bet for any kind of sports, even for cricket betting UK. The type of the bet is not important: As long as you place it before the markets are opened, it is called an “ante-post”. So, what is the reason for such bets? Most bettors believe that ante-post betting offers higher odds and once the markets open, these odds will start to decrease. This is actually true: Odds are dynamic and can change according to recent developments. For example, a favorite horse can stop being a favorite and this will affect the odds. By placing an ante-post bet, on the other hand, you are securing these odds.

That being said, ante-post bets are also riskier. You tie your money to a particular horse or horse group well in advance, and current developments can make this completely pointless. For example, if a favorite horse gets injured after placing the bet, your odds will not change, but your bet will also have no meaning, because that horse has no chance to win anymore. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you stay away from ante-post bets for now.

The basic strategy for the basic UK horse racing betting types is simple: Stick with bets that offer you multiple options, so you can get better chances. In this regard, Across the Board, Each Way, and Place Only bets are the best options for beginners. Just stick with the favorites and prefer to play at new UK betting sites, they will offer higher odds.

Forecast betting types

BET NAME

EXPLANATION

WINNING CHANCE

Quinella
EXPLANATION
The horses you pick must finish the race first and second, in either order. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll (2% per box, three horses per box) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Average
Exacta
EXPLANATION
This one is also known as “perfecta” or “straight forecast” too. You win this bet by guessing which horses will be the first and second, in the correct order. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll (1% per box, three horses per box) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Low
Trifecta
EXPLANATION
The horses you pick must finish the race first, second, and third, in the correct order. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll (2% per box, three horses per box) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Very Low
Superfecta
EXPLANATION
The horses you pick must finish the race first, second, third, and fourth, in the correct order. We recommend allocating 1% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
Swinger
EXPLANATION
Your horses must finish the race first, second, and third, in either order. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Good
Pick 3
EXPLANATION
The horses you picked must win three consecutive races. We recommend allocating 6% of your bankroll (1% per horse, two horses in each race) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Very Low
Pick 4
EXPLANATION
The horses you picked must win four consecutive races. We recommend allocating 8% of your bankroll (1% per horse, two horses in each race) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
Pick 6
EXPLANATION
The horses you picked must win six consecutive races. Do not place this bet unless you feel extremely lucky. And don’t forget that there is no such thing as being “extremely lucky”.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor

Multiple bets

BET NAME

EXPLANATION

WINNING CHANCE

Accumulator
EXPLANATION
Making at least four (or more) selections in one bet slip. The selections can be any bet type listed above but they all must win.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
EXPLANATION
The horses you picked must win two consecutive races. We recommend allocating 8% of your bankroll (2% per horse, two horses in each race) to this bet.
WINNING CHANCE
Low
Treble
EXPLANATION
Making three selections for different races in one bet slip. The selections can be any bet type listed above but they all must win.
WINNING CHANCE
Very Low
Trixie
EXPLANATION
Placing three “Double” and one “Treble” bet at the same time. At least two selections must win.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
Patent
EXPLANATION
Placing three “Win”, three “Double”, and one “Treble” bet at the same time. At least two selections must win.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
Yankee
EXPLANATION
Placing six “Double”, four “Treble”, and one “Accumulator” bet at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Canadian
EXPLANATION
Placing ten “Double”, ten “Treble”, and six “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Lucky 15
EXPLANATION
Placing four “Win”, six “Double”, four “Treble”, and one “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Heinz
EXPLANATION
Placing fifteen “Double”, twenty “Treble”, and twenty-two “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Lucky 31
EXPLANATION
Placing five “Win”, ten “Double”, ten “Treble”, and six “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Lucky 63
EXPLANATION
Placing six “Win”, fifteen “Double”, twenty “Treble”, and twenty-two “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Super Heinz
EXPLANATION
Placing twenty-one “Double”, thirty-five “Treble”, sixty-four “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Goliath
EXPLANATION
Placing twenty-eight “Double”, fifty-six “Treble”, ninety-nine “Accumulator” bets at the same time.
WINNING CHANCE
You Have A Better Chance For Getting Hit By A Meteor
Tote Jackpot
EXPLANATION
You pick the horses nominated by TOTE to win in races 3, 4, 5 and 6. Other than Saturdays, this bet is available every day. TOTE was the “official” UK horse racing betting bookmaker of the United Kingdom, owned by the government itself. Nowadays it is owned by Betfred.
WINNING CHANCE
Low
Tote Placepot
EXPLANATION
You pick the horses nominated by TOTE to Place in all six of the Placepot Races. Placepot is a pool operated by TOTE and it works like a progressive jackpot pool.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low
Tote Quadpot
EXPLANATION
Same as TOTE Placepot but includes four races instead of six.
WINNING CHANCE
Extremely Low

To be honest, there is no actual strategy to use with multiple horse racing bets. The idea of them is to get higher odds by stacking lots of outcomes on a single bet coupon. This really works, you can get amazing odds with these bets. However, there is a reason for that: These outcomes are extremely unlikely to happen.

Moreover, some of them will cost too much. You can try your chances with accumulator bets nut we recommend staying away from others, especially if you are a beginner. The majority of UK horse racing betting websites won’t even offer most of them, some of these options are only available at hippodromes.

Tips & tricks for UK horse racing betting

Tip

While there is no “guaranteed” way of winning, we can offer a couple of UK horse racing betting tips to increase your chances. You can see our list of horse racing betting tips UK below.

  • Learn to manage your bankroll. Simply put, do not spend all your money on one bet. Instead, split your budget into small pieces and use them in different types of bets. For example, use 4% of your budget for the “Win” bet and 8% for the “Show” bet. We gave some suggestions above, while explaining the bet types.
  • Make your research. Find out every detail about the horses you want to bet on. Don’t forget to review the general statistics. For example, did you know that favorite horses only win around 33% of the time? Or that the jockeys in the top 10 list won 90% of the races?
  • Keep records. Whether you win or lose, keep detailed records about everything: Your bankroll, the results of races, the performance of horses, even the personal life of the jockeys. Create your own personal database and use it for research.
  • Compare odds. Compare the odds of different bookmakers. This will allow you to get the best payouts. Moreover, comparing these odds can be used as an arbitrage betting UK This means taking advantage of the odd differences between the bookmakers and placing multiple bets for all outcomes, so no matter what the result is, you make a profit. Also, don’t forget that early horse racing odds UK will always be better.
  • Take advantage of the bonuses. Free bets, welcome bonuses, reload promotions, cashback bonuses – there are plenty of betting offers UK that can give you the edge. Compare them and use them: The right reload offers UK can make all the difference.

UK horse racing betting odds: How to read them?

UK betting industry uses fractional odds and this applies to horse racing bets too. They are shown with two figures separated by a slash, i.e. 1/1. The odds in this example are also known as even odds which means you use EVS betting to double your stake. The figure on the right side represents your wager. And the figure on the left side shows the payout. You can see some examples in the table below:

ODDS

MEANING

8/1
MEANING
For every 1 GBP you wager, you will win 8 GBP.
6/1
MEANING
For every 1 GBP you wager, you will win 6 GBP.
1/1
MEANING
For every 1 GBP you wager, you will win 1 GBP.
1/3
MEANING
For every 3 GBP you wager, you will win 1 GBP.
4/2
MEANING
For every 2 GBP you wager, you will win 4 GBP.
9/4
MEANING
For every 4 GBP you wager, you will win 9 GBP.

Pros and Cons of betting on horse racing in UK

PROS

  • The races don’t last too long
  • There is a different race every day
  • The odds can be quite high with the right selections
  • One of the oldest sports in Britain
  • Lots of bonuses are available

CONS

  • Some multiple bets can be quite complex
  • Not as simple as most other sports

FAQ about horse racing betting in UK

Spread betting UK means placing a bet for whether the outcome will be above or below the spread (a specific value or point). It is a financial betting term and its uses in horse racing betting are very limited. Horse races are not based on points.

Match betting UK means using the free bet bonuses of two different betting websites and using them to place a bet for all the outcomes to guarantee a winning. This technique can be used for horse racing betting too but it won’t be as effective as other sport types. There are simply too many horses and too many probabilities.

Yes. All forms of gambling are legal in the United Kingdom for more than 50 years. Gambling age UK is 18, so as long as you are 18 years old and over, you can participate in any kind of gambling activity.

We have good news for you: There is no horse racing betting tax UK for the bettors. Gambling taxes are paid by the operators and bookmakers.

On our website, of course. We will always offer you an up-to-date list of the latest horse betting sites UK. Moreover, we will offer a review for them too.

A final word on playing at the best horse racing betting sites in UK

We reached the end of our horse racing betting guide UK and we believe that you are ready to place your first bet: The only thing left is choosing a UK horse race betting site. We listed several options for you and any of those will be a good option.

Pick one, register today and place your first horse racing bet with a bonus: This will be the start of a fun and profitable journey. And if you want to try something new and interesting, remember that we have a esports betting UK guide too. Also, if you also want to learn how to bet online from abroad as a UK player, make sure you check our guide. We wish you good luck on the tracks: See you at the hippodrome!

 

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