Horse Racing Betting Sites
Betting on horse races is the oldest form of sports betting in the UK. It is a longstanding and proud tradition and many non-punters have a habit of placing a wager on the most popular annual horse races and festivals like the Royal Ascot, or the Cheltenham Festival.
While in the past betting was only permitted at the racecourse, nowadays with online and mobile betting you are free to place a bet from anywhere, and you don’t have to wait until the race is about to begin, you may place a wager in advance and if you intend on betting on some of the most popular races even weeks or months in advance. There isn’t a UK bookmaker that doesn’t offer horse race betting, and choosing the best horse racing betting sites can be a tricky task. No need to worry though, we did that for you and we selected the top UK bookmakers for you.
UK Horse Racing Events
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The main draw at the Ascot racecourse each year is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It takes place in July and is commonly referred to as “King George”. It is the second richest horse race in the UK, preceded only by the Epsom Derby. As part of the Royal Ascot races, the King George race is attended by Queen Elizabeth II and other members from the Royal Family every year.
If the Grand National is the country’s National Hunt major, Cheltenham is the next best thing. Featuring a prize fund second only to the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival is very popular with Irish horse racing fans.
The annual National Hunt race takes place every March at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire and features several Group 1 races including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Stayer’s Hurdle, Champion Hurdle, and Queen Mother Champion Chase. Besides the exciting races, the festival is known for the “Cheltenham roar”, which perfectly describes the loud noise the crowd makes at the beginning of the first race.
The Epsom Derby is Britain’s richest horse race run at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey. It is the most prestigious race of the 5 Classics, which also include St Leger Stakes, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas Stakes, and the Epsom Oaks race. The name Derby became anonymous with many major horse races over the world, most notably by the Kentucky Derby.
Randox Health Grand National Festival
The Grand National is the most prestigious National Hunt race in the UK and one of the oldest as well, being held since 1839 in Liverpool. It’s a handicap steeplechase run over 4 miles 514 yards that’s very prominent in British culture.
The race has much larger fences than other National Hunt races, with some of them (The Chair, Becher’s Brook) being famous on their own. The Grand National race had a prize fund of £1 million in 2017, with a winner’s share of £561,000, which puts it near the top of the list of richest horse races.
QIPCO Guineas Festival
The Guineas Festival is a special event in horse racing held in Newmarket. It features two Group 1 horse races – the 1000 Guineas Stakes which is open to 3-year old fillies, and the main event, 2000 Guineas Stakes, which is open to 3-year old thoroughbred colts and fillies.
The inaugural 1000 Guineas Stakes was held in 1814 and is a Group 1 horse race run at Rowley Mile (Newmarket racecourse). It’s the second of the 5 British classics and the opening leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown (with Oaks and St Leger completing the event). The prize fund for 2018 was £500,000, with £283,550 going to the winner.
The main event at the QIPCO Guineas Festival is the 2000 Guineas Stakes which is held at the racecourse on Saturday (the 1000 Guineas Stakes is held on Friday). The race was inaugurated in 1809 and has the same prize fund as the 1000 Guineas Stakes. It’s one of the 5 British Classics and the opening leg of the Triple Crown Events, which also include The Derby and St Leger.
Royal Ascot is the main event at the famed Ascot Racecourse and was founded by Queen Anne in 1711. Since then, the race has been commonly attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. It’s one of the major events on the British calendar and one of the most prized ones, with a prize fund of £7.3 million in 2018.
There’s a total of 18 group races at the Royal Ascot, with 8 of them being ranked Group 1.
Qatar Goodwood Festival
Spread over 5 days of breath-taking action, the Qatar Goodwood Festival is one of the highlights of the flat-racing season. The Goodwood racecourse is home to 3 of the 36 annual UK flat races – the Nassau Stakes, Sussex Stakes, and the Goodwood Cup.
The 3 major Flat races during the Goodwood Festival have been inaugurated in the early XIX century. The Sussex Stakes is the richest race with a prize fund of £1 million in 2018 (£593,932 for the winner).
Non-UK Horse Racing Events
There are many prestigious horse races held every year all around Europe and the world. These races offer millions in prize funds and are pretty popular as well. They have a long history behind them, which is the reason for their high status and popularity to this day.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Held at the Longchamp racecourse near Paris, the Arc is probably the most popular horse race in Europe. It is the world’s second richest race, ranking only behind the Dubai Cup. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has a long history behind it and thousands of fans are eager to watch and punt on it year after year.
Dubai World Cup
The inaugural Dubai World Cup was held in 1996, and in just over 20 years, this horse race has become one of the biggest in the world. With a prize fund of $10m., it is also the richest horse race in history. It is popular among the celebrity crème de la creme, who usually stay at one of the extravagant hotels placed right beside the racecourse, where a night stay can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Arguably the most popular horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby draws in more than 150,000 spectators every year. It is run at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky and only lasts for a couple of minutes. As part of the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival, the Kentucky Derby offers a grand experience for the spectators, with popular bands on the scene before the main event.
There are different types of horse racing, including flat racing, harness racing, jump racing, endurance racing, and the highest levels of horse racing – stakes and grand stakes racing.
Flat horse races are the most common and involve horses running on a flat surface. The track is usually oval, with the horses running between a start and finish point. Most flat races are run between 1 and 3 miles, with the surface varying across events. Races such as the Kentucky Derby are run on dirt, but turf is the most common running surface on tracks around the world.
Also known as National Hunt racing, jump racing is a popular discipline in horse racing in which the horses run between two points with obstacles. Depending on the size and type of the obstacles, they can be divided into two groups – hurdling and steeplechasing.
Endurance races can be pretty short (10-20 miles for pleasure rides) or very long, often exceeding a hundred miles and held over several days. These races are a great test for a horse’s endurance, which is where they get the name from.
Horses with a proven record are allowed to enter stakes races which are the most prestigious races in the world of horse racing. These races are usually run on a flat surface. Horses can either run low-levels stakes or enter high-level stakes races which can push them up the ladder and help them gain a place in major events such as the Kentucky Derby.
Graded Stakes Racing
There are 3 levels of graded stakes racing (I, II, and III) which indicates the quality of the race, horses, and the running track as well. This is the highest organized level of horse racing and includes events such as The Arc, the Belmont Stakes or Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
What Makes the Good Horse Racing Bookmakers UK?
A good horse racing betting site must include as many UK and Irish races as possible, and preferably a lot of international and foreign races too. Moreover, it must offer betting odds. There are a lot of betting operators and the market is very competitive, the difference in the odds can have a high impact on your potential winnings.
Last but not least, good betting sites always offer betting bonuses, promotions and other advantages that apply to horse race betting and often even special promotions that can be claimed only by horse race punters.
Review of the New Horse Racing Betting Sites
BetEast offers betting on almost all UK and Irish races, as well as many international horse races. There’s even the option of Ante-Post betting, i.e. betting on races that will take place later in the current year or even the next year. The type and scope of the available betting options depend on the popularity of the race. If there’s a big festival coming up you will be able to place not only winner and forecast/tricast bets, but also a range of other options, including more specific bets.
This betting site offers a range of promotions that apply to horse racing bets. For example, every Monday you can get your money back if your selected horse (on a winner bet) finishes second and loses only by a Head or shorter distance. The minimum qualifying wager is £5 and the offer only applies to single bets.
With the ‘best odds guaranteed’ policy players who place a wager on a UK or Irish horse race will be paid out by the best odds if their selection wins. That means that if you place a bet and the odds get reduced afterwards you will be paid based on your original wager, whereas if they get increased you will be paid by the latter odds.
10Bet is another operator that wants to make sure that horse racing punters will have plenty of options at their disposal. The horse racing menu is neatly arranged and it is very easy to navigate through it. The three upcoming races are presented centrally on the page, but you may choose to see the races that take place on the following day or future races. International horse races are also covered.
When it comes to promotions, it is not just the new punter bonus. With the Faller Cover bonus you can get a free bet up to £10 whenever your horse crashes out. One race is offered each day of the week, whenever that’s applicable. You can also get refunded if your selection loses by just one Head or less.
32Red offers betting on all upcoming races and the horse race betting offer includes both UK and Irish races as well as races that take place in Dubai, South Africa and all over the world. Moreover, there’s also long term betting on Irish and UK races.
Punters at this website have access to daily price boosts for horse racing. Whenever you see an asterisk next to a horse’s name, it means that that bet is offered at a higher price that you probably won’t find at any other betting website. Moreover, UK and Irish customers are also entitled to a profit boost on the first in-play bet that they place.
Ladbrokes is one of the most renowned UK betting sites. It offers not only standard horse race betting, but there are also a lot of future racing options as well as racing specials which are betting options and markets that you might not be able to find at other horse race betting websites. In addition to bets, you can also check results and from without leaving the site.
Ladbrokes also has the ‘best odds guaranteed’ offer which means that you won’t be losing anything if the odds change from the moment when you place your wager, you can only gain. Moreover, there are daily price boosts which means that some bets will be available at significantly increased prices.
Ladbrokes also offers ‘extra place races’ which means that the fourth place is also included in a place bet. So if you bet on ‘place’ and your selected horse finishes fourth instead of first, second or third, you will also win money as if she/he finished third. Up to three races are offered as extra place races per day, whenever that is possible. Moreover, there’s also a standard new punter bonus.