Updated Updated: October 31, 2019

Horse Racing betting guide and sites for the UK

This page you are now will give you a quick overview of just some of the betting options we can help you with, so read on to get your first insight into the services we provide.

Top sites to bet on horse racing in the UK

No Code Required
No Code Required
Get up to £30 in Free Bets
No Code Required
Up to £100 Extra Winnings with a 100% Profit Boost
No Code Required
No Code Required
£20 free bet welcome offer
Code: TONY50
Welcome Bonus 100% up to £50
No Code Required
No Code Required
Bet £10 Get £10 Free
No Code Required
£20 free bet welcome offer
No Code Required
£10 Backup Bet
See more

Horse racing betting overview

Sports Banners_Horse Racing

Horse racing betting today is hugely popular, simply because it’s so exciting. There’s nothing quite like backing a particular horse, then watching in anticipation as the race starts and your chosen steed competes with dozens of other horses for the win. Sporting events can last well over an hour, but with horse races, there’s no waiting around and getting bored since the races are over in a matter of minutes, so they’re a lot more exhilarating and thrilling to watch.

It’s long been a key part of British betting culture and is the second most popular betting option – only football has more bets placed on it.

If you’re new to the world of horse racing betting, keep to this page. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to get you started. Before you know it, you’ll be researching horses and jockeys, backing one in a big race and watching nervously as your selection thunders around the race track, hopefully winning the race for you.

Types Of Horse Racing

There are two main types of horse racing you’ll come across.

  • The most common one is flat racing. The way this works couldn’t be any more straightforward: a number of horses run from a starting point and the first to make it past the finish line, or the post, is the winner. For some flat races, the horses simply run in a straight line; for others, the horses run around a curved track, which is typically in the shape of an oval.
  • Then there’s National Hunt racing, which is also known as jump racing. For this type of horse racing, the racecourse features a number of obstacles that both the jockey riding the horse and the horse itself must work together to overcome.

    There are two types of National Hunt: hurdles and steeplechase.

    • For hurdles races, horses are required to jump over a number of low hurdles as they race.
    • Steeplechases involve hurdles as well, though these are often taller and can be made of fencing or hedges;

      these races also have ditches and small bodies of water that have to be jumped over or avoided.

Bets You Can Place

There’s more to online horse racing than just picking a horse and hoping it will win. As with any other kind of sport or racing event, there’s a broad range of betting options available. Below you’ll find some of the most common types of horse racing bet listed:

Betting Without

For some horse races, there’s a clear favourite with very favourable odds. If betting without is offered, the favourite is essentially ignored and odds for the other horses are given as if the favourite wasn’t going to be taking part. This type of bet can give less favoured horses better odds.

Combination Tricast Bet

For this bet, you choose any three horses. If these three horses finish the race in first, second and third position, in any order, you’ll win.

Each Way Bet

This bet is made up of two selections. Half of your bet goes towards your chosen horse winning, while the other half goes towards your chosen horse placing. For a horse to place, it has to be one of the first three to finish the race. For some larger races, a horse can place if it comes fourth, fifth or even sixth.

Not familiar with each way betting ?

If you would like to learn how to do each way betting we have you covered. Read our each way bet guide and you will be able to start placing this type of bet.

Read our complete each way betting guide

Forecast Bet

Another bet made up of two selections. For this bet, you pick a horse to win the race and a horse to finish in second place. If both your predictions are correct, you’ll win.

Multiple Bet

This type of bet as actually made up of more than one selection. In order for a multiple bet to win, each and every selection has to win. Even if just one selection fails to win, you’ll lose your bet. The more selections there are, the higher the payout you stand to win, though the lower your chances of winning are.

Reverse Forecast Bet

For this bet, you pick any two horses and as long as they end up in first and second place, you’ll win. It doesn’t matter which horse is first and which one is second.

Single Bet

Any type of bet that involves you backing one single event, e.g. one horse winning one race.

Tricast Bet

This works in a similar way to the Forecast Bet, except you are betting on three horses, not two. Pick a horse to finish first, a horse to finish second and a horse to finish third. If all your predictions are correct, you’ll win.

Win Bet

This is the simplest bet you can place in horse racing. Pick a horse and if that particular horse wins the race, you’ll be paid accordingly.

Practice horse racing betting with an exclusive bonus at Unibet

rsz_10-removebg-preview (1)
Unibet@0,5x 4.5/5
Up to £40 in free bets with no wagering requirements + £10 casino bonus

Criteria to Consider

When it comes to betting on horse race betting, you can take one of two approaches. You can either just pick a horse at random and hope for the best, or you can spend some time reading up on the competitors and making an informed decision as to which one will win.

More casual punters will pick a horse based on its name, its appearance or what colour clothing its jockey is wearing. It’s perfectly possible to win by picking your horse in one of these ways.

However, you stand a better chance of backing the winner if you ignore the more superficial aspects of horse racing and concentrate on the criteria that actually can affect the outcome of the race. Having a detailed, in-depth knowledge about the horses taking part and the racing event itself can help you place better bets.

If you’re after some horse racing betting tips, the best tip is simply to know a lot about the race and its competitors. Here are some criteria you should consider:

  • Distance: The length of the race may be suited to some horses better than others. Younger horses are generally more suited to shorter racecourses, while older, more experienced horses will fare better on longer racecourses.
  • Draw: Most horse races start off with the horses lined up in stalls. Each stall is numbered and before a race begins, each horse is randomly allocated one of the stalls. If the race is a straight line, a horse’s stall won’t matter too much. For racecourses with curves, however, some horses will be at a disadvantage – the horses on the outer lanes of the racecourse will have more distance to cover than those on the inner lanes.
  • Form: This is perhaps the most important criterion you’ll want to take into account when placing horse racing bets. A horse’s form sums up the horse’s recent racing history; it includes how many races the horse has taken part in, where these races were, how long the races were, what positions the horse finished in and which jockey(s) has ridden the horse in these races. A horse’s form is widely regarded as one of the most important criteria to consider when picking a horse to back.
  • Going: This refers to the surface on which the horses are racing. While many horses perform well on practically any surface, some are better suited to certain ground types over others. There are three main types of material horses race on: turf, which is most common in Europe; dirt, which is favoured in the US; and synthetic, which many countries around the world use. Dirt races tend to be the fastest, while turf racecourses are affected by the weather the most.
  • Jockey: While it’s important to take the horse into consideration, it’s also a good idea to look at the jockey riding the horse. Jockeys have their own strengths, weaknesses and preferences that you’ll want to take into account. Some may be better suited to certain horses, for example, or may perform better on certain racecourses.
  • Number of horses: You may want to think about the number of horses taking part in a race. If it’s a straight-line race, the number of competitors won’t matter too much. For races on a curved racecourse, the number of horses will matter more. The more horses there are, the harder it is for horses on the edge to move along to the inner part of the racecourse, which covers less distance.
  • Racecourse: As well as the surface of the racecourse, you may well want to take its layout into consideration. Some horses might fare better in straight races, whereas others might have a better chance of winning if it’s a curved racecourse. The gradient should also be considered: if the racecourse isn’t entirely flat, this may put some horses at a disadvantage.
  • Trainer: While the jockey has the role of riding the horse, it’s the trainer’s job to prepare the horse for the race. They look after the horse in between races and focus on providing them with a good diet and exercise routine. They also have the horse do a number of practice racing sessions to build up their stamina before the actual race itself. Some trainers look after pretty much any kind of horse, while others have their own preferences and specialities.
  • Weather: The weather on the day can have an effect on the outcome of a race. As previously mentioned, it can affect the surface on which the horses are racing; it may also affect a jockey’s performance, especially if the weather conditions aren’t favourable.
  • Weight: When looking at horses to bet on, you should see the weight listed. This isn’t actually the weight of the horse; instead, it’s the weight of the horse combined with the weight of the jockey and his riding equipment.


This is a horse race where the horses are allowed to carry different weights. Horses that are perceived to have an advantage carry slightly more weight to give the slower horses more of a chance of winning.

Yes you can. Most online sportsbooks will let you watch live streams of horse races. To watch a live horse race, you usually need to have a positive account balance and you need to have placed a wager on that particular race. Many sites have saved streams of past races, so you can see for yourself how your chosen horse has performed in recent races.

Most horse racing betting sites have quite low minimum betting amounts, so you can take part in horse racing betting for not much money at all. Some sites even let you place bets for a few pennies. Even the bigger online sportsbooks, such as Sky Bet, Paddy Power, Betfair and William Hill offer horse racing betting for punters on a budget.

A lay bet involves betting on something not happening. For example, if you place a lay bet on horse A and that horse doesn’t win the race, you’ll win your bet. You’ll most often find lay bets available at betting exchanges, which are sites where you’re effectively betting against other punters, rather than against the bookmaker.

Some horse racing bets, especially multiplies that involve more than one selection, can be quite complicated. The purpose of a bet calculator is to let you know how much money you stand to win. All you need is the odds for your selection(s) and the value of your bet(s).

In horse racing, SP stand for Starting price. The SP is the odds that are prevailed on a specific horse during the on-course fixed-odds betting market at the moment the race is beginning.

If you would like to take advantage of free bets we suggest you to take a loot at our free bet page. You will find plenty of offers available in The UK.

18 Age Verification

We require users to be 18 years old or over, please confirm your age.