Best Horse Racing Sites

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What to Consider When Choosing a Horse Racing Betting Site

Horse racing betting has come a long way from its Roman chariot racing origins, with at least £10 billion bet on this fast-paced and unpredictable sport every year. Avoid getting lost in the vast selection of online betting sites with this practical guide, which will help you find the best option for you, whether you're a racing betting virtuoso or just starting out.

Types of Race

Before deciding on a site, the first question to ask is which kind of race you most enjoy betting on. There are two main types:

  1. Flat Racing – the fast-paced Formula One of horse racing, you can clearly see which horse is ahead as they gallop over flat ground. The flat racing season is March to November, and most big-name events like Royal Ascot include this tense race. Experienced horses tend to excel here.
  2. Jump Racing – there are three types of this race. On chase courses, horses jump shorter hurdle courses or over higher fences, while the Grand National is a fence course. The other option is National Hunt, or bumpers, which are gentler jumps than hurdles or fences, so horses can get closer to the speeds of flat racing. All types of course make for tense, exciting watching – with the extra challenge of the jump making races rife with unexpected twists. Younger horses often compete in National Hunt, but for all jump courses pick a horse that has good stamina and can cover long distances.

Of the 58 racecourses now open in the UK, 16 are flat, 24 jump and 20 have a bit of both, which is ideal if you like to hedge your bets on a range of horses and jockeys. Because flat racing jockeys have to be much lighter, they tend to stick to one particular style of race.

Whichever online betting site you choose, check it offers a range of events in the type of racing you most enjoy watching. Also remember to check that the results are up quickly and clearly laid out, so even if you miss the race, it’ll be easy to find out whether your luck’s in.

Great Value

The first step to getting the best value from the site is to have a look at the odds and which has the best deal. Really understanding the returns you might get will pay off, as can choosing your type of bet wisely. These will depend on the site (and there are loads out there), but the four simplest to start off with are:

  1. To Win – this simple bet is a wager on which horse you think is most likely to win.
  2. Each Way – betting that your horse will either win or be placed, coming first, second or third in the race. On certain races, horses can place fourth or fifth and still win you a prize, so look out for sites that offer this.
  3. Accumulator – this can be to win or placed each way, but you bet on two or more horses, and if they all come in as you predict, you win. Although this is higher risk, it can also be a higher reward.
  4. Combined – this is a bet that one of up to four horses will win. If one of your horses triumphs, you can claim your winnings. A good way to spread risk, as you can mix up unknown newcomers with old favourites.

Other factors, too, can influence value. Some sites give great bonuses for specific events, betting combinations or for first-time players. You may also find a loyalty or VIP programme it’s worthwhile sticking with, giving you points or the chance to win prizes.

Staying Safe

Stick to reputable sites, and check any data you're sharing will be encrypted. Making deposits should be flexible, to suit you. You’ll find most sites have a good range of payment options, from trusted mainstream banks to third party online services like PayPal. Check that the site has an informative FAQ page and good, fast customer service, so if you do run into problems, they’ll be dealt with quickly.

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