How to Bet on Horse Racing – Your Guide to Horse Racing Betting 2020

Horse racing betting is one of the most popular past times in the UK, especially when the Grand National is on. As such, most betting sites based in the UK offer plenty of options. Here at MaxFreeBets, we tell you all you need to know about betting on the horses.

Introduction to Horse Racing Betting

If you’ve ever wondered “where can I bet on horse racing?”, this guide is just the thing you need. If your horse racing knowledge is limited, betting may seem about as tricky, as learning to speak Farsi.

Understand the Lingo

All sports have their terminology, and you’ll have to familiarise yourself with them to increase your odds of turning a profit.


Act refers to the horse’s ability to perform in different conditions. If it previously showed the ability to handle the soft ground, the horse ‘acts on soft ground’.

horseAt the post

At the post is before the race when all sprinters have come up at the start.

horseWon on the Bridle

The racer won easily. Jockey didn’t have to ride hard, and other horses didn’t challenge it.

horseThe Jolly

The horse that is favourite to win the race.


NR is the abbreviation for non-runner. It happens when a racer will not be taking part in the race. If you wagered on an NR horse, your stakes would be refunded.

horseSite Card

A printed card usually referred to as a racecard. This card lists information about the event, which horses are running. It contains the name and age of the horse and weight of the jockey.


A horse that hasn’t won a race yet.

question markWhy Bet on Horse Racing?

There should be no question as to why you attend a derby. You get to spend the day outside and see horses perform at their peak. The best way to bet on horse racing is debatable, but whether or not to bet on them isn’t even a question. If you apply the content in this horse racing betting guide, you should be well on your way.

With multiple betting types, exciting events, lots of free bets and betting offers and fantastic odds, there’s little reason not to place wagers on the races. These wagers usually have a low minimum of around £2, which makes it an inexpensive outing.  Depending on which site you choose, you could even make use of a horse racing betting calculator.

Horse Racing Festivals

If you’ve ever had even the slightest interest in equestrian sports, you’ve probably heard of events such as the Cheltenham Festival or the Grand National. These, along with the rest of the famous festivals, are multiple-day race meetings. These are fantastic for some horse racing betting tips and getting into the spirit of the event.

Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival takes place in March each year at the racecourse of the same name. Seen as the world’s most esteemed National Hunt race, they estimate that punters wager about £600 million at this prestigious four-day event.

Grand National

The Grand National, which is at Aintree in April, is seen as the world’s most fabulous jump racing extravaganza. About 150,000 attending spectators share in the excitement. This three-day event takes place in April every year and gathers around 600 million TV spectators.


The annual five-day Glorious Goodwood takes place in August. With no shortage of strawberries and champagne, this festival combines the sporting and socially elite.  This is another of the biggies that attracts a huge number of visitors and bettors.

Where to Bet on Horse Racing

The good news is that betting on horses is entirely legal in the UK, whether you do it at the racetrack or via an online bookie. Below you’ll find some of the best horse racing betting sites with its welcome bonuses. Remember that the odds between bookies can vary so you can place multiple wagers or look for the ones that fit your budget and choice. most of these sites offer you the choice to bet ante-post and many offer live betting and live streaming. You will also find features such as cashout for select races on select sites.

  1. Paddy Power
  2. Star Sports
  3. Tonybet
  4. Ladbrokes
  5. BoyleSports
  6. Unibet

Welcome Offer

Paddy Power
4.9 rating
Paddy Power
1st deposit bonus
£10 Risk Free Bet

Min deposit


When it comes to Horse Racing betting Paddy Power is up there as one of the leaders. Paddy will offer access to lots of different markets plus live streaming on all UK & Ireland races. You can get started with a £10 Risk Free Bet which will be paid back in CASH if it loses!

Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £10. Only deposits made using Debit/Credit Card or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy’s Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.

Star Sports
4.0 rating
Star Sports
1st deposit bonus
£50 Free Bet On Selected Events

Min deposit


With an extensive range of sports to punt on it’s no wonder this StarSports has made it to the list. The welcome bonus entails a £50 free bet if your selected event or result occurs. The minimum stake to qualify is £10 with 2.0 minimum odds. The free bet is valid for seven days. Getting started is effortless with the user-friendly website, and it generally offers adequate 

18+ | New users only | Min stake £10 | Min odds even/2.0 | Only Available for Selected Events | Free bet up to value of initial stake (win part only) credited if selected event/result occurs | Max free bet £50 | Free bet valid for 7 days | Full terms apply

4.4 rating
1st deposit bonus
100% Up To £200

Min deposit


TonyBet might not be one of the big names, but it offers a variety of sports and a significant number of markets on some of these. Another convincing factor is the fantastic welcome bonus of 100% up to £200. Meaning it’ll match a new punter’s first deposit between £20 and £200. You’ll have to wager at odds of 1.65 or more.

New customers only. Min deposit £20. Max £200. Min odds/bet, payment method and country exclusions apply. Wager 10 times at odds of 1.65 or bigger. T&Cs Apply. 18+. Please Gamble Responsibly.

4.9 rating
1st deposit bonus
£20 Free Bet

Min deposit


Ladbrokes horse racing betting allows punters to bet online or on the go with their mobile app. This bookie is one of the oldest in the world. It offers a £30 free bet for new players when they sign up and place a £10 minimum wager. The offer of live horse racing betting makes this an attractive

18+ | UK+IRE only | PayPal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded | Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 | 4 x £5 free bets | Free bets valid for 7 days on sports | Stake not returned | T&Cs Apply

4.5 rating
1st deposit bonus
£25 Free Bet

Min deposit


BoyleSports has a great mobile app for Android and iOS, which provides extra bonuses and unique features. New players qualify for £25 in free bets with wagering requirements of x13. Your first £5 free bet must have a minimum stake of £10 with qualifying odds of 1/2 or more.

18+ T&Cs apply | Cash stakes only | Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet | Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets | Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets | 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet | Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account | Free bet expires after 7 days | Payment method restrictions apply

4.8 rating
1st deposit bonus
£40 Free Bet + £10 Casino

Min deposit


Unibet generally offers a vast amount of offers and promos, particularly if its time for the Grand National or Cheltenham Festival etc. Not only is this a site that promises plenty of offers, but it also has great value odds as well as the chance to bet antepost and live, along with live streaming.

New customers only | 18+, | Min deposit £10 | Money back as bonus | Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x | Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited | Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in | Further T&C’s apply.

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We believe that every customer deserves a safe and secure betting experience, so we independently review every bookmaker on our site to make sure that they are fully regulated and compliant. All reviews are fair and true based on our experiences of the site. We do accept compensation from the bookmakers on our site, however, which may affect the position they hold. We are always looking to add more bookmakers to our site to keep offering the most up to date lists and to provide you with reviews that are current and true.
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betvictor logoBetVictor New players can claim £30 in bonuses when they place a £5 qualifying bet at 2.0 or higher odds. This online sportsbook also offers great odds on UK horse racing betting. BetVictor isn’t only a high-quality bookie; it also provides over 900 casino games ranging from slots to table for the punters with a taste for more. If this wasn’t convincing enough, this site has low deposit and high withdrawal limits.

Horse Racing Live Streaming

Almost all the bookmakers mentioned above offer horse racing live streaming on the latest horse racing betting. Probably the best way to bet on horse racing when you can’t make it to track or when you have other obligations.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

To place winning bets, you have to understand the different strategies and types of bets. A great combination of these improves that chances that could leave you smiling at the finish line.

Understanding The Strategies

Horse racing betting systems is critical to understand because most people only watch the sport to place wagers on it. Serious punters use strategies to increase their payoffs.

Tick IconDo Some Research

Take a look at the racing forms before placing a wager. It’ll give you some great insights to make a more informed decision. Knowing your jockey and horse help you understand how they’ll fare on the racetrack and under the specific conditions which will help with placing a bet.

Tick IconMake Different Types of Bets

Learn how the different types of bets work so that you can integrate them. Using the different types strategically could help you rule your wagers.

Tick IconShop Around for Best Odds

Possibly the simplest way to increase your payoff is to shop around for different odds as these aren’t the same with all bookmakers. Once you’ve selected your horse, take a look at where you can find the best odds.

red crossDon’t Bet On All Races.

Place multiple bets to increase your odds, but be careful not to bet on races that you haven’t thoroughly researched.

Tick IconCheck Your Finances

Always ensure that you have enough money to start wagering. Responsible betting is important, so decide how much you can afford to spend and stick to it.

[su_heading style=”default” size=”30″ align=”center” margin=”20″ class=””]Types Of Bets[/su_heading]

All sports betting has various types of bets that you can place. Betting on horse racing can be split into two categories of bets, namely straight and exotic wagers. Straight wagers are recommended for new punters as you simply select one horse to place first, second, or third.

Exotic wagers are for the more experienced players as it allows you to place multiple bets on different horses in a single wager. Below we’ll go into some of the common types of bets.

horseWin / Single / On The Nose

You’re betting on one specific horse to place first. The odds are average on this type of bet.

horseEach Way

You’re essentially placing two bets, one is on your pick to win and the other for it to ‘place’. This wager is riskier but could be fruitful.


You’re placing a wager on a horse to place first or second. The odds are better, but your winnings will be less.


This type of bet has much better odds of winning with a smaller return. The horse you select must come first, second, or third.


You bet on two horses, and your picks must place first and second in exact order. This wager could have a high payout dependent on the horses’ odds.


The wager is placed on two horses again; this time, they must place first and second in either order.

horseDaily Double

The horses you select must win the two consecutive races. The payout could be delightful, dependent on the horses.

How Do the Odds Work

Equine betting can be very profitable when you understand how odds work. Nobody enjoys throwing money away, and if you don’t know how this works, you might do that. Read on to make some sense of the odds.

Odds are expressed as fractions in the UK; you’ll find it in this format at the racetrack and horse racing betting sites from the UK.

The odds will usually be displayed as 5/1, which means that you’ll receive £5 for every £1 wagered. The rule states that the top number of the fraction reflects the payout and the bottom number, the wager. Another example of odds could be 12/3, where every £3 that you bet could return £12 profit.

It’s a commonplace in Europe to display odds as a decimal, and you might find it that way when wagering online. You would usually simply multiply your stake with the decimal to see your winnings.