Our Guide to Horse Racing Betting

Original banner featuring a jockey on a horse followed by the words "Horse Betting Guide" to visually help readers know what the page is about Original banner featuring a jockey on a horse followed by the words "Horse Betting Guide" to visually help readers know what the page is about

Author: Lewis Humphries,

an-image-of-a-jockey-racing-a-horse-with-a-background-image-of-a-race-track an-image-of-a-jockey-racing-a-horse-with-a-background-image-of-a-race-track

Horse racing is commonly referred to as the “sport of kings”, while it’s the second-most bet on category in the UK and Ireland. Overall, the Irish horse racing industry is thought to be worth approximately €1 billion per annum, while you can wager on flat and National Hunt races all year round. In this detailed guide, you’ll find a comprehensive overview of the best horse racing betting sites, along with the unique features that set these operators apart. We’ve even created some horse racing tips to help you make the most of your bankroll!

☘️ BetinIreland.ie Choice for Horse Racing Betting Sites


18+ | New customers only. Min stake €/£10 | 30 days to qualify | Payment method restrictions exist | Play Responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply. http://www.begambleaware.org

Mr Green Sport
50€ In Free Bet

18+ New players only. Qualifying bet(s) must have minimum odds of 3/1 and must be settled before triggering free bet. Free Bet must be used on an accumulator with 3 or more selections. 18+. begambleaware.org. T&Cs apply. www.begambleaware.org

Betinia Sports

Available for new customers. Max bonus 1500 sek, valid for 60 days, winnings are given minus free bet amount. Play responsibly. 18+, Stodlinjen.se.T&C

Best Horse Betting Sites by Category

When you start betting on horse racing, it’s crucial that you’re able to identify the best value sites. Here’s a summary of the market leading operators!

🐴 Best Horse Racing Betting Site:


🎁 Best Horse Racing Free Bet:


📡 Best Horse Racing Site for In-Play Betting:


💯 Best Horse Racing Odds Guarantee:

William Hill

Best Horse Racing Betting Site: BoyleSports

Not only is BoyleSports a household Irish betting brand, but it also offers access to horse racing as one of 40 different sports categories. Overall, the Boylesports horse race betting experience is one of the best in class, with the operator combining extensive coverage of meetings with daily best odds guaranteed promotions in Ireland and the UK.

You can also get extra race places at specified meetings, depending on the number of competing runners (at least 16 are needed for the brand to payout for five places). You can learn more about this and similar features in our detailed BoyleSports review.

The BoyleSports welcome offer rewards you with a €30 free bet (and €10 in casino bonuses) when your place a qualifying wager of €10 at odds of 2.00 or greater. To review this offer’s T&Cs or claim the bonus, head to the BoyleSports website now!

Best Horse Racing Free Bet Offer: LegendPlay

LegendPlay may not be as renowned as BoyleSports, but it has built its sportsbook on a solid horse racing vertical and superb free bet offer. The latter comprises a 100% first deposit match up to the value of €250, which requires you to add at least €10 to your balance and wager this at odds of 1.50 or higher.

The wagering requirements here are just 1x the initial deposit, so any winnings that you accrue will be relatively accessible. The site also offers extensive live streaming, so you can watch certain meetings and wager in-play as the action unfolds.

You’ll even find virtual horse race betting here, and you can learn more about this by reading our LegendPlay review. If you want to compare or claim the aforementioned LegendPlay welcome bonus, you can do so online.

Best Horse Racing In-Play Betting Service: Ladbrokes

A quick glance at our Ladbrokes review reveals several key selling points, including an extensive live streaming platform and broad range of in-play horse racing betting markets.

Ladbrokes also provides daily odds boosts across UK and Irish horse races (more than any other sportsbook), while the site runs regular tote or ‘pool’ betting promotions too. These can unlock cash payouts of €50,000 or more in some instances!

The current Ladbrokes welcome offer rewards you with four separate €5 free bets (€20 in total) when you initially wager €5 or more at odds of 1.50. You’ll have seven days to deploy the free bets once they’ve been added to your Ladbrokes account.

Best Horse Racing Odds Guarantee: William Hill

William Hill offers access to more than 60,000 sports betting markets, including a large volume of horse racing meetings and wagers. You can also live stream a large number of meetings through the site, or listen to expert commentary and punditry on the operator’s live radio station.

However, our William Hill review reveals that the site is best-known for its guaranteed odds promotions. These are made available from 10am on the day of specific races, while these odds are available on associated win markets and factor in prices from a large selection of rival operators.

The William Hill welcome offer comprises €30 in free bets when you deposit and wager €10. Your reward will be divided into three free bets of €10, which must be wagered at minimum odds of 1.50 within 30 days of them being added to your account.

Horse Racing Betting Festivals and Guides

Having appraised the best horse racing betting sites, it’s now time to analyse the various festivals, meetings and guides featured on the Betinireland site. These cover iconic UK events such as the Grand National, Glorious Goodwood and Cheltenham Festival, alongside Galway Races and the Irish Derby on the Emerald Isle. Before you wager on any of these events and races, we’d also urge you to check out our guides and compare the latest betting odds online!

Irish Grand NationalIrish Grand National Betting Guide and Odds. Get the Latest Info on the Richest Chase in the Irish Horse Racing Calendar. Grab some Free Bet Offers & Market Tips.
Grand National 2024Grand National Betting Guide and odds. Get the latest info on the #1 English National Hunt Horse Race. Bag yourself some free bet offers & market tips.
Cheltenham FestivalCheltenham Festival Betting Guide and Odds by Betinireland. Get the Latest Info on this 4 Day Horse Racing Festival including Free Bet Offers & Market Tips.
Glorious GoodwoodThe Goodwood Races is One of the Horse Racing Highlights in the UK. Our Race Week Guide includes Odds, Betting Tips & Fixtures.
Galway RacesThe Galway Races are the Highlight of Ireland’s Racing Festival Calendar, and this guide of ours will provide you with all the information that you could possibly need about this event.
Epsom DerbyThe Epsom Derby and Epsom Oaks are some of the biggest flat races in the horse racing world, and this betting guide will provide you with all the information that you could ever need.
Irish DerbyWhen it comes to prestigious horse racing events in Ireland, the Irish Derby is definitely up there as one of the very best. This guide will help you to improve your knowledge on this race.
Punchestown FestivalThe Punchestown Festival is one of the highlights of Irish horse racing, and you will not find a more comprehensive betting guide for this festival than this one.
Royal AscotThe Royal Ascot is one of the biggest horse racing meetings in the world, with millions being bet on it each year. Before you bet on it, I recommend you read this guide.
1000 GuineasThe 1000 Guineas is the second of five classic horse races and this guide is one that will tell you everything you need to know about betting on it.
2000 GuineasThe Guineas 2000 is one of the five classic horse races, and this guide will provide you with all the useful information that you need to know about this prestigious race.
Coral Scottish Grand NationalThe Coral Scottish Grand National is an annual event that holds at the Ayr Racecourse in April. It features over 30 horses in some of the most elaborate races and events. Discover which sites are offering the best odds and get expert tips here!

Horse Racing Betting Markets

In order to successfully place paid or free horse racing bets, you’ll also need to understand the various markets and wager types that are available online. Make no mistake; there’s a huge range of horse racing betting markets for you to navigate, from relatively straightforward win and each-way bets to so-called “exactas” and accumulator wagers. Each of these bets offer their own unique structures and value propositions, but which are the most popular in the Irish marketplace? Here’s our take!

Win Bet

As the name suggests, the ‘win bet’ simply requires you to back the winner of a particular race. This is essentially an even money wager, as your pick will either be successful and the wager will payout or they’ll finish lower than first and your stake will be lost.

Place Bets

Place wagers tend to pay out more often than win bets, as they reward you in instances where your selected runner finishes first, second, third or even lower in a particular race. Sportsbooks may pay out when your horse finishes fourth or fifth depending on the size of the competing field (or the impact of any extra places promotions that may be available), while your total return will be the same whether your pick places or finishes first.


While each-way bets are similar to place wagers, they comprise two bets rather than one. More specifically, an each-way wager sees you split a single stake between two potential outcomes. The first is for your chosen runner to win and the second is for them to place, and if your pick comes in, you’ll win both parts of the wager and bank the maximum return. If your horse places, you’ll receive an incremental payout based on the relevant odds.


With an exacta bet, you’ll select two horses to finish a particular race in first and second place. You’ll need to predict the precise orders that these runners will finish in too, and while the risk is higher here, this type of wager also unlocks significantly higher potential returns.


This is the extension of an exact bet, with this parimutuel wager requiring you to successfully predict which runners will finish first, second and third in a specific race. Once again, you’ll have to get the order exactly right for the wager to pay out, while the potential return here is even higher.

Straight Line

Structurally, a straight line forecast bet works in exactly the same way as an exacta, as you’ll have to wager on which horses will finish first and second in the correct order. However, an exacta is the tote equivalent of a straight forecast and draws potential winnings from a pool, while this typically delivers slightly higher returns over time.

Box Bets

A ‘box bet’ is similar to a trifecta, as you’ll have to predict the first three horses to cross the line in your chosen race. There’s a crucial distinction here, however, as a box bet covers all potential combinations and doesn’t require you to predict the order in which each runner will finish. This creates far greater margin for error, although the associated betting odds are shortened accordingly.

Roving Banker

This is a slightly more complex wager type, as you’ll have to designate a runner as your ‘Roving Banker’ and then select a fixed number of other horses to fill the remaining places. Your banker must then place, while any of your other selected runners will have to fill the remaining positions in any order. You can incorporate this wager type into exactas, trifectas, duets and first four bets.


At this stage, you’ve probably noticed that many of these wagers share similarities with one another. The same can be said for the ‘Swinger’, which involves betting on a pair of horses to finish in the top three positions in any order. If you’re betting on races of six or more confirmed runners, swinger wagers will be accepted by most sportsbooks, enabling you to pick two horses to finish first, second or third in any order.


Next up is the ‘Quartet’ bet, which challenges you to pick the first four runners to cross the line in a selected horse race. This task is made more difficult by the fact that you’ll have to predict the correct order too, although this wager can unlock huge returns if you’re able to stake your money successfully!

Accumulator Bet

With an accumulator bet, you’ll combine anywhere between four and 20 selections in a single wager. The odds of each potential outcome are then multiplied to create a single, extended price, enabling you to potential back a number of short price favourites at significantly enhanced odds. However, each of your selections will have to win if you’re bet is to prove successful (unless you have access to acca insurance, which will protect you in instances where one leg of your accumulator bet fails).

Place Accumulator

With a place accumulator, you’ll be required to predict the top three runners in at least seven races. The order in which the horses finish is not important, but once again, all of your picks must be accurate if you’re to receive a payout. This can be far more challenging than standard accumulator betting, due to the sheer number of variables and combinations in play.


This is another tote horse racing betting market, and one that requires you to pick the first six winners at a designated ‘Jackpot’ meeting. Of course, this is far easier said than done, but if your single betting line or permutation does ultimately win, you’ll earn a potentially huge payout from a sizeable pool of funds. You can often opt into this type of wager with a relatively small stake amount too.

Pick 6

This type of wager may also be made available at specific race meetings and high profile events such as the Cheltenham Festival. This requires you to select the winners of six consecutive races on a specific race day, often at sizable and prohibitive odds. Of course, the potential payouts here are also considerable, while they reflect the difficulty of predicting the winners of multiple races in succession.

Horse Racing Free Bets and Promotions

Regardless of your preferred festivals, betting markets or wager types, it’s wise to make the most of any free bets and welcome bonuses that you have access too. While free bets often come with minimum odds restrictions and wagering requirements, they translate into free play that can help to unlock bonus winnings and returns. You can create value by targeting the free bet offers with the lowest wagering requirements, while we’d urge you to review each bonuses T&Cs in full before committing your cash! Here’s a glimpse at the best free bet offers and exactly what they offer!

Bet €10,
get €40 free sports and casino bets
Matched deposit
up to €100
Up to
€30 free bets
Bet €10,
get €10 free bets
Bet €10,
get €30 free bets
Bet €10,
get €30 free bets
+ €10 casino bonus
Bet €10,
get €40 in free bets and 50 free spins on Free Spins on Fishin' Christmas Pots of Gold
Up to €40 back
if first bet loses
Bet €10,
get €30 free bets
Matched deposit
up to €100

Terms and conditions apply. All terms can be found on each bookmaker's respective website.

Our Horse Racing Betting Tips

Now it’s time for our horse racing betting tips, which can help you to formulate your wagering strategy and identify (or even create) value in published odds. Here’s five to keep in mind as you engage in horse racing betting online!

Study the Most Relevant Form

While ‘study the form’ is the most generic piece of sports betting advice you’ll ever receive, it’s important that you’re able to identify the datasets that are most relevant to your wager. For example, if you’re betting on the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup race, we’d recommend analysing each competing runner to see if they have experience at such a level. Look at how they fare over relevant distances and at specific racetracks too, as some runners may have an advantage depending on their speed, style and the nature of a particular course.

Evaluate Runner and Trainer Profiles

In addition to the form, pedigree and historical performance of each runner, there’s also value in appraising the potential impact of jockeys and trainers. It’s certainly worth noting that some trainers and jockeys perform particularly well at specific racecourses. For example, trainer William Haggas has seen 37 of his 177 runners win at Goodwood in the last five seasons, for a win-rate of 21% (50% of his horses have also placed during this time). This may offer a crucial insight into specific race outcomes, while some trainer/jockey combinations are also especially potent at certain tracks.

Analyse Odds

If you are able to determine dominant trainers or effective trainer/jockey combinations at specific racetracks, you may be able to identify optimal value in ante post odds. Of course, this also depends on your ability to effectively analyse odds in the first place, which also allows you to determine the best ante post prices and ultimately make the most informed selections too. Be sure to compare odds throughout the entire field ahead of a particular race, as there may be some horses who offer increased value as outside runners.

Consider the Conditions

When you study the form, you may see that some runners perform well at specific times of the year. This is usually due to how they fare in certain conditions, with the summer bringing good and good-to-firm ground and the winter introducing much softer going. By analysing a horse’s past performances, you may be able to gauge how they respond to different types of going, which will impact their chance of winning specific races going forward. So, be sure to factor this into your form and data analysis.

Use Free Bets and Quick Cash Outs

As you can see, you’ll have access to various free bet and promotional offers on your chosen sportsbook account, alongside similarly beneficial features such as acca insurance and quick cash outs. Leveraging one or a combination of these features can simultaneously boost your potential returns while minimising your risk of loss, while also affording you far greater control over your betting activity. As ever, be sure to check the terms and conditions of each bonus feature or offer, as this enables you to avoid any prohibitive wagering requirements or odds restrictions.


What Are the Best Horse Racing Events to Bet on?

There are a number of quality horse racing events that you can bet on throughout the year, and below you can find some of the best:

  • Grand National
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Cheltenham Festival
  • Royal Ascot
  • Glorious Goodwood
  • Galway Races

Can I Trust BetInIreland for Horse Racing Betting Sites?

Yes, you definitely can! We are a team of experts that put plenty of research into every review and guide that we produce. We will always tell the truth because we want what is best for our punters at the end of the day.

What Does Each-Way Mean in Horse Racing Betting?

With an each-way bet, what you are basically doing is placing two separate bets. The first one is for your chosen horse to win, and the second is for your selected horse to place. When I say place, it is usually for the top three, but this can vary depending on the bookmaker that you register with. The payout on offer for a place is usually 1/5 of the odds.

What Bookie is the Best for Horse Racing?

There are many quality bookmakers for betting on horse racing, and what is the best for one person, might not be the best for another. In my opinion, BoyleSports is the best for Irish punters, but other top sites include the likes of Mr. Green, Betsson, LeoVegas, Bwin, and Spreadex.

Lewis Humphries - Horse Racing Betting Expert and Tipster

about-author about-author

Lewis is an expert tipster and writer from the UK, who has a passion for sports betting across disciplines such as horse racing, football and boxing. He has written extensive guides and tips for numerous race meetings in the UK and Ireland, including the Grand National, Glorious Goodwood and Galway Races.

His wider content has also featured on a number of different sites, including Life Hack, Investopedia, Yahoo Finance and Business Insider. He also produces tips and insights into Premier League and Champions League matches, and has done throughout the 2023/24 season.