Can You Bet In-Play on Horse Racing?

Hooves of Horses During RaceAs you are probably aware, the meteoritic rise of in-play betting has completely changed the way many of us place our bets. In today’s competitive market, it is simply a must-have feature for any bookmaker and most have a strong commitment to covering a massive range of different live sports. The situation now is that very few sports are excluded from live betting but one major example is horse racing.

The combination of races being over in such a short period of time and horses constantly changing positions makes it difficult for bookmakers to offer live odds-on racing. The biggest issue however is that punters at the course will be able to receive information faster than the bookmakers do. Binocular-donning spectators will be able to see a runner fall several seconds before this information is fed back to the bookies. This gives them a small window in which they have the upper hand as they are privy to information that has not yet been reflected in the available odds.

Despite this, it is possible to place in-play horse racing betting through betting exchanges, the Betfair Exchange being the most well-known example. As it is only offered via the exchange, it is not the bookmaker (Betfair) providing the odds; instead, it is punters staking money against each other with Betfair acting as the intermediary. Although Betfair were the first to offer live horse racing betting, other exchange websites do exist and also permit in-play horse racing betting.

How Does In-Play Betting Work?

Open Horse Race Starting Gates

No matter which exchange you use for in-play horse race betting, they all work in the same way. Throughout a given horse race, you will have the opportunity to back or lay any of the available selections. Be prepared to witness a volatile set of prices as they will change rapidly. There is no need to refresh your page though as all updates will occur automatically without you needing to click anything.

Exchange betting does not quite work in the same way as it does when betting directly with a bookmaker but we will not go into the details of it here (it requires a full article by itself). We will just point out that you will just need to click on the odds of your desired selection, choosing to back or lay, and then enter your stake and odds.

Although it is true in other sports, timing is ever so crucial when betting in-play on the thoroughbred action. You have to be able to process information quickly as the price on the horse you are looking at could go substantially up or down. If you predict that a horse deep into the pack will finish with aplomb, you are most likely better off holding off until the latter stages, just before the jockey launches an attack. Conversely, if you know that the horse who has darted into an early lead relishes taking charge and regularly makes all, you should get in there quick before the price begins to drop.

How Much Do The Odds Change?

To give you an example of how the odds can change throughout a race, we have taken the odds from a two-mile, four-furlong race at Uttoxeter featuring 15 fences.

Chart That Shows the Fluctuation in Odds During a Race at Uttoxeter on the 14th June 2021

This was by no means an unusual or topsy turvy race but you can still see that the odds shift significantly as the contest progressed. Neville’s Cross was travelling strongly from the off and this caused his odds to drop from 6.4 to 4.1 to 2.44. The initial favourite, Yccs Portocervo, looked to be off the pace a touch through the middle section but did find a second wind which garnered some market support. In the closing stages, it was also clear that some horses had no chance whatsoever hence the long odds on Dr Sanderson and Brelan Das.

As it was, the live market got this one largely right with Neville’s Cross a comfortable winner in the end trailed by Yccs Portocervo in second. The late flutters on Siannes Star however proved misplaced as he finished more than 10 lengths off the pace.

Can I Bet In-Play On All Horse Races?

Blue Globe and Clock ButtonFor British customers, you should find that your available exchanges cover all UK and Irish races, both flat and National Hunt. Outside of this, the selection varies across websites. Some sites do a little extra whereas others will cover races that take place in the likes of France, Japan, Australia, USA, and others.

Although races of all distances do feature, do not expect the market to shift massively in a five-furlong sprint as there is simply not that much time for people to place bets. Jump racing is most likely to see the biggest movement because not only are the races longer, leading to some horses fading away, but the fences/hurdles can force costly mistakes. Also, if a favourite falls in a jumps races, for instance, this will have a big impact on the odds of the other runners.

Do Streaming Delays Affect Betting In-Play?

Blue Web Browser Play Button

To really make the most of in-play horse race betting you need to be watching the action as it can provide you with much valuable information. Even listening to it can be insightful too although it is unlikely to be as useful as a live stream. Whether listening or watching though, you will inevitably be at least a few seconds behind the action. This is not done on purpose, it simply takes time for any audio or video stream to reach your device. Exactly how long is impossible to say though as it will depend on several different factors.

Also, for horse racing, you should expect a delay of  about four or five seconds before your bet is accepted although it can vary slightly depending on the site you use.

Do I Need a Fast Internet Connection to Bet In-Play on Horse Racing?

You might be able to get by with a slow connection but your experience is likely to suffer as a result. In-play horse race betting all happens so quickly that you really need to have your finger on the pulse at all times. If you find yourself on a slow connection you will be receiving the odds updates with a time delay and this can only work against you. It may also be the case that you struggle to watch any accompanying live stream.

Which Site is Best For In-Play Horse Race Betting?

Betfair Exchange Horse Racing Betting

The Betfair Exchange has long been the leading name for exchange betting and in many ways, it is easy to understand why. They have a fantastic, well-established reputation, high levels of customer support and they usually provide a range of additional markets such as top-two finish or top-four finish. Our only issue with Betfair is that the user interface looks rather outdated.