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Best Australian horse racing betting sites in 2024

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Reviewed by Elena I.

Horse racing is the #1 preferred sport to bet on in Australia — we’re here to show you where to find the best odds.

We’re going to take a dive into sport betting horse racing and look at the top Australian and international races, as well as what makes the best Australian horse racing site. 

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Horse racing betting site — popular races and where to bet on them 

When you start horse betting Australia, you’ll find that there are hundreds of Australian horse races available. Take a look at some of the top races below and which sites offer the best bet types across different race categories. 

League /eventTop betting siteMarkets
Melbourne Cupbet365 sportsbookWinner
Caulfield CupPlayUp sportsbookPlace
Victoria DerbyUnibet sportsbookWinner
W.S Cox PlateColossal Bet sportsbookEach-way

Top events for betting on horse racing

As mentioned, there are some top horse racing events to consider in the Australian horse racing calendar. Getting to grips with these races is a good way to know where to place your bets later on.

  • Horse Racing

    Melbourne Cup

    One of the biggest races in Australian online horse racing betting, the Melbourne Cup always takes place on a Tuesday in November. The race is held for three-year-olds and older. It’s also a handicap race and takes place over 3,200 metres on turf. 

  • Horse Racing

    Caulfield Cup

    Held at the Melbourne Racing Club, this is a Group 1 race with handicap conditions though it is in the process of being changed to weight for age instead. It’s for all horses three years and older. The race takes place on a left-handed track in October and over a complete distance of 2,400 metres. 

  • Horse Racing

    Victoria Derby

    Just like the Melbourne Cup, the Victoria Derby is held in November. Also known as the Penfolds Victoria Derby this is a Group 1 race for three-year-olds only. It’s got set weight conditions and covers a 2,500 metre distance. 

  • Horse Racing

    WS Cox Plate

    Another prestigious race, the WS Cox Plate is a Group 1 race for any horse that’s three or older. Like some other races, it is also a weight for age race. It’s the shortest race of the top ones listed here at just 2,040 metres. The race takes place in Melbourne on a left-handed track in October. 

How to choose the best betting sites for horse racing

Picking betting sites horse racing can be hard. This is why we rate each site based on specific criteria. Follow our criteria below, see if you agree with our ratings or use these criteria to find the best place to play yourself. 

A magnifying glass hovering over a checklist with a light bulb and a horseshoe icon

Races and events

When choosing where to start your online horse racing betting journey, the first thing you need to look at is the number of horse racing betting markets on offer. The best racing betting sites will have races from around the world, not just Australia.  There are some betting sites for horse racing in Australia that only focus on AU or NZ races. While this is good, it does result in a lower score as there are simply not enough options to make the experience a great one. 

A calculator with monetary elements in the backgound

Horse betting odds

When online horse betting Australia, you need to be able to access the best odds. These are always fluctuating, so to check them we look at the payout percentages provided by each site. The best horse betting site should have a payout percentage of at least 95%.  Sites that have a 97% payout rate are considered excellent by us. However, should a site only have an average payout percentage rate of 93% or less, then we do not recommend playing here. Typically though, odds for Australian horse racing are good across the board even on betting apps.

A jockey riding a horse along with a red medal and a trophy

Bet types and markets

We also want to see an array of different bet types and markets on offer. In fact, the top sites shouldn’t just offer horse racing betting markets, but also greyhound racing and harness racing options as well for a well-rounded sportsbook.  Australian horse betting sites that have a limited number of races, or do not give you all the different bet options will get a lower score. Essentially, we want to see traditional bets as well as exotics available for all players. 

WiFi signal and a mobile phone with a green checkmark

Live betting

New horse betting sites Australia are renowned for offering extra betting options to make the experience a good one. In fact, for a top score, we expect there to be live betting available for most of the races, something we mention in our bookmaker reviews.  If there is no live betting sites or streaming available, then we’re going to give the betting site a lower score. However, if there is live streaming and betting for some, but not all races, then we will give an average score here. 

Money elements and a jockey riding a horse

<strong><strong>Bonuses on horse betting</strong></strong>

As Australia cannot advertise bonuses, we cannot do so either here. However, if you do start online horse racing betting, the first thing you should do is sign up to a site. Once you are signed up, you will be able to see its offers and promotions.  Typically, these include things like free bets on different betting options. You should be able to check these both in the horse racing betting app and the main desktop site if these types of racing offers are available to you. 

Mobile phone and a laptop screen showing a jockey riding a horse with cash elements in the background

Horse race betting apps

As we all use our phones a lot, it’s important for there to be sports betting apps available from the site you join. The best horse betting app should match the desktop interface exactly, offering the same bets, markets, odds and so on.  Poor betting apps do not match the main site and will be glitchy and hard to navigate through. Additionally, if we find that apps are missing out on top features such as live betting, we’re also going to score it down. 

A tablet showing a menu layout

Betting features

When you start online horse racing betting, it’s good to have access to extra features. We’ve talked about live betting and streaming, but we also like to see things like racing tips, form and blogs from horse racing betting experts.  Seeing all or a combination of these features will result in us awarding a higher score to the sportsbook. However, if there are no racing previews provided or a lack of horse racing betting tips, then we will give the site a lower score overall. 

A laptop screen with a distinctive layout

Usability

It doesn’t matter if a site or app has all the features and horse races you could imagine, if the usability of the site is poor, we’re going to give a worse score to the sportsbook. To get a high score, we want a simple, effective design and layout.  All menus should be clearly accessible with no broken links. Sport filters and a search bar are a must for easy navigation. Bonus points go to those sites that have a dark mode or darker theme. Sites that don’t offer all of these user-friendly features get marked down. 

A handshake and an illustrated horseshoe

Overall experience

Finally, we also look at the site as a whole. Top betting sites should have at least 30 other sports on offer. We also want to make sure they are fully licenced and offer responsible gambling tools such as access to the National Gambling Helpline.  Other features that help a bookie to get high scores include having at least 10 sports betting payments, having responsive 24/7 customer support and good player reviews. If a site doesn’t have a licence, has fewer than 4 payment options and offers limited support, we’re scoring it down. 

Horse racing bets by type

It’s very important to get to grips with all the different Australian horse bets on offer. Each one has a different probability of its likelihood of winning. Because of this, understanding the differences is key when you start betting online.

  • horse racing icon

    Win

    Choosing which horse will be the winner of the race outright. If the horse comes second, the bet will not be paid out. 

  • horse racing icon

    Place

    This is simply betting on a horse to finish in one of the places to get a race prize. Depending on the race this can mean finishing in the top two, three or even four. 

  • horse racing icon

    Each Way

    This is a good option for new bettors as it means the horse can come first or second (sometimes even third) and the bet will payout. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come first, your bet will still win. 

  • horse racing icon

    Exacta

    This is a bet type when you combine the two horses that finish first and second into the same bet. You have to pick two horses for this bet but importantly, they have to finish in the order you predicted they would on your bet slip if you are to win. 

  • horse racing icon

    Trifecta

    Just like the exacta, the trifecta requires you to predict the place of each horse very specifically. However, instead of just the first two horses, for the trifecta, you need to accurately predict the top three horses. 

  • horse racing icon

    Quinella

    Here you need to choose which two horses will be first and second. However, the order is not important for the bet to win. 

  • horse racing icon

    First four

    Choose four horses to finish the race in the exact order that you list them. 

How to bet on horse racing 

You’ve come this far, so the next step is to actually get started on one of the many horse racing betting websites out there. To help you out, we’ve got the main steps for betting on both old and new betting sites. Follow these steps and get up and running in no time. 

A finger pointing to a menu on a mobile phone screen

Research

Pick from our list of horse racing betting websites. Each of these sites has been carefully checked to make sure they have a range of different horse racing bet options, a good horse betting app and are fully licenced in Australia.

Thumbs up next to a mobile phone screen

Sign up

Choose your preferred site and then click on register. Fill out the form providing all the different personal details. Then, confirm your account and go through any KYC or verification processes.

Money being put in a wallet

Head to the banking section

Look in the cashier section and find the payment method that suits your needs. Then make a deposit meeting the minimum and maximum requirements of the betting site. 

A tablet displaying a jockey riding his horse along with stats charts in the background

Check the horse racing betting options

With your account up and running, look at the list of races and check which Australian racing event you want to place a bet on. Select the bet type and the horse.

Thumbs up next to a mobile phone

Place a bet

Confirm the bet in the bet slip and see if you’re going to win. 

Additional horse betting tips

If you’re going to get into online horse racing betting, then you need to be able to make informed decisions when you place a racing bet. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of top horse racing betting tips below. 

  1. Do your research by checking out horse racing betting tips and guides.
  2. Learn about the track surface and which horse runs better on which ground.
  3. Look at the weather before placing a racing bet.
  4. Spread your bets across different horses in a single race to maximise your chances.
  5. Search for the best racing odds.
  6. Make a budget and keep to it.
  7. Pick a horse race type and learn all about it.

Horse racing betting sites — pros and cons 

As we’ve discussed, horse racing is very popular in Australia which means that there are a lot of pros to consider when you start playing. For instance, horse racing punters can access a vast array of races very quickly and easily. 

However, horse racing punters do need to be careful as there are some pitfalls in place when you engage in racing bets such as Melbourne Cup betting. Take a look below so that you’re aware of all of these before you start. 

  • One of the top sports in Australia 
  • Wide array of bet types 
  • Multiple events per day 
  • Excellent odds 
  • Very easy to lose money 
  • Extremely luck-based

Horse racing betting alternatives

We know that horse racing isn’t for everyone. With that in mind, we’ve listed a couple of alternative sports commonly found on Australian betting sites that might pique your interest instead. These sports offer a wide array of bet types too and can be fun to watch in their own right.

  • Cricket paddle and ball

    Cricket

    Two teams of eleven that take turns batting.

  • Rugby

    Rugby Leauge

    Fast-paced contact sport with 15 players per team. 

  • Soccer ball

    Football

    Popular sport involving two teams of 11 kicking a ball.

Horse racing betting glossary

When it comes to betting on horses, one of the best horse racing betting tips we can give you is to get to grips with the terminology. You will come across a wide variety of racing terms which we’ve outlined here. 

  • Abandoned — A cancelled race due to bad weather 
  • All The Way Win — Winning horse that leads throughout the race 
  • All-weather — A track that’s made of substrate that isn’t weather-dependant 
  • Ante-post — Wager placed before the horse race is declared 
  • Banker — A certainty to win 
  • Classic — Grade 1 race for three-year-olds 
  • Draw — Position of the horse in the race, refers to the starting position box 
  • Form — The record of the horse in previous races and ground conditions 
  • Handicap — Races where horses carry extra weight to equal out the field 
  • Non-runner — A horse withdrawn after it was declared for a race 
  • Outsider — A horse considered to have no chance to win 
  • Pulled up — Didn’t finish the race 
  • Racecard — Racing schedule 
  • Weighed in — Weighing process before and after the race to ensure no weight is lost

FAQs

Which is the best betting site for horse racing? 

It’s hard for us to give the definitive best online horse betting site as everyone has different preferences. However, there are some key attributes that help make a site the best. These include sites that offer a variety of Australian racing events, in play betting options, top horse racing odds and so on.

Where can I bet on Australian horse racing? 

As horse racing is a strong part of Australian culture, there are many different online horse betting sites for you to join. Depending on what you’re looking for in your horse racing bookmaker, you can play at sites like Ladbrokes, bet365 or Dabble. Take a look at our list of the best Australian horse racing sites.

What are the best bets in horse racing?

There are a number of top horse racing bets available but which is the best one really does depend on your preferences. For instance, you can bet on the outright winner of an event or the each way bet, which gives you a better chance at a win. Alternatively, you can pick more complex racing bets such as exactas or trifectas.

What are the safest bets for horse racing?

There are a wide array of different horse racing bets available, and none of them are especially safe. However, if you want to give yourself the best option at not losing, then picking the each-way bet is a good choice. This means that your chosen horse just has to be placed for your bet to win, not win the horse race entirely.

How do I bet on horse racing? 

If you want to bet on Australian horse racing, then the first step is to join one of the many online racing betting sites available. Simply take a look at the online horse betting sites we have listed here, choose one and click on the register button. Fill out all the required information, confirm your account, deposit and get betting.

Sources

  1. https://www.horseracinginfo.com.au/australian-group-1-races.php 
  2. https://www.racenet.com.au/melbourne-cup/
  3. https://www.vrc.com.au/

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