Horse racing is a way of life for a lot of people in Ireland with licenced racecourses across the country. With the sport having such close links to gambling, it is, therefore, no surprise at all that horse racing betting is so popular in Ireland.
But, if you want to gamble on horse racing without having to go to a racecourse, you will need to go online. Players from Ireland can legally access some of the world's best online horse racing betting sites while depositing and betting using Euros.
You can also place horse racing bets in a brick and mortar betting shop, but with online bookmakers being fully 100% legal to use in Ireland, the internet is the best way for a lot of horse racing fans in Ireland to have a bet on the big race of the day.
However, selecting a sportsbook to use can be a challenge as there are dozens of different sports betting sites out there. They all claim to be elite when it comes to horse racing betting in Ireland, but which of them actually have an edge over the competition?
To help Irish racing fans decide which bookmakers they ought to join, we have put together this complete guide to horse racing betting in Ireland. Read on for everything that you need to know.
Let's kick things off with the best horse racing betting sites in Ireland. There are countless bookmakers and sportsbooks available in Ireland where horse racing is an option. However, in our view it is these 10 online sports betting sites that are the best for horse racing in Ireland:
Bet365 is the world's largest online bookmaker, so, unsurprisingly, its sportsbook is so strong for horse betting in Ireland. There are probably more ante-post horse racing markets to pick from at Bet365 than any other site, while live streaming is available on the site as well.
Horse racing's popularity has seen bet365 build a comprehensive racing product. You will find a wide range of horse racing events across the world each day, and bet to watch live streams on select events.
Also, bet365 offers Antepost (bet before racing course betting market has opened) on 100's of popular horse racing events around the world including Cheltenham, The Grand National and many more.
Best Odds Guaranteed - Place a bet on any horse race and if your selection wins and the SP (starting price) is greater you will get paid out at higher odds.
bet365 offers horse racing events from these countries:
Rivalling bet365 for the honour of the best horse racing betting site in Ireland is Paddy Power. Those who want to make the most of generous sign-up promotions and offers for existing customers should certainly think about signing up to get a Paddy Power account right now.
Although Paddy Power is mostly known for its "banter", it also has a great online sportsbook and betting app for players from Ireland. The horse racing section is comprehensive with a large range of events available in the UK, Ireland and international races.
Also, you can watch every race from the UK and Ireland for free using Paddy Power's racing live streaming feature.
Paddy Power offers horse racing from these countries:
If you are looking for the best free live streaming horse racing betting site, William Hill is the bookie for you. You can listen to William Hill Radio for free live racing commentary, or watch William Hil Betting TV for 100's of free horse racing streams each month.
Special promotions are also available on horse racing at William Hill. This bookmaker provides extra place races regularly, helping fans of the sport to make a profit out of their wagers.
William Hill offers horse racing from these countries:
Next up is Unibet, a mobile-friendly horse racing betting site that is up there with the best in Ireland. Among the reasons that Unibet is so highly recommended is that the bookmaker has great live streaming when it comes to horse racing, plus markets for dozens of other sports.
Unibet also offers a wide range of racing events and markets covering horse racing, greyhounds and Harness horse racing in the "Racing" section of the Unibet sportsbook.
You will find 200+ races each day from racecourses all around the world and live streaming on select races from UK & Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Dubai, USA, Chile and more. But, there are no horse racing events from India available on Unibet.
Unibet offers racing from these countries:
Horse racing fans who are looking for the best odds in the business absolutely have to join BoyleSports. This bookmaker is prized in the industry for its generous prices, while the apps they have created for mobile devices are excellent as well. BoyleSports offers are great too.
BoyleSports offers a bit less horse racing events than the top two, but you will still find a great range of racing events available each day. You can also get access to live horse racing streams, but only for the UK and Irish horse racing.
If you are looking for horse racing betting tips, be sure to check out the BoyleSports tips for the latest racing news, specials and horse racing betting tips.
BoyleSports offers horse racing from these countries:
Although quite a new betting site compared to a lot of the other top horse racing betting sites in Ireland, Quinnbet is rapidly developing a reputation as a site to watch. The great Quinnbet mobile betting app is a joy to use and the bookmaker's odds for the sport tend to be high as well.
Quinnbet's website is still a bit messy compared to the top betting sites in this list, but, it is still okay to use and they have recently added unique horse racing promotions and live streaming.
QuinnBet offers horse racing from these countries:
Live streaming is a must for horse racing fans, with BetVictor certainly delivering in this area. Often, the best prices for the big race of the day can be found on the BetVictor sportsbook too.
Great sign-up bonuses are among a long list of reasons why any horse racing fanatic should have a Betfair account. Plenty of mobile betting apps are available to Betfair customers, while the chance to use the bookmaker's exchange facility adds another dimension to customers.
Ante-post markets are widely available at Betfred, so anyone seeking odds for a race that is a few weeks or months away should make sure they have an account with this online bookmaker.
Rounding off our list of the best horse racing betting sites in Ireland is 888 Sport, which like a lot of modern online sportsbooks has an online casino attached as well. High betting odds for the big races on the slate can usually be found on the 888 Sports site as well.
Odds are crucial when selecting horse racing bookmakers in Ireland. Though a small difference in prices might feel insignificant, anyone placing a lot of bets will see it all soon mounts up.
Choosing horse racing bookmakers with the best racing odds is therefore the key, with those that offer promotions such as Best Odds Guaranteed particularly of interest.
BOG deals guarantee that backers will get the best price available, with Bet365 and Paddy Power among the bookmakers in Ireland that have a Best Odds Guaranteed promotion.
Here are the top horse racing bookmakers with the best racing odds in Ireland:
While a lot of racing fans pick their selections on the day, others prefer to plan in advance.
Ante-post markets, therefore, need to be offered by horse racing bookmakers in Ireland, with Bet365 known in the industry for arguing a deeper selection than most online bookmakers. Alternatively, BoyleSports also has a decent array of ante-post betting markets to pick from.
Here are our picks for the horse racing bookmakers with the best ante-post market selection:
Not all racing is available to watch live on television, making live streams hugely important. Anyone who has had a bet on a big race wants to be able to watch it live to feel the thrill and see if they are going to have a winning wager, after all.
Some online bookmakers need users to have a funded account in order to access their live streams, while others require account holders to place a bet on the race to be able to watch it.
Here are the top horse racing bookmakers in Ireland with the best horse racing live streams:
With so much competition out there it is special promotions, deals, bonuses and offers that the best betting sites in Ireland use in a bid to attract people to sign up with them and place bets.
The top bookmakers do not just aim these deals at new users. They also have a suite of special offers and promotions in place in order to reward the loyalty of their existing customers.
Some of the best special deals for horse racing include Best Odds Guaranteed and these are our selections for the top horse racing bookmakers in Ireland for this department.
Horse racing is global so there is usually a race to bet on taking place somewhere in the world, regardless of the time of the day or night, but this is not always the case.
Virtual horse racing, therefore, becomes a viable alternative that some sports fans might opt to choose when they login to their favourite online betting sites.
As well as virtual horse racing, some sites offer various other virtual sports, including football.
Our favourite horse racing bookmakers in Ireland for virtual horse racing bets are as follows:
As we have mentioned, Best Odds Guaranteed is among the top horse racing offers that is available from horse racing bookmakers in Ireland.
This promotion means horse racing fans do not have to shop around for the best price, as they will get it anyway as a result of how this bonus works.
Best Odds Guaranteed is not offered by all bookmakers, though, with some choosing to try to provide value to their customers in a different way.
Our picks for the top horse racing bookmakers in Ireland that offer Best Odds Guaranteed are:
After selecting a bookmaker for horse racing betting, it is necessary to understand the different markets available. As with other sports, there is an awful lot of choice out there.
But perhaps horse racing is unique in the world of sport in the sheer amount of confusing terminology surrounding types of bets.
In order to help newcomers to get their heads around the jargon, here are some of the most common racing betting options - and what they are:
While horse racing takes place virtually all year round - at least somewhere in the world - there are a few major events in the sport's annual calendar when it comes to betting.
Here are the popular horse racing events to bet on in Ireland:
Running in March every year, the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the sporting calendar for a lot of horse racing fans. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the highlight of the meeting, which has a strong Irish flavour as a result of its proximity to Saint Patrick's Day. Other big races that take place at the Festival include the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle. Hundreds of millions of euros are bet on the festival each year.
For casual horse racing fans, the Grand National is the most famous race of the year. Known around the world for being particularly chaotic, two laps of the Aintree racecourse provides a test of endurance. The first Grand National was run 181 years ago, so this is one of the longest-running horse races around. It is estimated that 500 million people watch the race each year.
Royal Ascot is famous for its links to royalty, along with a unique sense of pageantry. Considered by many to be Britain's most valuable race meeting, Royal Ascot sees about 500 horses race over the course of five days of action. The highlight of the meeting is the Gold Cup.
Britain's richest horse race is the Epsom Derby, a race that is often called the "Blue Riband" of the turf. It is also thought of as the most prestigious of the five Classics. The Epsom Derby is typically scheduled to be run on the first Saturday of June each year.
For horse racing purists, Glorious Goodwood is up there with the Cheltenham Festival. Officially named the 'Qatar Goodwood Festival' for sponsorship reasons, the meeting is held in late July. Top races that take place within Glorious Goodwood include the Stewards' Cup, the Nassau Stakes, the Goodwood Cup and the Sussex Stakes.
Moving on to events that take place in Ireland, Punchestown Festival definitely makes the cut for the best horse racing events to bet on for Irish racing fans. Punchestown Festival - held annually in April - has a similar format to the Cheltenham Festival. Key races of the meeting include the Punchestown Gold Cup, the Champion Chase and the Champion Hurdle.
One of the top Irish races of the year, the Irish Derby, takes place within the Curragh Irish Derby Festival. Taking place three weeks after the Epsom Derby, a number of horses have won the double of claiming first place in both races.
Galway Races Summer Festival is among the highlights of the social calendar for horse racing fans in Ireland. Taking place at the end of July, the meeting tends to be attended by around 150,000 people every year. The historic Galway Plate, which is worth €200,000, is a highlight.
Racing fans from around Ireland also love to head to Listowel Harvest Festival, a seven-day meeting that is without a doubt the autumn highlight of the Irish racing calendar.
Each June, Irish racing fans get excited about the Down Royal Ulster Derby, which was established in 1936. One of the top racing events of the year in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Derby is the country's most valuable flat race and has never been won by the same horse more than once, though jockey Tommy Murphy rode the winner on four occasions in his career.
Leopardstown Christmas Festival is a must-attend festive event for a lot of Irish racing fans. With a number of Grade 1 races over the course of four days of top-class action, the festival is a great way to finish off Christmas. There is usually over €1 million in prize money up for grabs.
Claimed to be held at the most scenic racecourse in Ireland, anyone who has been to Killarney Spring Festival will certainly find it hard to argue with that assessment. But those who cannot attend will find it just as enjoyable to have a bet on the top races via a leading online bookmaker.
September sees what many believe to be Ireland's greatest racing event: the Longines Irish Champions Weekend. Taking place over two days - one at Leopardstown and one at The Curragh, the event includes the Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes on day one. Day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend has a stacked schedule including the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the Moyglare Stud Stakes, the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.
Wrapping things up is the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, which as the name suggests is held at Easter weekend each year. The BoyleSports Irish Grand National is the key race of the meeting, which also hosts the Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa Most Stylish Lady competition.
Each bookmaker has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to horse racing. These might be the value of their odds, their range of ante-post markets and if they have live streaming. But there are about 10 betting sites we can highly recommend for horse racing betting in Ireland, which are as follows: Bet365, Paddy Power, Unibet, BoyleSports, William Hill, Quinnbet, BetVictor, Betfair, Betfred, 888 Sport.
Nap is a term used in tipping in the sport of horse racing. It refers to the most confident selection of the day - a horse that is great value and has a fantastic chance of winning their race. Of course, there are never any guarantees that a nap will win. Like all sports, horse racing is enjoyed due to how unpredictable it can be. But a nap is always worth taking note of.
The Trixie bet means four bets on three different selections are combined into one wager. This is made up of three doubles and a treble. If only one of the horses wins, then a Trixie bet is a loser. But if two out of the three horses win their races, a Trixie will pay out some return to the punter.
Popular due to the fact it offers the chance to win a life-changing amount of money at small stakes, a placepot in horse racing is a type of bet commonly used by fans of the sport. Winning the placepot involves selecting a horse that is going to place in the first six races at any UK, Irish or selected international meeting on the calendar.
Any winning bet has to be the best bet in horse racing! But there is no doubt that some types of horse racing bets are a lot more appealing than the others that are available on sportsbooks. Singles can be the best horse racing bet due to their simplicity, but others might prefer an accumulator style wager such as a Lucky 15 or a Lucky 31 in order to chase a big win.
Many bookmakers offering horse racing odds in Ireland have a special offer that needs to be noted: Best Odds Guaranteed. This promotion does exactly what the name suggests. If a player places a bet on a horse with a particular bookmaker and it wins, they will match the best odds available at any other site. Best Odds Guaranteed - or BOG for short - is, therefore, one of the best horse racing offers. Fans of the sport should try to use a bookmaker that offers BOG for horse racing in Ireland.