Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in South Africa

Compare the best South African betting sites for horse racing and read our horse racing betting guide below.

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Last updated 2023/05/22

Best SA Horse Racing Betting Sites (2024)

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Online Horse Racing Betting From SA

Horse racing has long been one of the most popular sports for betting in South Africa, along with the likes of football, cricket, rugby, golf and tennis.

With daily meetings taking place all over the world, including right here in South Africa, there is virtually almost always some horse racing to bet on in one corner of the planet or another.

Many of the top sports betting sites in South Africa also have special bonuses and promotions for horse racing, such as first past the post rules or even best odds guaranteed offers.

Those who are not experienced with horse racing betting in South Africa might be unsure of how to get started, though, especially as there are so many strong options out there for sites to join.

The legal situation regarding online gambling in South Africa can also be difficult for people to understand, so it is important to know whether or not horse racing betting is fully legal in SA.

For everything, you need to know to get up and running with placing wagers on the sport of kings, read on for our complete horse racing betting guide for players from South Africa.


#1 Best Horse Racing Betting Site

Arguably the top betting brand in South Africa, Hollywoodbets has close ties to horse racing as the company sponsors both the Greyville and Scottsville racecourses in South Africa. Fans of the sport of kings will love Hollywoodbets as it hosts a blog that covers a lot of horse racing news, as well as publishing analysis and tips too.

Virtual horse racing is available here as well, while special promotions at this bookie include the Hollywoodbets Punters Challenge, a bonus that offers a share of R10,000 at every race meeting that takes place at either Hollywoodbets Greyville or Hollywoodbets Scottsville.


#2 Best Horse Racing Betting Site

Without a doubt one of the best horse racing bookmakers in South Africa, Betway is famous around the world as a result of the company being the primary sponsor of West Ham United in England's Premier League.

While horse racing is global - so there is almost always a race on somewhere - Betway is one of the online SA bookies to offer virtual horse racing to bet on as well.

This is offered as part of the popular Jika Sports betting feature which has a new event happening every six minutes and also includes soccer as well as virtual horse racing.

World Sports Betting

#4 Best Horse Racing Betting Site

Completing our selections of the top online bookmakers in South Africa for horse racing betting is World Sports Betting. At WSB, South African racing is prominent but there are also meetings from locations like France, the UK and Ireland to bet on here too.

Horse racing promotions offered by World Sports Betting include stakes being refunded as a free bet in the event of a horse falling in a jump race, while WSB users in SA also get a refund as a free bet if their selection wins but is stripped of their victory as a result of an objection.

Betting on Horse Racing in South Africa

South Africa has more tightly restrictive gambling rules and regulations than most countries in the world, but what is the situation for horse racing these days? The sport of kings has actually enjoyed special privileges when it comes to the legality of gambling in South Africa.

Indeed, until the year 1996, horse racing betting at on-track bookmakers was the only legal form of gambling in the country, leaving sports fans with extremely limited options for legal betting.

Nowadays, all online sports betting is fully legal in South Africa. This means it is 100% legal to bet on horse racing through internet-based operators, as well as on all other sports. Phumelela Gaming and Leisure Limited and Gold Circle control horse racing betting in SA.

Horse racing fans are reminded that other forms of online gambling, including bingo or casino games such as slots, are not permitted in South Africa under the country's current laws. The National Gaming Board has stated anyone found gambling online illegally could be prosecuted.

Research has found horse racing betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling in South Africa. A study has even found that there was 11.5% participation in horse racing betting in the country. Top racecourses in South Africa for horse racing betting include Greyville, Vaal, Scottsville, Fairview and Kenilworth, as well as Durbanville, Flamingo Park and Turffontein.

Anyone who has never bet on horse racing before in their lives might have no idea about what they need to do, though, so check out our beginners guide for how to bet on horse racing next.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing can be quite overwhelming for newcomers. There are a lot of different terms and various pieces of betting jargon to understand, but luckily the basics are quite simple.

At its heart, betting on horse racing is the same as other sports, with users just having to predict the outcome of a race. Basic bets are for the horse to win the race, but there are plenty of other options too. As with other bets, players make their selections, set a stake and confirm the bet.

On many of the best online sports betting sites in South Africa, users who have a funded account have the chance to follow the action via live streaming. Sometimes these streams will only be accessible to those who have placed an eligible bet on the race in question, however.

Like other sports such as football, horse racing accumulators are very popular too. This is due to the fact that this type of bet can offer massive potential profits for a relatively low stake. The flip side is that they are extremely hard to win - bookmakers make a lot of money from accas.

Each-way betting is also very popular for horse racing fans in South Africa. In each way betting, users can make money if their selection does not win the race, but does finish in a place.

The terms for each way betting depends on a range of factors, like the number of runners and riders, as well as the online sports betting site that is being used.

An example of each way terms and conditions could be 1/4 the odds for a top-four finish. This means a horse at 40/1 that finishes third would get a place and the each-way section of that bet would be paid out at 10/1. Each way accumulators are also possible and these are a good option for horse racing betting in SA too.

Starting price - shortened to SP in most cases - is one of the jargon terms that horse racing fans will need to learn before they begin to bet online. The SP is the odds offered for the horse when the race starts. As with other sports, horse racing prices are often in a state of flux. A user might make their selection at a price of 8/1, only for the odds to drift out to 12/1 before the race starts. It is often possible to select whether a bet is placed at the SP, or the odds available at that time.

Best odds guaranteed (BOG) is a widely available horse racing promotion at many of the best online bookmakers in South Africa. This bonus does what the name suggests, offering players the top odds available anywhere for their selection.

For example, if a user at Hollywoodbets places their bet on a horse at 15/1, but the bookie has a BOG offer and the horse is offered at 20/1 elsewhere - and it wins - then a customer will be paid out their winnings at the higher price.

Something else it is important to note in any beginners guide for how to bet on horse racing is the rules regarding first past the post. The horse that crosses the line first does not always win, as results can be subject to a steward's inquiry if the jockey is deemed to have broken the rules.

Some bookies payout on first past the post, meaning if a horse wins and is later demoted as a result of the inquiry, anyone who backed it to win will still get their wager paid out by the bookie.

Horse Racing Betting Options in South Africa

Perhaps more than any other sport available to bet on through the internet in South Africa, horse racing has a huge number of options in terms of both betting markets and bet types.

While it is possible to just place a single wager on a horse to win a race, plenty of fans of the sport of kings like to go a little bit deeper by placing bets such as accumulators or a lucky 15. Keeping track of all of the many different betting markets and bet types for horse racing can be something of a challenge as a result, but it is not too tricky to learn about the various jargon.

For example, the term Trixie might be baffling on the face of it but this type of horse racing bet simply refers to a wager with three selections and four bets. It is made up of three doubles and a treble, with a user then needing at least two of their horses to win in order to receive a return.

A lucky 15, meanwhile, has 15 different bets as the name suggests, comprising: four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator. Complicating matters even further is the fact a lucky 15 bet in horse racing can also be placed each way, therefore doubling the stake. It is also possible to place a lucky 31 or even a lucky 63, which pushes up the stake even higher.

Another common type of multiple horse racing bet in South Africa is a Heinz, which is named that way due to the fact it offers 57 bets: 15 doubles, 20 trebles and 15 four-folds, as well as another six five-folds and finally one six-fold accumulator. A Super Heinz goes even further with a huge 120 bets involved, starting off with 21 doubles, 35 trebles and 35 four-folds, as well as another 21 five-folds, seven six-folds and wrapping it up with one seven-fold accumulator.

Most of the above wagers are a type of accumulator, but there are plenty of other options to pick from at the top horse racing betting sites in South Africa as well as accas. For example, in SA a forecast bet involves picking the top two finishers in a race, while a reverse forecast is similar, with users aiming to correctly select the first two horses, but this time in no particular order.

Essentially, if horse racing fans can imagine any type of bet they might want to place on their favourite sport, the chances are that it will be offered by a South African sports betting site. But how should players go about picking winners? Let's have a look at the top tips and strategies next.

Tips and Strategy for Betting on Horse Racing

Naturally, like all live sports, horse racing is unpredictable. This is why so many people love it, after all. The excitement of never being sure what will happen when a race starts is most of the fun. But following tips and strategies for betting on horse racing can still be a good way for South Africans to increase their chances of being able to pick out winning wagers on the sport of kings.

Understanding the form is crucial when placing bets on horse racing in South Africa. Form simply shows the recent results of a horse, indicating whether or not its performance has been trending upwards or if its better days might instead be long gone. Form also affects the extra weight that a horse might be carrying, which is also known in the sport as its handicap.

Just like with betting on any other sporting event, getting the best price is always recommended when gambling on horse racing. Taking a moment or two to browse markets on a range of sports betting sites in South Africa can make a big difference in the price that is offered. Many top online bookmakers also have a horse racing promotion known as best odds guaranteed - or BOG for short. With BOG, the bookie will pay out at the highest price that any site has offered.

Horse racing tips are also widely available online and a lot of people like to read them when deciding on their selections. Some online bookmakers in South Africa - including Hollywoodbets - even have a section on their website where readers can check out expert racing tips. Of course, it is natural to treat these with some level of suspicion or cynicism, but some people have found it handy to follow advice of industry experts when they are betting on horse racing.

It is usually recommended to steer clear of betting large amounts on low-level races. This is because they are typically a lot more unpredictable than high-class races with quality horses. Many fans of the sport choose to only gamble on Grade One races, which are those with the top reputation in the sport, as they believe these are generally more predictable in their outcomes. Keeping a log of all racing bets that have been placed is another common strategy that is used.

Various horse racing betting strategies are used by people trying to make a profit on the sport. Among them is the Dutching system, which might only be useful for those with a good head for figures. The idea behind the Dutching system is that users bet on a selection of different horses in the same race. This might seem counterintuitive as it sounds as if it would be impossible to make a profit like this, but by working out the implied probabilities from the odds that have been offered by betting sites it is possible to put down bets that almost guarantee a return. The danger with the Dutching system is that there could be a completely unexpected result, though.

When using horse racing betting systems, it is important to keep in mind that they can never be a sure-fire way to profit. After all, if it was that easy to make money out of betting on sport, then all of the online bookmakers in South Africa would soon go out of business. The golden rule is to never bet more money than you could afford to lose, with many finding it healthy to treat their gambling as nothing more than a fun hobby, rather than as a serious attempt to make real cash.

Horse Racing Betting Markets Explained

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:

  • Winner: A simple place to start, winner markets are easy to understand. This is a just bet on a horse to cross the line in first place, nothing more than that. 
  • Each Way: Each way betting on horse racing involves two bets - one on the horse to win and one for them to finish in the places. The number of places paid depends on the number of horses in the race, as well as the bookmaker. Some betting sites offer extra place races. When betting each way, it is important to remember the stake is doubled. 
  • Place only: Betting on a place only market is similar to each way wagers, except the half of the bet on the to win element is missing. Backers only need the horse to finish in the places to win the bet. 
  • Forecast: To win a forecast, backers must predict the horses that finish first and second in a race. Reverse forecasts are also available at many online bookmakers in Ireland, as well as straight forecast bets. 
  • Tricast: A tricast is similar, but the first three horses in the race have to be selected. 
  • W/O Favourite: When betting on the without favourite market, the horse with the shortest price at that time is omitted. This can be a popular bet when there is a runaway favourite for a particular race. 
  • Matched bets: Matched bets are increasingly popular as a way to make risk-free money out of online betting. This tactic involves using free bets and betting exchanges to cover all the potential outcomes of a race to lock in guaranteed profit whatever happens.
  • Insurebet/Coverbet: In this type of bet, the bookmaker will refund the stake if the horse does not win but finishes in the places instead. As a result, the prices available for an insurebet or coverbet wager tend to be lower than when backing a horse just to win. 
  • Each Way Extra: This is a bet365 promotion by which horse racing fans can add extra places to their each way wagers in exchange for a reduction in the price offered. 
  • Tote: Betting on horse racing with the Tote is different to using a bookmaker or a traditional betting site. Instead of the bookmaker holding the money, all the cash wagered goes into a central pot, with winners receiving a share of the total cash. 
  • Single: A single bet is easy to understand - it is selecting one horse to win their race. 
  • Double: In a double, a second horse is added in order to improve the price available. 
  • Accumulators: As with in other sports like football, accumulator bets are popular in horse racing. The more horses that are added, the higher the potential winnings are. But on the flip side, accumulators with many horses are incredibly hard to win. 
  • Trixie: This is a type of horse racing bet made up of four selections: three doubles and a treble. If just one of the three horses wins, the bet is a loser, but if two win then a profit might be made, depending on the odds of the selections. 
  • Patent: The patent is like a trixie bet, but taken to the next level. There are seven bets covered by the patent, three singles, three doubles and a treble. What this means is that even if only one of the horses wins, the backer will still receive a return on their wager. 
  • Yankee: This one is a bet for four horses. The Yankee is made up of 11 different bets: six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator. Remember that when betting on an option like the Yankee or the patent, the stake is multiplied by the number of lines. 
  • Lucky 15: A Lucky 15 bet on the horse racing is the same as the Yankee, but with the addition of four singles on each of the selections. This means backers of a Lucky 15 bet will at least get something back from their bet even if just one of the horses wins. It is also possible to back a Lucky 15 bet each way, which multiplies the stake even further. 
  • Lucky 31: The Lucky 31 works in a similar way, but with an extra horse added. There are therefore 31 different lines to the bet, as follows - five singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five four-fold accumulators and a five-fold accumulator to round it off. 
  • Placepot: All leading online bookmakers offer a placepot and this is a popular type of horse racing bet in Ireland because it offers the chance to win a massive amount of cash from a relatively low stake. Backers of the placepot pick a horse they think will finish in the places for six pre-selected races. If all six do finish in the places, winners receive a share of the pot, in a similar way to the Tote mentioned above.