What should you look for in selecting a bookie?

Winter’s icy grip on England is slowly subsiding which means that a return to warmer weather won’t be far away, and the past fortnight’s rain is going some way toward rectifying the winter’s dry conditions that have left British trainers constantly frustrated.

Indeed, Stratford-upon-Avon will soon begin to move into spring as the landscape of Warwickshire changes from bare to plentiful. Apart from breathing life back into us after a long winter, the first signs of the new season also mean a return to racing at the world-class Stratford Racecourse. We welcomed a bumper crowd for the opening fixture on Festival eve, including many friends from across the Irish Sea.


The only place to be from here till November

The packed fixture list from March to early November is sure to energise horse racing enthusiasts in the area who call Stratford Racecourse their own.

For any visitors from far and wide hoping to make the journey to Shottery Meadow, Stratford Racecourse’s modern facilities and unrivalled hospitality packages will undoubtedly provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable day. 

As touched on, there is much to look forward to for horse racing purists now that the kindness of spring has replaced the hostility of winter.

With racing now set to be commonplace as the mercury continues to rise, there will also be an increased interest in which bookmakers to use given that horse racing goes hand in hand with a flutter. It would be safe to say that the options nowadays are endless which is why it pays to be discerning when choosing who to sign up with in time for a summer racing season.

Below, we’ll look through the key features that any horse racing fan from Stratford-upon-Avon or even further afield should consider before opening an account. 

Best odds

There is only one place to start and that is odds. Whether you’re betting on an event at Stratford or elsewhere, it’s good practice to join a bookmaker that is offering the most competitive race odds. Essentially, the odds offered by a bookmaker can have a significant impact on your potential winnings. You may have noticed during ITV’s coverage of Cheltenham in the betting shows the “overround” – a description of the margin in any bookmaker’s book. In some of the handicaps, this exceeded 30%!

The simple logic dictates that if you place a winning bet at higher odds, you will receive a higher payout than if you had placed the same bet at lower odds. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose a bookmaker that offers the best prices so that you are able to maximise your potential winnings in the event that your chosen horse gets to the finishing post first.

In addition to this, when you place a bet, you want to feel confident that you are getting the best value for your money and not wonder if you might make a bigger profit elsewhere. Choosing a bookmaker that offers the most competitive odds can supply you with that vital confidence given that you know you are getting the best possible return on your investment should your bet land.

But understand this. The value in betting lies in totting up the odds and seeing which horse is under-priced, rather than merely following napsters’ tips. The tipsters column at the end of a season to a £1 stake almost always shows a negative meaning following favourites is a mug’s game.

A variety of horse racing markets to choose from

They say that variety is the spice of life and that certainly applies when finding a bookmaker that offers a wide range of horse racing markets to bet on. By doing this, you will be provided with significantly more opportunities to wager on different events which ultimately means that you can cherry-pick the races that suit your interests and betting style.

When all is said and done, it is all about making informed decisions when it comes to betting on horses, and to do that successfully, it helps to be able to cast your eye over a series of eventualities. For instance, if you’re betting on a horse at Stratford Racecourse that you feel might not win but will certainly get placed, then you are going to want to make the most of that inkling by having access to place markets.

Although the same can be said for any bet that you want to make, whether it be a slam dunk single on history-making Gold Cup winning jockey Rachael Blackmore or a shoot for the moon, Super Heinz bet on a line-up of multiple winners, it pays to find the bookmaker that can complement your horse racing knowledge.


Best bonus offers when signing up

Given how competitive the online sports betting industry is, you’ll find that you’re inundated with welcome offers when searching for which bookmaker to sign up with. At the bigger fixtures, the range of bookmaker offers is remarkable, from money-back specials to outlandishly large prices on fancied horses just to entice you to start betting.

When it comes to making the right choice, the key is to do your research and in particular, use the information found on reputable sites that rank the best sign-up bonuses from every bookie. Racing experts have searched the vast range of providers to find the best horse racing betting sites in the UK for anyone wanting to sign up with a bookmaker to place bets. Some of the bonuses mentioned include £30 in free bets when you join Bet365, whilst BetUK will give any new customer £60 in free bets when they place a £20 opening bet.

These generous welcome promotions aside, the broader point here is that you don’t have to take the first joining bonuses that come your way as bookmakers often have a specific offer that will ensure you receive maximum value on your opening bet. 

Access to free streams

If you can’t get down to Stratford for whatever reason, the next best option is to watch the races live online. Most of the best bookmakers for horse racing will offer live streaming of events which means that you can always keep an eye on what is going on, irrespective of where you are in the world. 

In addition to this, by watching horse racing on a live stream offered by a bookmaker, you can get a better sense of the horses’ form and the track conditions, which crucially, can help you make well-informed and accurate betting decisions.

Another benefit of having access to live streaming is that you can also spot potential changes in the race that may affect who the potential winner might be, this is especially relevant if you choose to use the live-in-play betting market.

In short, you can gather a great deal of useful information that can substantially increase your chances of winning when you select a bookmaker that offers live streaming of races.

Bet on course or off

Of course, much of the appeal of actually going racing is browsing the bookmakers’ boards in the ring, where you get to exchange notes with the characters who ply their trade there. As witnessed by their joint sponsorship of our opening card last week, our course bookmakers offer another real-time betting opportunity, where winnings are passed back to you in old-fashioned notes. There is little better than the feel of a crisp bunch of twenties!

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of what to look out for when choosing a bookmaker. It promises to be another memorable season at Stratford Racecourse with a world of possibility awaiting the various horses, jockeys, and of course fans too. 

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