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The average number of runners in a race is around ten horses and therefore even favourites are often priced well above even money, reflecting the fact that in many races the favourite don’t win. There are so many variables to consider in a race, from the weather and ground conditions to the form of the jockey and horse, that accurately predicting winners is difficult even for seasoned professionals.
If you do bet on racing often, however, there are many great money back and insurance offers you can take that can help push the odds of winning a little more in your favour. Horse racing is heavily competitive and therefore betting sites want to give you an incentive to wager with them over others and the money back deal is one of the most popular ways of doing so.
The table above shows you the featured money back offers from our recommended UK bookmakers for horse racing, most of which are available for major races and some available for all racing. We discus in more detail below how different types of offers work. If you are looking for free bets see our dedicated free bets for winners page.
Types Of Racing Insurance
Below we look at some of the common types of racing refund promotion and the relative merits of each.
Money Back If You Lose
This is the most valuable of all money back offers as it gives you complete insurance, if your horse does not win you will get a refund. These can often be found with refunds in cash too, although only usually up to £10.
These are mostly only available for the high profile meetings (e.g Cheltenham Festival) and big group 1 and grade 1 races in the UK and around the world. They are in effect gateway promotions that bookies run at a loss in the hope that you might stay with them and place future racing bets.
Money Back 2nd (3rd and 4th)
This is the most popular insurance type for racing and can be found daily on either all racing or select meetings. William Hill, RaceBets, Boylesports, Paddy Power and others run these offers pretty much all of the time.
Most money back second features will provide a refund as a free bet but the stake limits can often be found up to £25. You will also commonly find some offers extend to the 3rd and sometimes 4th place.
There are often some restrictions to bear in mind, some not pay a refund if a set number of runners do not run. Some deals have minimum odds for the horse you back, e.g. 3/1+, and this is important if you want to back a selection with a lower price. It is also worth considering if you back a horse at starting price, just because it was over the minimum odds when you bet doesn’t mean it will be when it goes off, and it is that price that matters.
Finally dead-heat rules may apply. This means if two horses finish 2nd and can’t be separated you may only get half your stake back, although with modern technology this doesn’t happen very often.
Money Back 2nd to Starting Price Favourite
If you bet on more minor racing the second to the SP favourite deal will be the most common one you will find, these are always free bet refunds, you will never see cash.
This is a good deal if you didn’t plan to back the favourite and fancy an outsider but want some insurance if the favourite does win. Of course the thing to look at here is who will be the SP favourite when the race goes off, this might not necessarily be the same as the time you placed the wager.
If there are joint favourites it should apply to both. Dead heat and minimum runner rules may apply as above.
Money Back Specific Winner
Rather than saying the SP favourite some offers will name a specific horse and if this horse wins and you have backed a different one you will get a stake refund. These are again mainly free bet returns but can be cash for bigger races.
The named horse is usually the favourite, or one of the favourites, for the races and will generally be the highest profile runner in the race.
These are good offers if you think that horse may have an off-day or is over-hyped as you back more of an outsider but still get your money back should the big name win the race.
Faller insurance does what it says on the tin, it gives you your stake back (generally as a free bet) if your horse falls in the race. Logically this is usually only for jump racing as horses rarely fall in flat racing. You can often find these up to a stake value of £25 (or more if VIP).
There are lots of this type of deal and so we don’t talk about faller insurance on this page, instead we have a dedicated page where you can read more about it and see the top deals.
Almost all jump horses fall once a season and the rate can be up to 25% in some races, so certainly worth looking at, especially in bad weather, soft ground and long distance big field handicap races.
Winning Distance Insurance
This is another offer that tends to be open more generally and not just for specific races or meetings. The principle is simple, if your horse finishes second but by less than a set distance you get a stake refund. This is almost always a free bet, but the value can be up to £50.
Again as these deals are common we have a separate back for beaten by a distance insurance where you can see offers and read more about them.
The three major types are shown here:
- Length insurance – money back if your horse loses by less than the length of the winning horse.
- Head insurance – by a head or less
- Nose Insurance – by a nose or less
Of course length insurance is the best, but then these are the ones that tend to be more restricted, head and nose insurance are more commonly open to all racing but of course insure a smaller distance.
This is kind of a last resort offer if you can’t find anything better. There are also some offers we talk about on our free bets for winners page that do the converse, give you free bets if your horse wins by a certain distance.
Disqualification & First Past The Post Money Back
There is nothing more annoying than seeing your horse win only then to find out it has been disqualified and you’ve lost your bet after a stewards inquiry. Therefore, some more reputable bookies will either pay you out on the disqualified horse or void the bet and give you your money back, usually as cash.
Non-Runner No Bet
If you place a bet on UK or Irish racing on the day of the race you will almost always get non-runner no bet, which gives you your stake back in cash if your horse doesn’t run. We don’t list these deals as they are very ubiquitous but if your bookie doesn’t provide it you should bet elsewhere.
Ante-post bets however (those placed more than a day in advance) are generally not covered by NRNB. There are however some bookies that will provide non-runner insurance on advance wagers so if you bet this way often it is worth taking. This is very common for big meetings such as Cheltenham.
Run For Your Money Guarantees
It’s fine if your horse doesn’t run as you will likely get a refund, but what happens if your horse comes under starting orders but then fails to run. This might be because it refused at the start, didn’t get out of the stalls or lost all chance before it got going.
In most cases that is tough luck, the bet is classed as going live once under starting orders and therefore if you lose you lose. Some bookies, notably BetVictor, are a little more sensible here and will return your stake as cash (without limit) if your horse doesn’t give you a ‘run for your money’.
This may not happen often but if you bet often it can save you some loses over time.
Free Bet vs Cash Offers
The short answer here is that cash offers are obviously better than free bets as you can do whatever you want with cash but free bets are of course restricted in what they can be used on and how long they are valid for. If you have two offers exactly the same and one pays cash and the other in free tokens, then take the cash offer every day of week.
The problem, however, is cash offers are rarely directly comparable with free bet variants. Most cash offers are more restricted in the racing they are available for, i.e. you probably won’t find a cash offer available for any racing, but you will find more open money back offers that pay in free bets. Therefore part of the answer comes down to what racing you want to bet on and when.
If you are betting on the Epsom Derby or another high class race you will likely find a good cash offer, if you are betting on the 19:55 at Kempton on a Monday night you probably won’t. It doesn’t make sense to change the way you bet for an offer, that’s what the bookies want you to do, so better to choose what you want to bet on then find an offer most suited to it.
The amount of money offered for free bet refunds tends to be higher than cash. Most cash offers will generally only go up to £10 (unless you are VIP) but you can find free bet money back up to around £50 or more. If you plan to bet say £25 it may make sense to use a free bet money back up to £25 rather than cash up to £10?
When choosing insurance with a refund in free tokens it is also worth considering restrictions. Many sites will award open free bets that can be used on any sports, but some will restrict these to racing, or even specific racing, so bear this in mind when considering the offer. The validity time is also important, this can range from just a matter of hours to 30 days or more. There may also be minimum and maximum odds restrictions to consider.
How To Get The Best Out Of Racing Money Back Offers
As mentioned in the last section the best way to get the most form any promotion is to decide what market you want to bet on first and then go and find a suitable offer. There are many big headline grabbing offers for big races, but you shouldn’t be swayed into backing things just because there is a deal, you should only back a horse if you think you know it is going to win, or place.
It is easy to see an offer and think that it must providing you with better value, but you should also consider other factors such as the odds, number of places (if betting each-way) and odds restrictions. You might find that you get far better prices somewhere else or more places that could more than offset the insurance offered.
Of course having multiple accounts with operators renowned for good racing offers gives a good advantage, this way you can check through your bookies and find the one with the best balance between promotions and odds. Also if you use the same bookie all the time and consistently use the same money back deals there is a chance they could limit your account for bonus abuse, so it makes sense to use promos from several different sites interchangeably.
Many offers give you a refund if you back a horse above a minimum odds limit, say 3/1 or 4/1. This is brilliant if you planned to back a horse with a price higher than this in the first place, but again you shouldn’t just pick a horse with higher odds just because there is an offer. You should only back the selection if you think it might win.