Horse Racing Betting in Ireland

Horse racing is, without a doubt, one thing that Irish punters absolutely love gambling on. Irish sports betting fans love horse racing odds and betting more than any other type of sports betting for a variety of reasons.

Horse racing is part of Ireland’s tradition and its presence and significance is deeply rooted in Irish culture. It also generates a lot of revenue for the country and even forms a strong part of Irish culture as well as the economy.

The following is an in-depth look at why racing betting is so popular in Ireland and where punters can place their horse racing bets.

What Are the Reasons for the Popularity of Horse Race Betting in Ireland?

Racing horses in Ireland has a long and rich history, dating as far back as 110BC. The country has large expanses of rural land, which makes it perfectly suited for horse breeding, racing, as well as race tracks.

Thoroughbred breeding is quite a big business in the country and plays an important role in the economy. The reality is that many thoroughbred horses actually come from Ireland since the location and climate as well as the high level of expertise in the country make it perfect for this business.

The Biggest Irish Horse Racing Events of the Year

Ireland and the UK both have several major racing events throughout the year that punters in Ireland love to bet on. Below, we are looking at the most popular horse racing events that bring in billions in revenue, whether via online bookies or on-course bookmakers.

I. The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is widely regarded as the highlight of the year with regards to racing. It is a three-day event that’s held on the Curragh Racecourse and offers big prize money for punters that do their homework and thoroughly research the odds.

II. The Galway Races

The Galway Races is one of the biggest betting events for bettors in Ireland and yet another highlight in the racing season. It’s only horses above four years old that participate and it’s regarded as a race for all of Ireland’s elite horse trainers. It is also one of the most lucrative horses in the world when it comes to betting odds since its prize fund goes up to €300,000.

We actually have created guides to each of the large events of the year – take a look at our racing events guide.

III. Punchestown Festival

The Punchestown Festival is held every year towards the end of April and usually draws in a large number of punters and fans alike. The event’s prize pool can go up to a mouth-watering €250,000 with the first prize being as high as €150,000.

What Do Punters in Ireland Gamble on the Most?

Ireland might have a relatively small population, but the revenue generated by punters in the country is massive, especially when compared to bigger countries. It was estimated that Irish punters spent over €6.2 billion on both online and offline gambling in 2017.

In terms of betting on horse racing odds, it’s estimated that racing in Ireland is an industry valued at €2 billion since Irish gamblers bet more on racing than they do any other sport. After horse race betting, punters also love to bet on Gaelic football, golf, and soccer, even though not nearly as much as racing and getting the latest horse racing odds.

Besides its roots in Irish history and culture, betting on horse racing markets provides a different type of thrill and entertainment value not present in other types of sports betting. Things can take a wholly unexpected turn at any moment in a race, the horse that’s least likely to win may end up shocking the crowd with a win, or horses can sustain injuries while the race is underway, changing the odds considerably.

One of the greatest surprises in the history of racing was when the Irish Grand National was won by Freewheelin Dylan at odds of 150-1. He was the longest-priced winner of the Irish Grand National since 1870, defying the odds and shocking punters and fans that weren’t expecting such an outcome. Bill Shoemaker is another horse jockey that broke the world record during his career, with an impressive 8,833 wins.

Ireland’s Top Racecourses

Ireland is a country renowned for its deep-rooted horse racing traditions and passion for the sport. With a rich history dating back centuries, the Emerald Isle boasts a vibrant racing scene, attracting both local enthusiasts and international visitors. From picturesque settings to thrilling races, Ireland’s racecourses offer an unparalleled experience for fans and participants alike. In this article, we will delve into the top five racecourses in Ireland, each with its own unique charm and allure.

  1. Curragh Racecourse: Located in County Kildare, the Curragh Racecourse holds a special place in Irish racing heritage. Often referred to as the “Home of Irish Flat Racing,” it hosts some of the most prestigious events, including the Irish Derby and the Irish Oaks. With its expansive track and beautifully manicured grounds, Curragh provides a picturesque backdrop for thrilling races. The venue’s historical significance, coupled with its excellent facilities, make it a must-visit destination for racing enthusiasts.
  2. Punchestown Racecourse: Situated near Naas in County Kildare, Punchestown Racecourse is primarily renowned for National Hunt racing, attracting both top-class horses and jockeys. The venue plays host to the famous Punchestown Festival, a five-day extravaganza that marks the pinnacle of the Irish jump racing calendar. The festival combines competitive races with a lively social atmosphere, making it a beloved event for both hardcore fans and casual observers.
  3. Fairyhouse Racecourse: Nestled in County Meath, Fairyhouse Racecourse is steeped in history and charm. Famous for the Easter Festival, which includes the renowned Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse captures the essence of Irish racing in a delightful rural setting. The undulating course and warm hospitality create an inviting ambiance, ensuring an unforgettable experience for spectators. From thrilling races to family-friendly entertainment, Fairyhouse has something for everyone.
  4. Galway Racecourse: Located in Ballybrit, County Galway, Galway Racecourse offers a truly unique racing experience. Known for its lively atmosphere and vibrant crowds, the Galway Races, held over seven days in July, epitomize the excitement and spirit of Irish racing. The festival combines high-quality flat and National Hunt racing with an electric social scene, featuring live music, fashion contests, and a plethora of entertainment options. Galway Racecourse is a magnet for both racing purists and those seeking an unforgettable festival experience.
  5. Leopardstown Racecourse: Situated in the suburbs of Dublin, Leopardstown Racecourse is renowned for its high-quality racing and world-class facilities. With a rich heritage dating back to 1888, Leopardstown offers a versatile program of races, encompassing both flat and National Hunt fixtures. The Christmas Festival, held annually, is a highlight on the racing calendar, featuring top-class racing and attracting large crowds. Leopardstown’s convenient location and impeccable track conditions make it a favorite among trainers, jockeys, and spectators alike.

Other UK races such as Goodwood or the Cheltenham Festival also feature heavily in the Irish betting calendar

There are numerous racecourse in Ireland and we’ve gone as far as to create a guide of all the Irish racecourses here. Use this for help when placing your horse racing bets.

Betting on Horse Racing Online – Ireland’s Best Betting Websites

If you’re looking to bet on horses, several online bookies offer racing betting, which include some of the best Irish websites such as Bet365, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes among others.

When choosing an online bookmaker for horse racing, you should do proper research beforehand to find the best racing odds on upcoming racing events and use the best strategies. If you are new to betting on horse racing odds, familiarize yourself with the best beginners’ tips to avoid making the most common mistakes.

FAQs for Betting on Horse Racing

How does horse racing betting work?

Horse racing betting involves placing wagers on the outcome of horse races. You can bet on a horse to win, place (finish in the top two), or show (finish in the top three). There are also exotic bets like exactas, trifectas, and superfectas, where you predict the exact order of the top two, three, or four horses, respectively.

Where can I place bets on horse racing?

You can place bets on horse racing at dedicated off-track betting (OTB) locations, racetracks, online sportsbooks, or mobile betting apps to all sorts of bets including each way bets. Check your local regulations and options to find the most convenient method for you.

How do I choose which horse to bet on?

There are various factors to consider when selecting a horse to bet on, such as the horse’s past performance, jockey, trainer, track conditions, distance, and recent form. It’s also helpful to study the competitive odds and evaluate the competitiveness of the field to make horse racing selections in the hope your horse wins.

What are the different types of bets in horse racing?

Common types of bets in horse racing include win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3/4/5/6, and more. Each bet has its own rules and potential payouts. Familiarize yourself with these bet types and their requirements before placing your wagers.

How do odds work in horse racing?

Odds represent the payout you can expect if your bet wins. They are presented in either fractional or decimal form. For example, if a horse has 5/1 odds, you would win e5 for every e1 you bet, plus your original stake. In decimal odds, 5/1 would be represented as 6.00 (including the original stake).

What are morning line odds?

Morning line odds are the initial odds set by the track’s oddsmaker before betting opens. They give bettors a general idea of how the public is expected to bet and the approximate payouts on betting tips. However, the actual best odds at post time may differ.

How can I improve my chances of winning?

Researching and analyzing the horses, jockeys, trainers, and track conditions can help you make more informed betting decisions. Keep an eye on recent form, track biases, and any relevant news or changes leading up to the race.

What is a scratched horse?

A scratched horse is one that has been withdrawn from a race before it begins. If you bet on a horse that gets scratched, you will usually receive a refund on your wager.

Can I bet on horse racing online?

Yes, many reputable online sportsbooks and betting platforms offer horse racing betting. You can place bets on races happening around the world from the comfort of your home or on-the-go using a computer or mobile device.

Is there a minimum age to bet on horse racing?

The minimum age for betting on horse racing varies depending on your jurisdiction. In many countries, the legal age is 18, but it’s essential to check the regulations specific to your location.

How can I collect my winnings?

If your bet is successful, you can collect your winnings from the betting establishment where you placed your wager. This may involve presenting your ticket and providing identification. Some online platforms may deposit your winnings directly into your account.

What should I do if I have a gambling problem?

If you suspect you have a gambling problem or find it difficult to control your betting, seek help from a professional organization or helpline that specializes in gambling addiction. They can provide guidance and support for managing and overcoming the issue. We discuss this towards the bottom of our home page.


  • Emily Watson

    Biography: Emily Watson is an accomplished writer with a passion for the betting industry and has written for Green Betting Sites for 4 years. With over a decade of experience in the field, she has established herself as an authoritative and insightful voice in the world of gambling. Emily’s love for writing and her deep understanding of the intricacies of sports betting have allowed her to captivate readers with her engaging and informative content.