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What Does SP mean in Horse Racing?

In horse racing SP refers to the horse’s ‘starting price’ which is the odds of a horse at the start of the race.

You will see the SP referred to on horse racing results and it is always included by racecourse commentators and TV pundits when announcing the race results. It is a key part of horse racing terminology and betting terminology.

How is the SP calculated?

To calculate the SP of a horse, a panel of officials determine the starting price at the racecourse and it is determined by the prices quoted by on-course bookmakers at the start of the race.

All of the bookmaker odds are ordered from lowest to highest and divided into equal halves.

In the half with the biggest odds, the SP will be taken as the shortest price from that half.

Why is SP important in Horse Racing?

Keeping an eye on the SP can be useful for punters betting at the time of the race, it reflects which horses are coming in for support prior to the race or which horses are drifting.

SPs are important for calculating winnings for different types of bets such as forecasts and tricasts and for the Tote Placepot and Scoop6.

When would you use SP?

When you place a bet on a horse, you may have the option to take fixed odds or the starting price. Most punters would opt for the current odds at the time of the bet otherwise the horse’s price may shorten and your return will be lower.

Many bookmakers now offer ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ which is much more preferable. BOG is when bookmakers pay out at the highest odds. If you back your horse at 10-1 and it drifts out to 14-1 before the off, you will be paid at 14-1 if your bet is successful.

BSP at Betfair

BSP refers to the ‘Betfair Starting Price’ as starting prices differ from the traditional method. The BSP is determined by those who are betting on the exchange, both backing and laying horses.

This method can result in better starting prices than traditional bookmakers.

Can you Make Money Betting at the SP?

Expert bettors who are able to read the market may take the SP if they believe their selection will drift before the off. For example, if there is a rival horse in the race which may be popular with punters and their horse may drift. However as mentioned above, most punters will now take best odds guaranteed.

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More Reading

For more information on betting, types of bets, horse racing terminology, the Tote and handicapping see below: