Go Back

What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing Betting?

What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing Betting?

Betting in horse racing can often seem like an entirely different language, filled with unique terminologies and abbreviations. One such term that regularly surfaces in the horse racing betting world is 'SP'. But what does it mean, and how does it impact your betting strategy? Let's dive right in to find out. 

What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing?

In the horse racing sphere, 'SP' is an abbreviation that stands for 'Starting Price'. It refers to the odds associated with a horse at the start of a race. These odds denote the likelihood of a horse winning the race just as they set off and are of paramount importance in horse racing betting. 

The concept of SP was initially devised to offer punters an option beyond fixed odds on a race. It allows bettors to gamble on the prospect that the starting price could be more favourable than the fixed odds. 

However, in the contemporary betting landscape, with the advent of promotions like "best odds guaranteed", the usage of SP has significantly declined. 

What Happens When You Bet On SP?

If you place a wager on SP, you are essentially betting on the odds of your preferred horse at the commencement of the race. This can be a risky proposition as the odds might shorten from what they initially were when the bet was placed. 

However, betting on SP can sometimes turn out to be beneficial, particularly if the odds on the horse drift just before the race begins. If the horse clinches the win, you will be compensated based on the higher odds, yielding a potentially higher return on your bet. 

However, if the odds shorten, you could end up with a lower return on your bet than if you opted for the fixed odds, but that's just part of what makes this betting option what it is. 

How Is Starting Price Calculated?

The calculation of the SP is a systematic process governed by the Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC). The SPRC ascertains the SP for each horse using a roster of online bookmakers when there are no bookmakers present at a race meeting. 

On the racecourse, a panel of officials is responsible for determining the SP. It is based on the odds offered by the on-site bookmakers. All bookmaker odds are arranged from the shortest to the longest and divided into two equal halves. The SP is then derived from the shortest price in the half with the longest odds. This method ensures that the SP is offered by at least half of the bookmakers on the course. 

Is It Good To Bet On SP In Horse Racing?

The decision to bet on SP comes down to personal preference and is often contingent on the individual punter's strategy and confidence in the horse. 

In recent years, most punters prefer the 'Best Odds Guaranteed' (BOG) offered by many bookmakers over SP. With BOG, if the starting price ends up being higher than the fixed odds, the payout is calculated using the SP, creating a potential win-win situation for the bettor. 

However, in certain situations, such as if the BOG promotion is unavailable, betting on the SP can serve as a viable alternative. It's all about interpreting the market dynamics and making an informed decision based on the potential for odds fluctuation. 


In conclusion, understanding the 'Starting Price' or 'SP' in horse racing betting is crucial for any punter. It can sometimes offer a better return on a winning bet, especially if the odds drift before the start of a race. However, the other side of the coin is that this can also go the other way, meaning you could end up with a lower return on your bet. 

Despite the emergence of 'Best Odds Guaranteed' making SP less popular among most bettors, the choice between SP and fixed odds should be based on careful consideration of market dynamics and, most importantly, your budget and personal preferences. 

Please gamble responsibly and never chase your losses.