What Does 'SP' Mean In Horse Racing


19 Jul 2022

Updated: 7 Mar 2023

Ever see the word SP in place of the odds at the horse racing and wonder what it stands for? Well, 'SP' is a betting term that stands for starting price (no not shortest price), which means the price on the horse when it starts the race, hence the name. Most betting sites offer their current price odds as well as SP on horse racing, the price of which is regulated. Here's some more information;

What does SP mean?

When you see the letters 'SP' on race day you’ll have the chance to choose either the starting price or the fixed odds. While there are benefits to choosing the starting price, you are usually guaranteed the best available horse racing odds. For example, if you back a horse at 8/1 but it starts the race, and wins, at 10/1, you’ll be paid out at 10/1.

How is the starting price calculated?

In the UK, The Starting Price Regulatory Commission (SPRC) is the organisation tasked with ensuring the integrity and correctness of starting prices within horse racing betting. The SP is used to settle bets on British & Irish horse racing that are placed with traditional bookmakers in betting shops or online. The Commission's role is to make sure that the returning price appropriately reflects the price available to bettors at the race's start.

In each country where horse racing takes place, the starting price, or SP, is computed differently, but on-course bookmakers' pricing data from racetracks will be monitored by the SPRC.

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When Should You Use SP?

When you bet on horse racing on most betting sites, you'll normally be given the option of backing a horse at fixed odds or the SP. Online bookmakers usually guarantee the best (highest) odds on all UK and Irish horse races.

Using SP can be a useful thing when you think a horses price may not be the same when the race starts or when your bet isn't eligible for 'best odds guaranteed'.

What role does SP play in horse racing?

The SP is important to both bookmakers and bettors. Bookmakers use it to calculate forecast amongst many other bets, and some even factor it into their payouts. The SP favourite may substitute non-runners for bettors in certain multi-leg system bets. Previous SP price can also be used to predict a horse's prospects in a race. While it is critical to examine a horse's previous performance over similar distances or on a specific course, historical prices can also be used as a predictor of future performance.

It's also worth remembering that odds are volatile in the days leading up to a race, and prices swing in response to the market. The volume of bets placed at this time may have a substantial impact on a horse's final odds in various situations. When best odds guaranteed offers aren't available, betting on the SP might be interesting, especially if you're interested in a runner whose odds have drifted by the time the race starts.

That's about all the information you need to know on horse racing bet starting prices. Found this article useful? We have similar and expanded ones in our blog.

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