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What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing? SP Betting Odds Explained

What Does SP Mean In Horse Racing? SP Betting Odds Explained

In the realm of horse racing, punters are often bombarded with a plethora of terms and abbreviations, which can be quite perplexing to the uninitiated. One such term that is frequently encountered in this field is 'SP'. 

Here at Late Casino we aim to unravel what 'SP' means, how it is determined, and its significance in horse racing betting. 

SP Meaning In Horse Racing

'SP', an abbreviation prevalent in horse racing, stands for 'Starting Price'. This term signifies the odds associated with a horse at the commencement of a race. These odds essentially reflect the probability of a horse winning the race just as they set off, rendering them of paramount importance in horse racing betting. 

The inception of the SP concept was intended to provide bettors with an alternative to fixed odds on a race. It empowers the punters to wager on the likelihood that the starting price could turn out to be more beneficial than the fixed odds. However, with the introduction of promotions such as "best odds guaranteed", the usage of SP has significantly declined in the modern betting landscape. 

What Happens When You Bet on SP?

When wagering on SP, you essentially place a bet on the odds of your chosen horse at the start of the race. This can be a risky proposition, as the odds might diminish from what they initially were when the bet was placed. 

However, betting on SP can sometimes prove advantageous, particularly when the odds on the horse drift just before the race commences. If the horse clinches the win, you receive compensation based on the higher odds, potentially yielding a higher return on your bet. 

Conversely, if the odds shorten, you could end up with a lower return on your bet than if you had chosen the fixed odds. But that's part of the gamble that makes this betting option intriguing. 

How Is SP Calculated?

The calculation of 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 no bookmakers are present at a race meeting. 

On the racecourse, a panel of officials is responsible for determining the SP. It is derived from 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 obtained 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 Betting On SP Good?

The decision to bet on SP is often subjective and depends on the individual punter's strategy and confidence in the horse. 

In recent years, most punters have shown a preference for 'Best Odds Guaranteed' (BOG), which is 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 potentially favourable situation for the bettor. 

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


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 flip side 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.