Early Price / Starting Price
There are two different prices to be aware of in betting on horses: an early or fixed price, and the Starting Price.
If you want to fix the odds and bet sometime before the race, you can accept a bookmaker’s early fixed price. You are then tied to those odds when the race starts (and throughout it).
Alternatively, you can bet at the starting price (known as the SP). This is the price, i.e. the odds of the horse at the time the race commences.
Which of these you go for will depend on your view of what other bettors think of your horse.
An important factor is that odds (tend to) shorten or drop the closer you get to the race.
If you believe that the odds on your horse will shorten in the countdown to the race - perhaps because it is well known, or a “housewife’s favourite” – it may make sense to choose the price available early on, i.e. the fixed price.
For example, the fixed price may be 4.0 (3/1) two hours before the race, and then shorten to 3.5 (5/2) by the time race starts. This is because more and more bettors – particularly those having a flutter – bet on it to win. So by taking the fixed odds, you get a better price.
But if you think a different horse may prove more popular to the public, then the odds on your horse may drift (lengthen, rise). An hour before the race they might be 4.0 (3/1) and then drift to 5.0 (4/1) at start time.
In that case, it would be better to take the starting price (SP).
Use oddschecker.com to check prices at different bookmakers.