Horse racing is a hugely popular sport to bet on.
It’s also a time consuming exercise for those with the desire to successfully turn a profit.
A wealth of knowledge is needed to pick out high quality horse racing betting tips, and with thousands of horse races taking part annually, it’s easy to accumulate statistics to work from.
This following horse racing betting guide will teach you how to pick out horses with the highest chance of winning the race, or the horse that will provide the best value.
Once you’ve digested the information in this post, you’ll be able to pick horse racing winners often enough to beat the bookies at their own game.
Table of Contents
Make sure you have the basics down – basics that we won’t be covering in this guide.
These are simple things like understanding horse racing jargon and knowing how to read a race card.
It may also be a worthwhile investment to understanding how horse handicapping works.
Once you’ve got these things down, along with knowing how to place a bet, we’re ready to move on to analysing the field.
The most important tip of them all is that none of the tips below actually matter without this one simple rule:
If you don’t find the right bet at the right price then it will be -EV and won’t return a profit long-term.
Let’s move on with looking at some of the things you can consider.
Jockeys and Trainers
Particular trainers are very familiar with their stables and are therefore an exceptional source of information.
Learn which trainers or stables are performing well and look at their jockey selection to see how much they believe in their horse’s ability.
Jockeys can be a good source of information too.
They may offer a public opinion of their horse’s likely chances in a race, or they may have ridden the horse previously. If they’ve ridden it previously, it means they have experience and knowledge that they may be able to use to their advantage.
If a trainer or stable has several horses in the race, yet there is a star jockey racing one of them, you can be sure that the jockey has probably hand-picked the horse. This gives further indication of its likely chances.
Finally, jockeys often travel to more than one meet on a given day.
If they’ve raced multiple times in the afternoon, but then travel a long way to race just one horse in the early-evening, you know that horse must be worth consideration – with jockeys often having to cover their own transport costs.
Jockeying requires extreme skill and the best in the world are in-demand, with lucrative contracts up for grabs.
Jockey/trainer combinations are an excellent way to start basing your selections upon. However, in high-profile meets this can end up being most of the field, so you have to look deeper into your statistics.
One interesting market that is offered by bookmakers at a meet is the ‘leading jockey’ market, with 3 points behind awarded for a win, 2 for a runner-up finish, and 1 for third. If you have a favoured jockey that you think will perform well at a meet, this can be a way to pick up some value at higher odds.
Trial and Previous Form
Form refers to previous races that the horse has ran in, including barrier trials. Barrier trials are often used as warm-ups, and they can be a key factor when deciding which horse to bet on in smaller races.
You can also look back to the trainers for information on lesser-ridden horses, and ask yourself questions like:
- Has this horse come from a good stable?
- Has the horse been purchased for a significant fee?
- Does it have good relatives?
With regards to the final question, being the foal or blood relative of a previously successful horse can often lead to further success in the family.
For more experienced horses, you can look at their previous form – the majority of horses will race at least several times a year.
It’s not just wins that count, look for good finishes in races where they came up against extremely good opposition. If they’re against weaker opposition this time round, they may be able to claim victory.
In contrast to this, if a horse has won recently, be sure to look at who the horse has beaten. If it hasn’t beaten anyone good, then it could potentially be a one-off result.
Finding or creating a reliable, detailed form guide is tough – but that’s where you’ll make your money. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and bookmakers would no longer be in business.
Finally when considering form, you’ll want to look at the class of the race and purses on offer. If it’s won a huge race for a big payday, these are rarely complete flukes.
Also look at the type of location its won at, did it win a rural event and is now competing in a metropolitan area? How about provincial areas?
Not all horses are able to make the adjustment to subtle changes in climate and atmosphere.
Conditions and Track Formation
Weather conditions play a crucial role in horse racing, perhaps more so than any other sport.
Some horses prefer to race on sticky, wet surfaces whereas others prefer hard, fast tracks. If the going gets tough (or soft), stick to horses that you know have had success on similar ground in the past. Heavier horses will also typically find it tougher on softer, wetter ground, because running on this type of surface consumes more energy.
It’s recommended that you know the going of a track before placing your bets.
Whilst you can get better odds betting antepost or a couple of days in advance, it’s not worth taking the risk whilst you’re still starting out – you’re not a pro that’s going to be investing thousands in Betfair horse racing trading just yet!
To find the ground, or the ‘going’, of a track, you can simply Google the course name + the word going and you should find plenty of up-to-date results for the day’s races.
Remember: some tracks are ‘all-weather’. Ground conditions on all-weather tracks stay consistent regardless of what mother nature throws at it.
You also need to look at track formation: is there a sharp incline at the end of the race? Is there a sharp bend half way through? Do the turns bear right, or bear left?
These are all things you need to be considering, and weighing up against each potential horse you want to bet on – how will each particular horse be affected?
Finally, you will also need to consider whether you’re betting on flat races or jump races, and learn the intricacies that each discipline requires.
Types of Betting Markets
There are several types of betting markets that are popular amongst horse bettors.
The most popular market with professional horse bettors is the outright victory market. Backing horses to win – when they offer value – is the best way to secure long-term profits in this game.
Also popular is each-way betting, whereby you’re sacrificing your odds, usually by a quarter, but sometimes by a third or a fifth, to cover more than one place – usually the top four.
Each-way betting is only really effective when picking horses that are significantly higher odds, such as 16/1 and above.
This is because you end up risking too much money to essentially break even in the result of them placing.
Remember: you should always choose to back your horse at the odds on offer, don’t risk taking the ‘Starting Price (SP)’ odds. Long-term, this will lose you money, especially as many bookmakers offer Best Odds Guaranteed promotions, meaning you get paid out at higher odds if the odds do increase before the race starts anyway.
You also have the option to add some excitement to the mix, although these are significantly riskier and are more like challenge bets than they are solid horse racing tips style bets, with multi-bets such as trebles, Lucky 15s, Yankees and more.
Rather than typical accumulators, these style of bets don’t require you to win every single race for a return. However, if two or three horses do win, you should turn a profit.
If they all win, you could just hit the jackpot – although initial stakes can be quite costly, and the chances of hitting these are minimal. Still, if you’re confident in your selections…why not?
Analysis and Conclusion
Piecing together the critical statistics and traces of information is a formidable task. There’s no denying that.
However, it can be done, with commitment and the desire to learn and improve.
Horse racing is simply a case of the numbers game, and it’s on you to figure out what those numbers are at a given time. If you can work out a horse’s perceived chances of winning, and the odds on offer are significantly good value in comparison, then you’re onto a very profitable career in horse race betting.
When looking at how to bet on horse racing profitably, take all of the horses in a race and try to map out their recent successes and failures. Why did things go the way they did in their recent races?
Look at jockeys and stables for subtle hints at a horse’s chances of winning. If a top jockey is willing to invest his own time travelling for a single race hundreds of miles from home, the horse must be in with a shot.
You will need luck, but you will need a whole lot more skill to make a profit in this industry.
Good luck to you!