Strategy For Betting on Horse Racing
We should start out by making it very clear that there's no guaranteed recipe for success when it comes to horse racing betting, and it's not easy to consistently turn a profit. That being said, there are plenty of people out there who do, and you can certainly increase your chances of winning by putting some effort into your selections. Those bettors who are truly successful at horse racing generally work very hard to give themselves some kind of advantage, and you'll also need a strong work ethic if you are to succeed. Below we offer advice on horse racing betting strategy, covering the following:
- The Form Guide & Research
- Pre-Race Observation
- Value Betting
- How to Place Your Bets
- Money Management
The Form Guide & Research
A form guide contains a wealth of information pertaining to the horses running in a race. You'll find a host of useful statistics and results that can help you get a feel for those that have a chance of winning a given race. In particular, you should look at recent results, as winning horses are consistent, in good form and often the most likely to be competitive in an upcoming race. However, recent form isn't necessarily a good enough guide by itself, and there are a number of other factors to take into account. If you research the right kind of information, you'll be in a strong position to decide which horses have an advantage in a race.
The distance of a race is certainly a consideration. For example, a horse may have won several recent events, but those races could have been at shorter distances than the upcoming event. Most horses will have a preferred race distance, so it's usually a good idea to look for those who have been successful over a similar or same distance. You also need to think about the surface and the "going," a term used to describe its condition. Again, horses tend to have a preferred surface and a preferred going. Ideally, you should try to research the distances, surfaces, and going that a horse might favor before placing a bet.
You also need to consider the class, or grade, of race a horse has run previously. Horse races across the world are categorized into classes or grades based on quality. A horse that has been very successful in recent races may have been running in low-class races and now is about to take part in a major race. This doesn't mean the horse has no chance, of course, but another horse that has been reasonably successful in other high-quality races may have a better one. You might also want to look at how successful a horse has been at the relevant racecourse, as some horses do much better at some courses than others.
It's not only the form of a horse that you should be researching: you should also look at the form of the jockey and trainer, again taking factors like course and distance into account. Just like horses, some jockeys and trainers do well at certain courses and distances but not so well at others. Of course, you don't necessarily need to look into things too deeply if you are only betting for a bit of fun. This kind of research isn't particularly exciting, and you should only worry about these things if you are serious about trying to make money out of horse racing betting.
This isn't something that's always going to be possible for you, but if you are watching a race on television or actually at the racecourse, then you can perhaps learn a little bit about a horse's chances by watching it in the parade ring before the event. Obviously, the more you know about horses, the more you will be able to gauge simply by watching them. Look out for the general condition of a horse and its demeanor in the ring. A well-toned body with a clean and shiny coat is usually a good sign, as is the alertness with its head held up high. A horse that looks distracted, nervous, or uncomfortable is possibly one to avoid in the betting.
One very important, yet often overlooked, aspect of betting on horse racing is value. If you are to make money out of horse racing betting consistently, then it's absolutely vital that you bet for value. You should try and place a bet where the odds are greater than the actual chance of winning. Value bets won't always win, but if you have the ability to spot good ones, then you'll have a very good chance of prevailing in the long run.
We should also mention something about favorites;the horses deemed most likely to win, and as such have the lowest odds. Some bettors will avoid the favorites, but this isn't necessarily a good strategy. While it's not a good idea to simply bet on the favorite every single time, there are times when it is the right bet. After all, it's much better to win backing a horse at low odds than to lose backing a horse at high odds. This really comes down to value, again, and backing your own judgment. If the odds on a favorite represent a fair price or good value and you genuinely believe it's going to win, there's no reason not to back it.
How to Place Bets
This isn't directly about choosing which horses to back, but it's something worthy of consideration nonetheless; and you should put some thought into deciding how and where to place your bets. You could use a bookmakers shop if you have a local one; simply go in whenever you want to place a bet. Alternatively, you could use a telephone betting service. If you are at the racecourse, there will probably be a number of on course options. However, in our opinion, the best way to do horse racing betting is online for a number of reasons.
One such reason is convenience. There's a number of online horse racing betting sites on the web, all generally very user-friendly. All you need is a computer and access to the Internet, and you can place your bets from the comfort of your own home any time you want. You can compare the odds available on races at different sites and place your bets at the most favorable price. A number of online betting sites also make it easy for you to do research as they publish useful race results and statistics. Even if they don't, there are plenty of places online where you can get this kind of information.
Many of the best horse racing betting sites are accessible through a smart phone or mobile device, so you can quite literally bet whenever and wherever you want. It's also worth noting that if you use an online gambling site that offers good bonuses and promotions, you can get some extra money back or free bets just for placing your bets with them. This isn't something you will get from a bookmakers shop or a racecourse betting outlet! You can find the best bonuses by trying any of the gambling sites reviewed on our homepage.
Our final piece of advice is to spend your money wisely when betting on horse racing. One rule to definitely be aware of is that you don't need to bet on every race. This is something a lot of beginners do, and it's usually a mistake. There are many types of horse racing taking place all over the world, and it's very unlikely that you (or anyone for that matter) will be able to follow it all closely enough to be successful in your betting. You are much better off trying to become something of an expert in one particular type of racing, looking for value bets, and only betting when you have good reason to. If you are struggling to decide which horse you think will win a race, just wait for a better opportunity.
Another rule, which applies to all forms of gambling really, is that you should never chase your losses. If you go on a bad run and back a lot of losers, either take a break for a while or reduce your stakes until you get your confidence back. You should always set a budget with which you are happy and comfortable losing, and stick to it. Never bet with money you cannot afford, and always gamble responsibly.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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