Thursday, December 13th, 2018

How to Place Winning Horse Bets from Home

April 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Recent Articles

Do you enjoy betting horse racing, but hate to hang out at the track on a wet day?

Are you tired of freezing your bones standing around the mounting enclosure trying to figure out which horse is your favourite?

Then betting online is a great option for you.

With many online racing sites offering free bets, you can cash in on being an armchair punter with a nice bookmaker bonus and even bet the races the night before–no danger of running foul of Internet policies at work or having to be online when the race takes place.

One of our new contributers – John Hawthorne from FREE bets au; has provided the following tips on deciphering racing form, so you can place more educated bets and increase your total earnings.

Betting Basics

UK racing under rules consists of two basic types of races: flat racing and National Hunt racing (jumps). Jumping race obstacles can be either hurdles or steeplechases, the latter being more sturdy and usually higher than the former.

All races in the UK and Ireland are on turf (grass) tracks, with the exception of those run at the four All-Weather (A-W) tracks that have a more sand-like surface. The tracks are not all uniformly shaped, which is important, as you’ll learn below.

While there are some “exotic” bets that predict where certain horses will finish in a particular order, most bets are either backing a horse to win or laying a horse. Laying horse means you expect that horse to lose. Picking losing horses through techniques such as finding false favourites–horses that are mistakenly expected to run well–is just as much an art as backing winners and another potential source of money for you.

Horse Background

There are a number of bookmaking sites that have their own race information, and you need to make sure yours is comprehensive. The Racing Post website, affiliated with the national daily racing paper, is a good source of data, whether you place bets there or elsewhere.

There are several ways on the site to access form data, but the Racing Post Predictor is an interesting portal, in that it allows you to see their predictions and compare them to your own. Pick a race from the drop-down menu, then click on any horse for its form data.

You’ll see the horse’s pedigree, its owner and trainer and get the horse’s lifetime race record. This is better than the average race card, which usually only shows the horse’s most recent races. You need to dig deeper than that to pick winners (and losers).

You can see if the horse has run all flat or all jumping races or if it’s made a successful transition from one to the next. A flat horse that is making its debut as a jumper, for example, is a wild card. A jumping horse that has suddenly switched to flat racing and is performing poorly may have an injury issue. You can also see if the horse has run before on the A-W.

Form Specifics

Scroll a little further down, and you’ll get more form details that give specifics for each race the horse has run during its career.

How often the horse has raced: If the horse has run a lot without dropping its performance, it may be a good sign of stamina. If you see a frequent runner starting to finish lower and lower in the field, it may be over-raced. If the horse has been out for a spell, it’s another wild card. Was the horse injured or just getting a much-needed break? Often mares come back from spells with more energy than the boys, who need a little more time to ramp up to full performance.

What tracks the horse has raced on:

Has the horse switched tracks frequently with good finishes? That could be a horse that isn’t easily flustered by a change in surroundings. A horse that has only run at one track and is suddenly racing at another is anyone’s guess (a possible lay, if other criteria are met). Remember, UK racetracks have tremendous variation in their shapes, and some horses only like to run at certain tracks and don’t do well at others.

What the going was like for each race:

The racing steward assigns a rating to the going for every race day. Horses usually show a preference towards one type of surface or another (“wet” or “dry trackers”). A horse that has finished in the top three on a firm track may not do well on a heavy track, and vice versa. Also, some horses don’t like being splashed in the face (or the “kickback” of some A-W tracks), so they’ll either surge forward under the right jockey or fall back to avoid this.

Where the horse finished for each race:

You’ll know exactly how the horse finished and out of how many in the field (or if the horse was pulled up–PU–due to injury, safety concerns or a tack problem). Size really does matter here; it takes a lot more to maneuver through or go around a large field than it does a small one. A horse that consistently finishes second may feel hesitant to challenge a perceived herd leader in first place.

Who rode the horse:

Has the same jockey ridden the horse in most or all of its races? If they’ve done well together, this could be a magic pairing. An abrupt change in jockey could be due to a mere schedule conflict, or it could mean the trainer is looking for someone who can better finesse the horse. The larger the field in a staying race, the more skilled the jockey has to be at breaking well from the gate, working through the field and getting into position at the rail.

You’ll also learn if the horse moved up in class or grade, how far from the next horse it finished and its position coming into the straight near the end of the race. This latter detail is important. Can the horse shift into that fifth gear in the final furlongs to overtake the field, or does it have to lead early to finish first?

Another piece of information is the weight carried by a horse in a handicap race to even out the odds. While it may seem like an obvious choice to lay the horse with the lightest weight in a race (the one considered in greatest need of an advantage to win), this may not always be the best strategy.

Remember when choosing winners or false favourites to lay that bookmakers may be betting into the field to lower the payout on a “chalk” horse (an easy favourite). This artificially increases the odds on the horse and can make it look like more of an easy winner than it is.

Everyone develops their own system for betting online, but with a little homework and education at first, you’ll learn to make winning bets quickly and efficiently. A few pleasant hours here and there reading the media commentary will help you stay abreast of news and give you even more inside information to supplement your racing form. With many sites now offering free bets with a minimum down, you’ll be able to take advantage of your bookmakers bonus and start having profitable fun from home in no time at all.



About Jonathan Burgess

Jonathan Burgess is an official Betfair Accredited Trainer and racing columnist for various respected betting industry publications such as: Betting School, The Daily Punt and Betfair's Education site. He also runs the Profitable - False Favourites Betting Tips Club Which cost just 24 pence a day. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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