Betting on horse racing

One of the most popular sports to bet on is horse racing. There are plenty of races to bet on with bookmakers giving odds on meetings held all over the world. If you want to get a winner, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration. This article will look at the main ones that require your attention before placing your bet.

Current Form

The current form of a horse is of course vitally important. It needs a fair bit of analysis though before a bet can be placed. One area that must be examined is the class of race they have been racing in.

Horse racing in the UK for example is split into several classes. There are the lowest ability horses in Class 6 rising to the very best who race in the Group races. A horse is likely to make its way through these classes as it gains experience. 

Make sure that you always look at the class in which your possible selection has been running. If a horse is now racing in a higher class, you must look at how they have performed and whether they should be able to compete successfully at its new higher level. It’s just like a boxer fighting a higher class of opponent.

This works in both directions. Perhaps a horse has moved up in class but struggled against the better opposition. A drop to a lower class may bring about a revival in form. Look at the record books to see how they have performed in the past in this lower class. It may well be that back at this lower level, it will put in a much better performance.

How much Weight?

Weight is an important consideration when making your selection. Each runner will be allocated a weight. If a horse wins, then it will go up in the weights. Now you need to ask yourself if that horse is an improving sort who can continue to win despite its increased weight. 

Again, this works both ways. A horse in poor form will see the weight it has to carry be reduced. Look at its weight and see if the new figure could bring about a return to previous better form. A good look through their past form will give you the information you need.

Handicap races require a great deal of thought put into them when trying to make your selection. Horses will be allocated different weights by the handicapper based on their performances. These races often see horses meeting each other on a regular basis. You will have to work out whether a horse that finished ahead of a rival in a previous race, will do so again if carrying extra weight. 

The good news is that handicaps often have very good prices. Backing selections each-way is an idea with your stake likely to be returned (or a small profit) if it is placed.

Will they like the Ground

Some horses prefer to run on a certain kind of ground. For example, they may perform at their best on soft ground. If the ground for an upcoming race is good, then it may well not be a contender. Alternatively, a horse that has only won on good to firm won’t want to see it raining heavily when their next race comes along.

Look through the form book to see on what ground a horse has put in its best performances. Also look at its pedigree to see what ground they were best at.

Going the Distance

Races are held over several distances. There are the sprint races beginning at five furlongs, through to stayers’ events at over two miles. Again, it is vital to do your research and see at what distance your possible selection has run at.

A horse that has been running over seven furlongs but been running on well in the final furlong, is likely to be effective over a mile. If they have been running out of steam in the final furlong, perhaps a drop to six furlongs is a good idea.

This is often a tricky situation for gamblers. For example, the Epsom Derby is run over a mile and a half. Many of the runners will never have run over a distance that far, the big question will be whether they will last out the additional furlongs.

Over the Jumps

When backing horses that are running over hurdles or fences, experience is important. Backing a horse that fell in its last race is possible but look at what the trainer has said about how that might affect the selection.

Course Specialists

There are some horses that show improved form when running on a particular track. Look at the form book and if a horse has previously won on that course, it’s a good sign. If a runner has shown below par form in previous races on the course, then it may again run a bad race.


The standard of jockey in the saddle is important. If your selection has a top jockey riding it, then that is important. It’s even more vital if a stable has several runners, the one chosen by their top jockey is a good indication of its chances of victory. If it is an amateur jockey’s race, it’s important to see just how experienced and successful the jockey is.

Back from a Break

Just like humans, horses need a break every now and then. Often when a horse makes its first appearance of the season, it may need the race and won’t be 100% fit. This may be the case if a horse has suffered an injury and hasn’t run for some time.

Some horses run best when fresh, again look at past form to see how a horse runs after it has had a break. Backing horses that have had busy schedules is also a factor to look out for. The upcoming race might be one too many and it won’t run to its best.

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