People really do waste a lot of cash on horse racing gambling. That’ll be why the bookies live in mansions while gamblers live in flats. I’ve never quite understood why people bet so much, when if they did more research, they’d be able to pick and choose the right races and the right horses. Here are my top 5 tips for betting on horse racing.
1 – Stick to your gameplan
What’s that? You don’t have a game plan? Well, find one. I knew of an Australian whose system involved a basic stake that he would double with every loss. Given the chances of finding at least one winner in every ten races (if every race has ten horses), then all losses should be covered. However, you have to be aware of a) your basic stake and b) your total potential losses. Imagine going 10 races without a win, and the amount that you would then have to stake in the eleventh race – can you afford to use this system?
Your game plan may be to stick to favorites throughout the day – or alternatively, your gameplan maybe, as I did in France, to whittle each field down to five horses. I used what is known in France as the “Success Coefficient”, available in the racing newspapers, which estimates your chances of success. 90% of winners came from that top 5, so it was a useful guide. In French racing, that’s the way to go – in the UK, it’s a little harder, but you’ll find your own way of whittling down the list and excluding horses.
2 – Remember the old adage, it’s “horses for courses”
Clever gamblers keep an eye on stables, horses, and courses, and they know which combination works best. You will find, if you look back at a horse’s previous races, that a horse may prefer a right-handed turn or a left-handed turn. They may prefer uphill or downhill finishes, and they may prefer certain distances. They all have a preference for a certain type of going. All of this information is freely available in the racing newspapers – so arm yourself with a) the information of the day – type of course and type of ‘going’, i.e. the condition of the course, and b) the past records of each horse. Match the two and there you have it – you have a shortlist. It’s not foolproof, things can go awry on the day, but play your chances and you’ll improve your win rate.
3 – Bet online to get better odds
Going to a racecourse takes away one of your weapons – stealth. Bookmaker offers vary these days, and many are actually not worth taking up – but if, for example, you take up a bet 10 get 20 offer, then the bookmaker will give you a free bet worth £20 if you bet £10. This allows you to cover your potential losses by backing two horses, or triple your potential winnings by backing the same horse.
There are hundreds of free bets available, but each one comes with strings attached – if you follow the terms & conditions, you will end up with more money to bet with, and a wider choice of odds so that you can pick and choose between bookmakers. One may be offering 7/1, but another may be as long as 9/1 – it’s up to you to find them!
4 – Watch your horses in the paddock, and then bet
There are plenty of seasoned gamblers who do this. The fact that they are seasoned gamblers and not rich men living in mansions should tell you that it’s perhaps not the only tactic to try at a racecourse, but it does give you a clue as to the condition of the horse. Take your shortlist and look at which horses look the most “perky” – which ones look lively and ready for the race. Do any of these horses look tired? Or are they working up a sweat too soon?
5 – Don’t get fancy, keep it simple
Too many people, after a couple of losses, start to lose their method and start trying different bets, such as reverse forecasts, in which they predict the first two, or trios, in which they predict the first three. These are ever more skewed towards the bookmaker, and it’s very hard to predict which horses come after the winner. Ideally, if you are going for each-way bets, look for consistent horses, and if you are going for reverse forecasts, keep the bets down to fields of fewer than 10 horses. Don’t over-extend yourself – keep it simple, keep to the bets you understand, and you’ll be able to build on that.