If you’re hoping to improve your sports betting results, it’s important to note that the favourites don’t always win in horse racing. But by taking some care to prepare, and with many races on every day, there is always the chance of making a profit.
Big horse racing spectacles come at a relentless pace, from the Pegasus World Cup and the Kentucky Derby at the end of April to the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
In the UK, huge festivals like Cheltenham, the Derby at Epsom or the Grand National at Aintree are all anticipated keenly by racing and sports betting fans.
However, it’s not as easy as some think to pick the right horses. So, to help you select some winners in the many exciting races available, here are some useful tips to take on board.
Pick your horses wisely
A race horse’s breeding pedigree is undoubtedly important. It’s why former champions like Frankel fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds a time at stud.
It’s not a guarantee of success, of course. But good trainers know how to keep hold of their promising horses, which is why the top yards tend to be successful more often than others.
As race day approaches, a lot of things can affect how a horse runs. First you need to check how successful it is over the distance. Maybe the upcoming race is a furlong or two further than its ideal distance? That might make a difference.
What are the conditions? Some horses prefer good going and do not do so well when the going is soft. Take note of any handicap weight added to the horse for the race.
Some jockeys seem to get more out of a horse than others, so check to see if the jockey has had previous success with his ride.
Don’t just bet on the favourites
Horse racing is one of the most unpredictable sports. While some have far better pedigrees and appear to be in good form, racing does turn up surprises. This is especially true in jump racing, where one error can lead to a fall or the rider being unseated.
It might be something as simple as the horse simply having an off day.
Sometimes it is profitable to look at who is second favourite. In larger fields, think about not backing a winner, but betting on a horse to place. This means you get some winnings if the hose finishes in the top two to five places, depending on the number of runners. If your selection wins you generally make a nice profit, but even if it places you should at least get your money back.
Study tipsters at the big festivals
While race meetings happen every day of the year, it’s the big events like the Belmont Stakes or Epsom Derby where you might profit most.
That’s because you can read up on the advice from many professional tipsters who offer their services in the media. Keep a note of their favourite picks and you might see the same horse cropping up time and again. If so, you know you might be on to a winner.
The bookies are also prone to adding incentivising promotions during the big race meetings. Keep an eye out for offers of free bets – a great way to boost your profits and no risk.
Use betting exchanges
While mainstream sportsbooks are a good place to find odds on your chosen race, make sure you take a look at the betting exchanges, too. Often you will get better, more competitive odds at a betting exchange, where it’s the punters who offer the odds to each other.
If you have done your research, you can often take advantage of someone else’s lack of knowledge, and take a bet with great odds that you won’t find anywhere else.
Maintain good records
Keeping detailed records of your horse racing bets means you are always on top of what you are spending and how much you win or lose.
It allows you to employ proper bankroll management, betting only what you can afford. And it can also help you monitor particular horses, so that when they next race, you already have key stats to hand.