Horse Racing Betting Strategy 

Published: 4th August 2018
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: 3rd February 2021
Horse Racing Betting Strategy graphic

Horse Racing Betting Strategy

Every business – and betting is no different – requires a strategy if you plan on being successful at it.

When it comes to placing bets on horse racing, an understanding of the very sport is the basic requirement. This beautiful sport offers great thrills for those who watch it from the race track stands, and on a TV, while excitement goes through the roof when you place a bet or two to spice it all up.

Horse Racing is a sport which boasts one of the biggest sports markets for bettors in the world and it is a betting discipline which you can be bet on in a variety of ways. Being one of the most bet on sports that exits, with millions of people betting every single day, this betting strategy may be worth taking a look at. And just like in any other sport, placing bets on the horses is much more than just finding a horse you want to back up with a bet. If you want to get yourself the best possible chance to win some money off placing bets on the horses – a plan, system and a strategy are required.

Placing bets on the horses can be an extremely thrilling hobby and it can be made even more exciting when you adding funds to your bankroll. If done correctly, wagering on the horses can lead to some massive payouts even from small stakes.

With each event hosting over ten horses, the probability of picking the winning horses can be a tough task. However, there are plenty of people – tipsters – and other professionals that know a lot about placing bets on the horses and you can often find their tips available on bookmakers platforms and online. These professionals will take into account various factors including the horses’ current form, the tracks condition and the probability.

For a full understanding of betting on the horses an understanding of yourselves as horse racing tipster is needed. If you are a casual bettor who does it for the thrill, then you won’t mind grinding out a profit through playing straight bets. However, if you are one of those who likes to hit it big – then you need to know how to do it.

Horse Racing Tips

  • Find the best value bets
  • Stick to your bankroll
  • Be selective of your bets
  • Know your odds
  • Keep records of bets (races)

Five aforementioned points of a successful horse racing betting strategy are mutually connected and intertwined, which means that the whole deal will not work correctly if you do not follow through all the steps.

Odds Price

Finding the best prices available is easily done through managing multiple online sportsbook sites with bookies like Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power or any other top-class bookmaker. With a wide range of races and markets out there, comparisons can be golden as it will allow you to find those small differences that make it a great deal in the end. For instance, the same horse can be offered 5/1, 6/1 or 10/1 to win and it is up to you to go through the lists to find the best value and not stick to just the first offer you run into.

Finding the best odds will allow you to take better care of your bankroll as it will allow you to have better management of your money. First and foremost, we assume you will have established a bankroll for horse racing betting and a limit you are unwilling to go beyond. Most bettors tend to disregard the importance of having a bankroll, but in horse racing betting this aspect of the entire procedure is of paramount importance. The last thing you want to do is to reload your account every time you lose a bet, which will end in you losing track of the money you have spent and lost. And that is not the way you want to go. We understand this can be difficult sometimes, especially around key events like Cheltenham Festival or the Grand National, as searching for the best odds can be a pain when in reality you just want to be able to place bets on multiple races in an event and watch the action unfold. However, if you are very keen on wanting the best winnings, even if it is just ever so slightly, then locating the best odds is the way to go about it.

Select the money you want to spend and select the bet you want to take. Wagering on the first race that comes your way is not a strategic way to go through horse racing markets, as it will hardly yield any results. Do your research, bet on horses you know about, on races and venues you know about. Decide if you are going to bet on flat sprint races or longer chases, analyse your horse’s performance, compare it to competition and make your call. In short, make a knowledgeable selection.

When the foundations are set, understand the odds you are betting with and differentiate fixed odds betting from pari-mutuel betting to make sure your previous plans will not fall dead in the water as soon as you begin. Fixed odds bets are those with payouts that are agreed at the time a bet is made and will not change throughout the race, whereas the pari-mutuel betting is the contrast to the fixed-odds system. It is controlled by a ‘tote’ system which accounts for all the money in the betting pool and determines the potential payout odds by removing the house cut. The main difference to fixed-odds betting is that you have no idea of the payouts until the betting pool is closed.

When your race is over – whether you win the bet or have lost it – make sure to keep track of it. It is a vital way to keep track of your wins and gains, but it also provides deeper insight into horses and races that can offer a statistical view further on as it will help you improve your choices.

  • Ante-post management
  • Each Way management
  • Back multiple runners
  • Horse laying

When you have made sure to have it all prepared in terms of strategies and plans you need to keep your head above water during horse racing betting, it is time to dig into some more detailed bet strategies which are related to races themselves.

Dutching/ Backing Multiple Runners

This is a horse racing strategy that you do not hear of often. It is a complex method to perform to some extent and you need to take a look at different options and outcomes. You also then need to compare that against a range of online bookmakers and then place a number of bets that are going to ensure that you have a very slim chance of losing at the end of it all. Yes, you may be thinking, if you are placing a range of different bets, is it worth it because you are placing bets a lot of different outcomes where some are guaranteed to lose. However, the profit you make at the end of it will be higher than what you have wagered in total. This is a very long process and takes a lot of working out, which is why a lot of players will just avoid it.

Backing multiple runners is one of the most effective methods to maximise profits on horse racing betting and minimising losses. It’s all about backing between two and four runners, by hitting hard at a favourite horse and a couple of back-up bets on other selections. It involves different stakes at different selections as this system allows you to cover losses and still net some decent profit. This long process can eventually see you getting profits over time.

Ante-Post Markets

Ante-Post bets are an extremely popular in type of horse racing bets, as bookies rush to offer the best possible odds upfront, before the races actually start, so selecting the best value out of these can yield some pretty great results despite the chances you take.

Each Way Markets

Horse racing each way betting is another way to make sure you have a bigger chance of winning at horse racing betting. It requires two separate bets with tote bookmakers with half of your stake places to win, and the other half of the stake on the place bet.

Horse Lay Markets

Ultimately, another good option to go by with horse racing betting is to lay your horse in a statistical manner as you get to bet against a runner, there is a selection of horse racing betting sites which allow you to the lay your bets such as Betfair. It works best in races with ten and more runners where you will identify several favourites, check their odds and lay against the one with lowest odds. Doing this will bring your winning potential to 80% which is a good strategy to win, we will agree. Laying against the favourite is more of a risky strategy, however, it will be more profitable. Therefore, if you have done the correct research, it may just work for you.

Backing the Favourite

Backing the favourite is a strategy that a lot of inexperienced horse racing bettors follow. A lot of punters that just bet on horse racing without any real strategy, will straight away go for the favourite of the race, as in a lot of cases, the favourite does win. Although that in itself is still a risk as it is not always the case, there is also something else to consider which will make you want to do a bit more research into the horses racing. Even when backing the clear favourite, you should take into consideration the type of track as they vary in a number of ways and specific horses will prefer certain types of tracks. For example, some horses will prefer dirt tracks while other horses perform better on flat tracks.

Some bookmakers can sometimes take it upon themselves to give a false favourite for a race. They will purposely label a horse as the favourite for a race when in fact they do not have the best-predicted chance of winning.

The reason they do this is to trick customers into backing the false favourite, hoping that the actual favourite wins and therefore the bookmaker can happily keep your original stakes if the actual favourite does win. This is why it is worth looking deeper into races, bet tips, analysing form guides, statistics, and other strategies. Other bet systems may say that you will be better off placing bets on both the false favourite and also the actual favourite that other bookmakers are offering, or even the second favourite on the same bookmaker.

Our Horse Racing Strategies Summary

Now that you have seen all the different types of bet strategies when placing bets on the horses, you can come to a decision on which one you will use. We have highlighted the pros and cons of each strategy, so you have a better understanding of what you are facing, especially for those of you who have never placed a bet on a horse event.

These days, bookmakers offer a lot of information regarding horse running events, which include the horses’ history, modern form and previous positions. To summarise, we think that no matter what strategy you end up choosing you should get into the habit of doing your research. Learn about the jockeys, the trainers and the previous winners of the track in question. And if you want a second opinion, you always have professional bettors to help you. We feel that if you follow our simple tips and strategies, you will have the best chances of winning and having the best experience.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.