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Horse Racing Betting Strategy: Expert Strategies for Racing Betting

Dave Kuzio
Fact checked by: Mike McKean
Publish Date: 31.01.2024

Popular horse races attract celebrities and royalty to attend, highlighting the grandeur of these elite sporting events. As a betting favourite, we want to introduce you to this horse racing betting strategy page to bring value to your horse bets.

Every major bookmaker offers odds on horse racing as the sport is synonymous with betting. Whether you’re looking to wager on a renowned race or a more low-key affair, you should understand the best things to consider by reading through our tips as you build a competent approach to online horse racing bets.

Horse Racing Betting Strategies: Discover the Best Approaches

Creating a winning horse racing strategy takes some planning. When you gamble at the best horse racing betting sites, you’re sure of the best odds, good promotions, and responsible gambling tools to help you enjoy betting on the horses. After creating an account at one of these sites, here are some things to bear in mind as you put together your strategy for betting on horse racing:

❓ Get Familiar with the Terminology of Horses

Horse racing organisers and bookmakers tend to abbreviate almost everything on a racecard, which is fine if you have experience with betting on horse racing but can totally confuse you if you are yet to build your horse racing betting strategy.

Typically listed underneath the name of a horse is the jockey, the horse’s form, the weight of the horse, the colour of the jockey’s jersey, the number the horse will wear, the starting price and up-to-date odds, the horse’s age, and their overall rating. Then there are race terms, like the race type, the ‘going’ (ground condition), the distance, and others that are usually abbreviated. Getting to know these terms should be one of your first moves when developing effective horse racing betting strategies.

Key Horse Racing Betting Abbreviations: Know Your Horse

Here are some of the most common abbreviations you’re likely to see and an explanation of what they mean in relation to the horse in question:

N/RNon-Runner: The Horse has pulled out of the race and is no longer participating.
OROfficial Rating: Horses are scored and rated by the British Horseracing Authority.
BFBeaten Favourite: The horse lost their last race when they were expected to win.
RTF%Run to Form: A calculation of how many horses a trainer has performed as expected.
CCourse: Indicates that this horse has won at this course location before.
DDistance: The horse has won a race over the same length before.
CDCourse & Distance: Winner at this course and over this distance before.

Understanding the Type of Race

The recent table can give you a great deal of information concerning the form and status of the horse you plan to bet on, but the racecourse itself will display vital information that should play into your horse betting strategy.

Horses and jockeys perform better on some grounds and types of race than others. For example, if a horse has only run on flat ground before, even if they’ve been very successful doing so, they could struggle to adjust to hurdle racing, to begin with. Bear in mind the track conditions that a horse seems to prefer, too, which can make a world of difference.

To help create an effective horse racing betting strategy, you’ll find the shortened terms below for the ‘going’ of the course, meaning the ground conditions.The most experienced bettors consider this factor as part of their horse racing betting strategies.

🐎‘Going’ Shortened TermsWhat it Means
F (Fm)Firm
S (Sft)Soft
G (Gd)Good
Hy (Hvy)Heavy
StandStandard All-Weather

While we appreciate that there are many abbreviations involved in horse racing, understanding the finer details you’ll likely see on every racecard goes a long way to building an effective horse racing betting strategy.

🏇 Consider the Jockey and Trainer

A better jockey could be the difference between a win and a loss for your bet. Race experience is crucial to how a horse performs. Look out for a jockey who has won major events in the past, and keep an eye on their recent form too. A jockey who is new to the sport might not be able to handle the conditions as well and might not manage the race optimally. How well a trainer has bred winners in the past can also be a useful indicator for the future.

📕 Pay Attention to Expert Tips

The Racing Post and other reputable outlets have insightful pundits with great industry knowledge, and that includes our own team of expert punters. You should consider the advice of those with long experience in the market, which will help familiarise you with the market faster so that you can back your predictions more confidently and independently later.

Our site is a great place to start if you’re new. Our free tips always lean towards smart betting and won’t make any promises on big wins; we know that a “sure thing” doesn’t exist in any sport. You never know what can happen at the first hurdle to derail your bet, and a horse betting strategy should be able to adapt to that and anticipate it. In fact, some of our most complex betting strategies will guide you on the practicalities of quick decision-making features like cash out, which is found on many live betting sites. Just know that live betting on horse racing takes skill that you will acquire steadily in due time.

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Best Horse Racing Betting Strategies: A Wise Choice of Bets

Now that you understand what to look for when developing a horse racing betting strategy, there are specific bets you should consider that could interest you and offer good value on your stake. Here are three of our top choices you should explore to include in the best horse racing betting strategies:

Reverse Forecast – Flexibility for Placement of the Best Runners

A Tricast or Straight Forecast is a lot more difficult to predict because the horses must finish in a sequential order for your bet to win. However, a Reverse Forecast allows you to select your choices for the top two finishers, but they don’t have to finish in a particular order – they just have to finish in the top two. The odds you’ll be offered should be much greater than betting on one outright winner, but the likelihood will be more fancied than picking your top two in the correct order.

Each Way – Reduced Odds for a High Finish

If you choose to bet on a horse each way, it means that you’re essentially placing one bet for them to win and the same stake value for them to ‘place’, finishing in the top 2, 3, 4, or whatever position the bookmaker specifies they pay to for each way bets. This can serve as a useful backup plan for those who aren’t fully sure of their horse’s capabilities or perhaps give an outsider a chance of winning returns without necessarily needing to win the race outright.

Unbeaten’ Bets – Part of Specials

When it comes to a huge race event that lasts a week, and you’re already researching who’s riding and who you fancy backing, you might see ‘unbeaten’ bet options in the race section. Knowing that a jockey is looking strong, as the horses they are riding have solid trainers, you could opt for them to go unbeaten throughout the tournament at decent odds. A few variables come into play with this bet, but it’s worth considering if you feel strongly about their chances.Even the best horse racing betting strategy out there will have preferences for certain bets, but there are numerous ones to look for to generate value from your bet. Horse racing betting strategies take a lot of effort and time to devise, and knowing the savvy bets to put on could boost your bankroll as part of this plan.

Responsible Gambling: Stay Safe When Betting on Horse Racing

Building horse racing betting strategies is integral to any successful approach to online gambling. But you also need to consider responsible gambling to ensure that your horse racing betting remains fun and that you stay in control of your betting expenses.

All the best betting sites offer responsible gambling tools and pages on their websites to help those at risk of negative issues that could arise from excessive gambling. Taking your mental well-being and financial security is a primary concern for all concerned. Gambling should never come at the expense of your health, so only bet what you can afford to not add this stress to your life.

Our Verdict: Horse Racing Betting Strategies Improve Your Betting Experience

Devising a good horse racing betting strategy makes a lot of sense, and it can be done with a mix of both simple and complex strategizing. You will know when and how to bet, what riders to avoid, and generally get more value from your stake because of your increased knowledge of the sport.

Remember to stay on top of the latest updates in the industry to remain informed. Doing so means you’ll have a better chance at placing value bets. We feel that reverse forecasts, each-way bets, and ‘unbeaten’ specials for events are the most interesting types of bets on the market today that could be part of a decent strategy, but no matter which you choose, remember to always bet responsibly.

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Horse Racing Betting Strategy FAQ

🏇 What is the best horse racing betting strategy?

The best horse racing betting strategy ultimately is based on your preferences. Even so, knowing the basic market terms, recognising ground differences, and familiarising yourself with your horse’s strengths, its jockey and trainer can come a long way when you decide on your favourite bet type.

🧑‍🎓 What is the smartest bet in horse racing?

This will depend on the odds you are given, but generally, placing an outright win bet on a favourite may generate strong winnings more times than not. Putting a slight outsider on an each way bet (place in one of the top few positions) is also a decent bet to make. The more selections you choose for an accumulator, the less likely you are to win.

👏 How do you get successful at horse racing?

You need to develop a strategy to improve your winning chances when betting on the horses. Horse racing is no different to other sports in this aspect: lots of research is required. Without understanding the sport, the terminology, or what’s been happening lately, you are unlikely to be as successful with your bets.

🎲 What is the best bet for a beginner in horse racing?

We would say that a reverse forecast or a straight forecast bet is worth considering if you’re a beginner. While you are still navigating the complexities and nuances of the horse racing world, selecting two horses, in order or not, to win can provide more favourable conditions for a potential win.

How can I bet on horse racing without losing?

There is no guaranteed way to win every single bet; even when you develop and stick to successful horse racing betting strategies that deliver more wins than losses. The truth is that you stand a chance to lose every wager you place. Some losses might be deemed more obvious in advance than others, but the possibility of winning or losing is part of horse racing betting in general.