When it comes to horse racing, there is a lot to enjoy. There is also a lot to learn, and the learning curve can prove to be a bit steep for some. In order to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed as you try to get in on the action, we have put together a list of the seven things you should know about horse racing before betting.
1. Race Types
There are two main types of race in the UK – flat racing and National Hunt racing. During a flat race, the horses competing run against each other across a curved, flat course. During National Hunt races, the horses and their jockeys have hurdles and other barriers to clear as they run the course.
2. Horses for Courses
Just like in tennis, where some players prefer clay to grass, or indoor to outdoor, horses too have a surface or ‘going’ that they prefer to race on and on which they perform at their best. Some horses race best on ground that is firm, whilst others prefer something a little softer underfoot. You should keep this mind when considering which horses, races and courses to bet on.
3. Bet Types
There are a range of different bet types to take into account when you are looking to lay down a stake. The easiest way to start is simply to pick winners- that is to put your money down on the horse you think is most likely to win the race. As you get into the sport and become more seasoned and knowledgeable you can start betting on the horses in the top fishing spots and even those who you think look set to lose.
The combinations are endless when it comes to betting on the horses, and once you have the basics in hand you will be putting on more interesting and informed bets that will increase the fun and your chances of winning.
4. Form Counts
Just like you would with footballers and their teams, it is important to keep an eye on the horse’s performance in the days and weeks before the race that you are intending to bet on. Tracking prior performance will help you to judge how well a horse is likely to run.
5. Think Ahead
The fun of the races requires some preparation (and we’re not just talking about the sun cream), get yourself a copy of the race program when you arrive as this will have all of the information you need about the day’s races, like taking a look through the upcoming racing previews on The Winners Enclosure. It is also a good idea to take some binoculars as well, as getting a spot right at the side of the course is unlikely.
6. Know Your Limits
Horse racing is a quick paced and exciting sport to bet on, and it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and the emotion of the races. Make sure that you set a limit on the amount you want to bet before you begin, and stop once that limit is reached.
7. Ante Post Bets
There is some risk with ante post bets, but if you do your homework, you are likely to find yourself backing a winner. These are bets that are placed before the event – usually the day before – and offer better odds. However, if your horse does not run in the race, then you will have lost your stake.
Also read: Setting Straight The 5 Biggest Horse Racing Myths