Finding a winner in any horse race is like solving a puzzle. There are a number of variables that will influence the performance of each horse in every race, and understanding these factors is essential to maximizing the chances of backing a winner.
Below are a number of the main things to assess before placing a bet:
Understanding Track Conditions
The majority of horse racing in Australia is done on grass racetracks. Horses perform differently dependent on the track conditions, and an understanding of the rating system is crucial.
The ratings are:
Firm tracks are not common in modern racing. A Firm 1 rating indicates that the track is rock-hard and fast times are expected. However, firm tracks are not good for horses as some do not gallop freely as the track is too hard and hurts their legs, while trainers are reluctant to run their gallopers in these conditions due to a fear of injury and the length of time it will take for the horses to recover.
A Good track is a dry surface that is not too hard and has some “give it in” The ratings vary from a Good 2 (harder) to a Good 4 (softer). A Good 4 is the optimum surface for racing and is widely accepted as the fairest track conditions to enable horses to give their best
Soft track conditions occur when the track is rain affected. Ratings vary from a Soft 5 (slightly rain affected) to a Soft 7 (wetter), and these conditions suit some horses and not others. Some gallopers enjoy the “give” in the ground while others struggle.
Heavy tracks are significantly affected by rain. They vary from a Heavy 8 (muddy) to a Heavy 10 (bottomless) and are common through the winter months. Race meetings are often called off when the tracks are Heavy as trainers are reluctant to race their horses in these conditions as they are too taxing on their mounts. However, some horses thrive in these conditions, and “swimmers” can be profitable in heavy conditions.
Horse racing is no different from other sports in that there are stars, competent performers and others who are not that good! This is particularly evident when it comes to jockeys and trainers. The key is identifying who is who!
Statistical data is readily available on the performance of jockeys and it makes interesting reading. High-profile premiership-winning jockeys such as James McDonald (Sydney), William Pike (Perth) and Jamie Kah (Melbourne) ride a lot of winners on an almost weekly basis.
Critics say that they ride the best horses and should be riding winners, but the reality is that they put their mounts in the best spots to give them every chance to win. When doing the form, any horse rider by the leading jockey must be respected.
The second-tier jockeys are where the value can be found. They may not get the best horses to ride, but they can go through periods of good form where they outperform market expectations. Some jockeys may only get one or two rides that are realistic chances of winning on a race day and a host of outsiders. If those horses continually perform well, the jockey will be worth following.
Exploring Exotic Bets
Horse racing betting has traditionally involved placing WIN, PLACE or EACH WAY bets. However, exotic bet types such as QUINELLA, EXACTA, TRIFECTA, FIRST 4 and SAME RACE MULTIS have become more popular in recent times. All of these bet types involve betting on outcomes that involve the performance of more than one horse in a race or multiple races.
The appeal of exotic bet types is that they offer a chance of a big return for a smaller outlay and are worth investigating for serious punters.
Money Management Strategies
While doing the form and identifying the winning chances of horses is crucial to being a winner punter, so too is having a money management plan. When the inevitable bad run of luck comes (every punter has them), a staking plan will keep you in the game and ready to go when the luck changes.
Experts recommend that a percentage of the betting bank is wagered on any one bet, with numbers varying between 1-5% as a guide. For example, if 2% of the bank is wagered on each bet, it will take 50 consecutive losses to wipe out the bank. Now that’s a run of losses.
Evaluating Odds and Value
The idea of “value” in horse racing today is nearly as old as horse racing itself. Before placing a bet, the odds of a particular galloper need to be assessed.
For example, superstar WINX would often start at odds of around $1.10. A $10 bet on WINX would return $11, a profit of $1. This is hardly a King’s ransom but when you consider that the mare was unlikely to lose that was considered “fair odds”.
In contrast, a horse that has never won a race and has a poor jockey riding him may jump as a $50-1 chance in a country race. A bet of $10 would return $500 if the horse won. The horse doesn’t win and finishes last again. This is hardly good value despite the big odds on offer.
Staying Up-to-Date with News and Trends
Horse racing is a fluid industry with constant racing. To be successful, it is important to stay up to date with all the recent results and news, which may also provide an edge when doing the form. Who are the trainers that are in form? Which jockey is riding the most winners? What overseas horse is coming to Australia for the big races?
Keeping track of this information will get you closer to finding a winner!
With horse racing taking place in Australia every day of the year (except Christmas Day), there are a lot of opportunities for bettors who are prepared to do their research and maintain their discipline. This involves analysis of past racing results as well as jockey performance and track conditions. Once the research has been done, it is then important to choose the right online sports bookmaker to place your bets.
The Palmer family have been bookmakers in NSW for three generations and through their online business Palmerbet they offer a mix of modern technology with old-school service. Their website features a range of betting markets as well as up-to-date news and previews on their betting blog.
Visit their website at Palmerbet.com or download the Palmerbet app via the App Store. It takes less than 5 minutes to sign up. You will be pleased you did!