Is There Really a ‘System’ in Horse Racing Betting?


If you’re into horse racing, you probably will have developed your own technique for picking your runner ahead of a big race. Whether it is a case of simply checking course and distance form or opting for a horse that you have watched before, every racing fan has a different style for selecting a winner. Rain or shine, heavy going or firm, National Hunt or flat, there is no incorrect method for picking a horse – as shown in Derren Brown’s “The System”.

In fact, there are various factors that can influence your decision when backing a horse. Reading tips from fellow punters and tipsters can earn dividends in the short term but in bigger fields, particularly at festivals and major meetings, this might not be the best option. We took a look at a few different techniques and methods that bettors choose to adopt when selecting horses on a racing card.

Favourite Number or Color

One of the oldest methods in the book and a favorite with ‘once a year’ punters for the Grand National and other big races, choosing a runner based on colour or number is an interesting technique. For those who enjoy the fun and excitement of a day at the races, this is arguably the best method – especially as every runner will have some kind of meaning to you.

By the same token, punters can decide to choose a horse purely because of its name. As an example, if your name is Robert you might want to back Boston Bob for the Cheltenham Gold Cup – who knows, that could bring you some added luck on race day. Choosing your favourite color, number or name could prove to be the best way to go with a bit of luck…

Going Solely off Past Form

Basing your selections on a horse’s form is a tried and tested method. Say you have a horse who loves Haydock Park: monitor that horse and see if the trainer enters it at Haydock again. You do get the odd trainer and horse combination that succeed at certain courses: for example, Clan Legend always seems to relish competing at Ayr – it just seems to go that way sometimes.

Course and distance form is an excellent indicator ahead of a big race but it isn’t the be all and end all. Just because a horse has won at that venue before doesn’t necessarily mean that it will win again. Monitoring weights is also key to selecting a winner; especially ahead of major meetings.

Taking Advice

The best people to listen to most of the time are tipping pages and racing experts. If you are watching ITV or At The Races and hear about an interesting horse, it might be worth keeping an eye on its progress. After all, these guys have experience in the industry and have a solid knowledge of the wider racing community.

Whether it is Nick Luck or Luke Harvey, you should always listen to what they have to say. In addition, tipping pages, such as The Winners Enclosure, are also well worth a follow on social media. Last month, they went on a winning run for NAPs (or best bet) of the day and punters can see here for the latest tips and news ahead of big races. Listening to these guys and the At The Races panel isn’t quite like taking tips from psychological illusionist Derren Brown, but it can prove prudent and successful.

You Can Back Favorites, Too…

You don’t have to back outsiders. If a horse is priced as the market leader, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bet on it. If the form looks good and the horse is justifiably there at the top of the betting, go for it. The main thing is not to back favorites for the sake of backing favorites – being a favorite doesn’t mean that it is going to win!

Some favorites deserve to be backed but others are just too short. Imagine backing a 1/10 shot and it loses. That has happened a few times over the years; don’t let it happen to you. Make sure to assess your favorites and selections before placing your bets and good luck!

Image Sources:  Haydock Park via Facebook and Facebook