Professional betting on horse-racing is more complex than other sports. To be successful you will need in-depth knowledge, loads of composure, and the ability to get bets down. In this tutorial “How to win betting on horses in 2021 and beyond”, we detail and discuss considerations:
SPORTS MODELLING IS MORE DIFFICULT FOR HORSE-RACING – WIN BETTING HORSES IN 2021
The first thing we would like to say for win betting horses in 2021, is applying sports-modeling to horse racing isn’t straight forward, and that’s particularly the case with UK/Irish/French racing. Obvious reasons include:
- Massive horse pool – difficult to track all runners and have an accurate comparison.
- Courses – No one rule for all, in that every racetrack is unique. Courses can ride differently depending on the weather and the jockey’s ability to find the best ground.
- Ground conditions – Accurate going reports are almost impossible to find, and the ground will change during a day of racing. The benefits of the draw are also dependent on the ground.
- Weights/Rating – In handicaps, for example, some horses are better giving weight to moderate runners, and vice versa. Weight is one of the biggest factors in racing.
- Draw – What can look like a good draw might not be the case. A hold-up horse might find a good draw works against, whereas a front-runner would have a bigger advantage.
- Pace of race – Too many front runners will cut each other’s throat, whereas no front runners could make for a false pace and have runners pulling for their heads.
- Distance – A mile at one track isn’t like a mile at another. Take all factors into consideration before deciding the horse’s ability at an exact trip.
- Form book – Look into the consistency of each runner. Are they in & out types, and how are they affected by the factors we already mentioned.
- Jockey – Different jockeys suit different types of horses. Take into consideration riding styles, and whether jockeys had other choices in the same race.
- Trainer form – If a stable is running into form a runner might improve and vice versa. Be analytical when looking at performances of other runners from the same yard.
- Time of year – With older horses, there is often a time of the year when they peak. Looking through each runner’s profile is a good guide.
- Fit & Ready – How do individuals run following a break. Do they need a run or more before they are fully fit, or are they best when racing fresh?
Above are just some of the factors involved in racing, so you can imagine how difficult it is to put them in a sports-modeling algorithm. With that said, the same works better for racing in Hong Kong because they only have two tracks and a pool of around 2000 horses. Back in1984 Bill Benter and Alan Woods built software that earned them over $1 billion from betting on HK races!
Sports-modelling works better for sports like Tennis because it’s a one-on-one! In this instance, the main factors are past head-to-heads, player rankings, motivation, surface, fitness (injuries), body language, traveling, weather, and proximity of the last tournament.
RISK MANAGEMENT & HOW TO GET AROUND IT
The main tool online bookmakers have against professional gamblers is “risk management”. It’s the risk manager’s job to stop the company from losing, and that’s achieved by limiting or closing winning accounts. Professional punters understand this, and in this situation, their main challenge is avoiding detection. To do that, pro-gamblers might:
- Buy-in third party betting accounts. A pro-gambler pays a gnome (yep – that’s what they are commonly called) for allowing them to open betting accounts under their name. Use your imagination, I won’t go into detail!
- Spreading stakes through betting shops. Organisations send out runners to place bets on their behalf, and these runners are paid a commission (around 3% on turnover) for staying below the radar and getting bets down.
- Nearly every pro-gambler uses betting exchanges, and that’s especially the case for horse racing. In the UK, Betfair, Matchbook, and Betdaq are interesting ones, but there are others in Asia. PS – Betting agents provide betting exchange accounts with a lower commission. If you are betting big volumes rather than trading, direct contact with the Premium account managers can lower the commission!
- Using VIP accounts. If you can find someone who lost a lot of money to bookmakers, they probably have VIP status and that means higher limits. When trusted, these accounts are worth profit share to Pro gamblers.
- The other possibility is to visit the racecourse. It’s easier to spread stakes between on-course bookmakers, and most will lay a fair sum!
RACEHORSE POOL UK/IRE/FRANCE
According to the British horse racing board, there are around 14,000 horses registered to race in the UK. This number doesn’t include ponies or those racing outside of rules. Over the past decade, the number of registrations was between 12,400 and 15,600, thus the 14K is a medium. Registrations are split between Flat, National Hunt, and dual-purpose racing (both flat + NH).
In 2019, Ireland had 8949 racehorses registered to 3289 registered owners. The racehorse number was up 3% on the previous year, and new owner registrations were 6.8% higher. In France, the number of registered thoroughbred horses in training was around 9500, but on top of that, there was mixed blood and Arab racehorses. The total number would be near to that of the UK, and again racing is split into three categories.
In the UK, Ireland, and France no two racecourses are alike. While there are some similarities, the contours, circumference (left/right-handed), and undulations will vary. Despite that, we still believe it’s a good idea to group courses and to do that you need to consider the following:
Circumference (which way) – Most tracks are either right-handed or left-handed. The exceptions are figure of eight tracks such as Windsor or Fontwell (chase course). Some horses have a distinct preference, a profile check should give answers!
Course contours – Some tracks are what we call undulating, which according to the Oxford dictionary means having a smoothly rising and falling form or outline. In other words, they are uneven. Other tracks might race downhill in one direction, and then uphill in the opposite, while others are flatter. Do your research, here is a few examples. Undulating courses include Market Rasen, Epsom, Brighton, Fontwell, Plumpton & Newmarket. Courses that are generally flat include York, Redcar, Doncaster, Yarmouth, Haydock & Warwick.
The course bends – The two classifications are sharp or galloping. The latter is likely to suit big long-striding horses, whereas smaller/nippy types are best equipped for tight bends. To learn more look at course maps and watch races.
Stamina requirements – If a course has a stiff uphill finish look for a runner who stays further. Examples of stiff tracks are Carlisle, Towcester, Leicester, and Pontefract. Runners with circumspect stamina are best at easy tracks such as Redcar, Thirsk, Catterick, Fakenham, and Musselburgh.
Prominent or closers – If you watch a lot of racing you will soon understand track bias. The fact is some tracks suit, front runners, while others are better for those who come from behind. Pay particular attention to and extremities, here is a shortlist to get started. Prominent flat racers do well at Redcar, Chester, Catterick, Musselburgh, Haydock, Bath, and Yarmouth. For National Hunt, those racing with the pace will benefit from racing at Catterick, Musselburgh, Haydock, Kempton (jumps), Huntingdon, Perth, Stratford, Uttoxeter, and Ludlow. Hold-up runners do well at Sandown, Kelso, Market Rasen, Salisbury & Towcester.
Draw bias – Ground conditions could affect bias, so watch out for that. A start box which is an advantage on the fast ground might become a disadvantage on the testing ground! A good draw for a hold-up horse will often be a disadvantage (traffic problems), whereas a front runner will be particularly favoured by a good draw (doesn’t need to work for lead).
Hurdles/Fences – At tracks such as Sandown (railway fences), Ascot (stiff), Haydock (big), Cheltenham (undulations), Fakenham (low-grade of runners), Taunton and Musselburgh (both badly placed) the fences are quite difficult. Lower casualty tracks (fall/unseated rider) include Carlisle, Sedgefield, Warwick, Hexham, Aintree, Fontwell, & Bangor. Jumping errors are costly in racing, so even if they don’t fall mistakes will lead to poor performance!
WEIGHT & HANDICAP MARK
Following 2-3 runs all racehorses are allocated a handicap mark. This is a performance rating given by the handicapper and based on his opinion. We as professional gamblers do not have to agree with this opinion, and nor do the bookmakers. However, in a handicap race, this number will dictate what weight each runner has to carry. For example, if horse A is rated 80 and horse B 75, horse A would be asked to carry five pounds more than horse B in the same race. The runner with the highest rating carries top weight, and the one with the lowest rating is given the least weight. This can only change when a horse is younger and it receives a weight for age allowance.
The handicapping system works like this, when a horse wins a handicap it is usually given a higher handicap mark for its next race. Depending on the handicapper’s viewpoint, this could also apply to the placed runners. Those finishing down the field are likely to be given a lower mark for their next race. The idea behind handicapping is to give all runners a chance, and they do that by adjusting weights based on performance.
Horses with higher ratings qualify for better handicap races with bigger prize money. About 50% of UK and Irish races are handicaps, the others have different conditions.
The last thing we want to mention about weights is some horses are better at giving weight to lower class runners, while others perform better when they are receiving weight from supposedly better horses. A look through a runner’s profile will help with evaluating performance.
GROUND CONDITIONS ARE A BIG FACTOR – WATCH & POUNCE
The ground can be a massive factor in racing, and that’s especially the case when it goes extreme. For us, extreme is heavy or hard ground, but especially the first mentioned.
If the ground changes and trainers are not happy, they have the option to withdraw. However, in most cases, they will allow runners to race knowing a poor run can pay long-term dividends. The handicapping system works like this, when a runner is down the field it will receive a lower rating for future races. Imagine this scenario of a horse who only won on heavy ground…
During dry weather, it races 5 times on fast ground, and every time it finishers down the field. For those poor efforts, the handicapper dropped it 3 pounds per race, thus in the interim, its mark went from 80 to 65. On the day of its next race it rains heavily and the ground changes from good to heavy, now you have a well-handicapped runner racing on it’s favoured ground. Furthermore, chances are others who would prefer a better surface, and they are likely to run below their best level.
With regards to betting, if a proven heavy ground runner would be 10/1 for a race on good ground the bookmakers are likely to open up at 7/1 on its favoured ground. Once the professionals start taking those odds they will drop again, and chances are they will finish nearer 3/1!
When you look through a horse’s profile you will soon see on which ground it performs best. Suggestion, use the PM (postmark) of the racing post if you are still learning about form!
RACE DISTANCE – HOW TO WIN BETTING ON HORSES
It’s not always easy to identify each runners best distance, and it might change as they age or start to mix codes (flat & national hunt racing). However, it’s one of the most important factors.
Take all contingencies into consideration because a mile at one track is different to a mile at another track. If the ground is fast there will be less emphasis on stamina, whereas the opposite is true when it becomes heavy. Aim to figure out the effect of pace, and what to expect in different sized fields.
Take note, younger horses tend to start racing over the minimum trip. Although not illegal, some trainers specialise in getting inmates handicapped over the wrong distance, and then at a later date exploit a favourable handicap mark. Trainers such as Sir Mark Prescott are guilty of such, albeit within the rules of racing!
Study form, consider breeding, and watch videos to get a better understanding of distance!
FORMBOOK CONSIDERATIONS – PROFILE CHECKING
Horse racing isn’t an exact science, and you need to accept they are not machines. While some are more predictable than others, it’s the variants that make horse racing a real challenge.
The best way to judge races is to watch plenty of live racing, and use video replays for reference. At the same time use the form book (racing post), and consider all the information it provides.
Here are a few tips & tricks from a pro-gambler to win betting horses in 2021:
Consider time between races – Some are best with plenty of time between races, others benefit from racing more frequently.
Time of year – Look at a horse’s profile to figure out if it’s better at a certain time of the year. You might be surprised by your findings. PS – This applies particularly to Fillies & mares.
Trainer form – Stables have peaks and troughs, consider how trainers horses are running. Recent form is the best indicator, although to be properly informed you need to consider odds & expectancy.
Travelling to track – Some horses don’t mind travelling long distances, others do. Consider course proximity, and how they travelled similar distances in the past.
Course form – Look for past performances on the same track, the CD (course and distance winner) tick is a bonus. Also, consider form at similar tracks, and whether going in the same direction.
Ground form – As mentioned, know your horse. Do your research about a runner’s ability to race on the ground it’s going to be encountering.
Number of runners – Some horses are better in races with lots of runners, others don’t like being crowded. Also, big fields tend to run faster, whereas small fields don’t suit all!
Front runners – If you are betting a front-runner an easy lead is more possible if no other front-runner is in the race – Research the others!
Hold up horses – Usually benefit from a strong pace, and some tracks suit this style more than others.
Other factors – Change of stables, runs better for a certain jockey, recent wind operation, added aides (blinkers/visor, etc), and type of race (apprentice/amateurs) are worth a mention.
JOCKEY- WIN BETTING HORSES IN 2021
A top jockey riding is a bonus, and that’s especially the case when they are turning up to ride in just one race. Claiming jockeys can also be a big bonus as weight is an important factor to win betting horses in 2021. It’s fair to say we prefer some jockeys to others, but most important is understanding which jockey suits best!
Weight counts for more over longer trips and on testing ground. Suffice to say, in such circumstances having a good 7-pound claimer is positive.
It’s worth mentioning some jockeys suit front-runners better than hold-up horses, and vice versa.
Watch for jockeys who don’t always try. Many go through the motions in low prize races, you want your jockey to be motivated.
We also look for jockeys who excel in different categories. Sprints, long-distance, handicaps, hurdles, chasers, heavy ground are a few examples.
Jockeys might be better at some tracks compared to others. Some are tactically better, whereas others are stronger.
BETTING VALUE – MUST HAVE
Professional gamblers demand value odds! Never sell yourself short because bets are like buses in that the next one will come shortly! Odds are crucial to win betting horses in 2021!
Getting on early is like playing the futures market, in that we are second-guessing conditions at post time. When betting early we have certain information at hand, but it might all change. Non-runners, ground conditions, or a jockey injury might play a part. In any case, betting early can make you look either very smart or very stupid!
What will likely affect odds:
- Weight of money – Punters can be like sheep, and if one of the runners is being punted you might find more value.
- Non-runners – If the favourite is out the value might be gone. Losing a front runner could work for or against!
- Changing ground – We are all wiser at post time and having watched a few races, often a game-changer.
- How earlier races were run – Where they won from the front/behind. What about the draw, tactics, or stamina!
- Jockey trends – If a rider won earlier races he/she might get a following who force the odds down (supply and demand)
- Horse’s behaviour – Parade ring and going to post are indicators. Watch for bad behaviour, sweating, acting nervous, not relaxed, and general demeanour.
FIFTEEN TIPS FROM A PROFESSIONAL RACING GAMBLER – WIN BETTING HORSES IN 2021
1. Never accept lower odds than your minimum value line!
2. It’s not clever to put bigger stakes on shorter odds and lower stakes on big odds. That’s just chicken, and you must bet for value!
3. If the odds have dropped below what you are willing to accept, wait until the track market opens. Odds often revert to nearer the opening line because course bookies haven’t struck any bets!
4. Professional racing gamblers often win big money by betting multiples, be brave when the opportunity presents itself.
5. Don’t listen to jockeys and TV pundits, they are not professional gamblers. Jockey should ride, trainers should train, pro gamblers should bet!
6. Small fields are more likely to throw up unexpected results because races become tactical.
7. French runners are badly handicapped when they start racing in the UK. Many are over-rated, and they can often be taken on!
8. Don’t bet ex-flat horses on a novice chasing debut. Some might have lofty hurdles rating, but they are unlikely to be natural jumpers.
9. If anyone tells you novice chasing is a bad betting medium, tell them from me they are wrong. My biggest wins come in novice chasing, but everyone to themselves!
10. One of the best times to bet is when the ground goes extreme, the elimination process is often easier and big value can be had.
11. Weight affects smaller fields more. See a short odds runner with a big weight, look for something to beat it!
12. Spread your stakes between bookmakers, the last thing you need is a red card for being greedy!
13. Look beyond UK and Irish racing, some of my biggest profits come from France. UK betting companies are useless at pricing French racing,
14. Best odds guaranteed are great if you can get them, but the truth is they won’t last long when you start winning. Deal with it!
15. Forget prediction systems, or using sports modelling for UK, Ireland, or France. Too many factors involved and unlikely to be accurate.
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