Horse racing tips – what you should avoid

Horse racing is an activity people have been betting on for centuries and it’s quite popular today. We are all aware of that. However, not all people know how to bet. Here are the most common pitfalls you should avoid when betting on horse races.

Disregarding courses

Thinking that the only thing that matters toward the outcome of a race is the speed of the horse is the worst mistake you can make. There are many different courses across the UK, such as: flat turf, national hunt and all weather racing. Some horses are better on a a flat track and perform bad if it has uphill or downhill parts. You should also know the differences in the direction of orbit: are they running to the left or to the right?

Another example is that National Hunt courses require horses to jump over hurdles or fences. Some breeds are great at running in straight lines at full speed but their stamina is not suitable for cross country or obstacle courses.  

You also have to take into account the ground. Hard grounds provide speed if they’re dry whereas wet grounds make the hooves sink deeper with each pace thus slowing down horses. All these matter when you pick a potential winner, which is why you should examine the performance of a horse in those particular settings.

Not understanding handicaps

Handicapping is the process through which an official handicapper assesses the abilities of a horse to provide a rating that’s officially known as a handicap mark. Depending on this mark, runners are eligible to enter races within certain mark ranges. The top rated horse is given the highest weight. Let’s say that the top runner is assigned a weight of 10-0. In this case, a horse rated 5lbs lower carries 9-9 (9 stones and 9 pounds).

The entire idea of assigning weights is so that each horse is given a fairly equal chance to win. It’s quite difficult to understand the effects of handicaps and weights on a given outcome, but with practice and close observation you will be able to make your own predictions. Until then, it doesn’t hurt to read various blogs that break down the chances of each competitor in a particularly notorious race.

Not assessing distances

Some horses perform better in short distances while others have the stamina to run fast for prolonged periods of times. It’s obvious that winners of a 5 furlong (1 furlong = 220 yards) race won’t necessarily perform just as well in a 4-mile long Grand National event. Younger horses tend to participate in sprint races while mature ones take on higher distances.

Failing to understand class ratings

Races are assigned a certain class based on the level of ability that horses must have to participate, namely its handicap mark. As a horse improves its form, it is allowed to enter higher class races. The highest level available is a class 1 that attracts the best horses in the world, mainly because the prize money is substantial.