It’s what everybody wants to know, how do you pick the winner of a horse race? If it was that easy then everyone would be millionaires and the bookies would be out of business. And I'll be brutally honest - if I had the answer, it's very unlikely I'd be sharing it with the world on a public website! But in reality, picking out a winning horse involves countless aspects and sometimes, a whole bunch of luck!
When you are studying a racecard, looking for something to back there are an infinite number of factors to consider including the horses current form, its pedigree, the trainer, jockey, how long it has been without a run, how far it has travelled to racecourse…the list goes on and on. The following video is a useful guide that discusses several of the major factors you need to consider when picking horses to bet on.
If all this seems a little daunting at first, don’t let it put you off! It's perfectly possible to make money betting on horses, and indeed some people such as Patrick Veitch have famously made huge sums doing it.
Nobody would ever pretend that it is easy to make betting on horses your main job, however with discipline and practice, you can certainly have enough winners to make a little extra cash every now and then. However, whatever you do, make sure you have a good time doing it, because at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about!
Arguably the best place to start is by studying the form. The form tells you where a particular horse placed in its most recent performances; for example, if the form figures read, 1212, this shows a horse has won two of its last four and finished runner up in the remainder.
Other things to consider are the weight the horse is carrying in handicaps, the horse Racing Post/Topspeed Rating, the class of the race and whether the horse has good form at the track.
One thing that is certainly worth keeping an eye on are horses that have either “drifted” or “shortened” in the betting. If you fancy something that suddenly takes a dive on the board i.e. goes out from shorter to bigger odds, then maybe it’s not such a safe bet. Similarly if a horses odds “shorten up”, after some considerable backing, it could mean the horse is fancied to go well by the owners, trainers or fellow punters.