Those who have enjoyed a day out at the races will know how much of a thrill it can be to back a winner in the race. It’s more than just the payout you get on your ticket as you get a sense of pride that you successfully selected the right horse in the field.
Choosing a horse to win its respective race can actually be a process that takes some time, if you bother to read the form. Here are some tips to help you break down the race card.
The age of the horse you are choosing can be quite important, depending on the conditions of a race. In Flat racing, horses tend to be at their peak between three and four years old. In National Hunt racing, this is much higher as nine- and 10-year-olds tend to perform best.
In some races younger horses receive a light allocated weight in order to level up the contest. This can be quite useful if you feel one of the younger horses has the potential to improve.
There are also some races that are only open to a certain age. This is the case with the British Classics which are contested by three-year-olds. The most famous of the four contests is the Derby which was won in 2020 by +4000 outsider Serpentine at Epson Racecourse.
This is arguably the most important factor when studying the form. If a horse is running at a distance which is too short or long for it, they will struggle.
Look out for horses that have won or performed well at the distance they are set to run at. A great example of this is the Grand National at Aintree. This takes place over four miles and two and a half furlongs, a real marathon trip. Tiger Roll has won the last two renewals of the contest as he really enjoys the stamina test. The Aintree legend is +1400 in the horse racing betting to make it a hat-trick of wins in the race next April.
Jockey and Trainer
The difference between a horse winning a race and losing can often be the ride it is given by a jockey. This is why many people select their runner on the basis of who is on board. Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and Oisin Murphy are three of the most popular jockeys on the Flat. The latter won his maiden British Flat Jockeys Championship in 2019 after riding 168 winners across the season.
It is also worth giving some thought to who trains the horses in a race before making your choice. The leading trainers have the best facilities and attract the best horses to their stables. The likes of Aidan O’Brien and Willie Mullins must always be respected when they have runners in a race.
There have also been very successful jockey-trainer partnerships over the years that have paid off to follow. One of the best was Ruby Walsh and Paul Nicholls over the jumps. Keeping an eye on the latest results in the sport will help you spot partnerships that are doing well at the moment.
Best of luck the next time you place a bet on a horse race. Perhaps the above tips will help you select the winner.