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Make the best of your day's racing with some homework beforehand

20-January-2023 17:39
in General
by Peter McNeile

A blank weekend for Jump racing has me looking for other entertainment. Other Jumps fixtures are not so hard to find. The weather in Ireland is never as harsh as here, and Pau has a full season of racing throughout January and February too. But the blank period is also a time for reflection about how best to get the most from your racing. So here are a few reminders of what to look out for. 

Secrets for enjoying horse racing to its fullest may not be as difficult as one might think. Horse racing is a sport that has been enjoyed by people all over the world for centuries, and it remains popular today, especially with the rise of technology and the internet. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fan, the following tips and tricks will help you get the most out of the sport.

Research the horses and riders

The first step to becoming a successful bettor is researching the horses and jockeys involved in each race. Take note of each horse’s form and performance in past races and the jockey’s experience and skill level. Jockey bookings can be very telling, and a trainer who has sent a horse many hundreds of miles for a lowly race will have a good reason to spend his owner's money on long distance travel. 

You can discover here which horses have a better chance of winning based on their past performances or which jockeys may be more experienced than others in certain situations. And if you're an experienced bettor, researching the horses and jockeys can also help you make better predictions.

Learn the basics

Before you head to the course, be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of horse racing. This includes understanding how races are organized, and bets are placed, winners are determined, and the various strategies used by jockeys and trainers. The basic premise of horse racing is simple: fastest horse wins. But the nuances are what make it so fascinating, like an enormous jogsaw puzzle. 

Learning the basics of the sport will also help you discover which horses have the best chance of winning and why, as well as how to make an informed bet. And if you’re a beginner, understanding the basics of horse racing will help you dive into the sport more confidently. Many racegoers experience the first racing at a Point-to-Point, often as children, a point of which we can be rather proud. 

Study tote odds

The tote board is an essential source of information regarding horse racing. It displays the odds for each horse and is constantly changing as more bets are placed, so be sure to study it carefully if you want to make informed decisions on which horses to bet.

By studying the tote board, you can gain valuable insight into which horses are most likely to win and then make a more educated bet. And if you’re a beginner, studying the tote board can also help you develop your understanding of the sport and how it works.

The braver among you will travel the Bookmaker lines seeking a better price from the range on offer. Bookies are a quintessential element of British and Irish racing. You don't find them in US racing at all nor in France. 


Take advantage of technology

Technology has revolutionized horse racing and made it easier for bettors to place bets and track horses. Now, numerous apps and websites provide live updates on race times, results, and odds. And if you’re an experienced bettor, you can use specific tools to make more accurate predictions. Horsetracker notifications now tell you when a horse you like is racing, aand there are hundreds of tipping sites offering information or so-called expertise, even betting systems. 

At its simplest, you can now review any horse's past performance, including video reviews and essays to make an informed choice.

So if you want to level up your horse racing experience, take advantage of the technology available to help you become a better player and make smarter bets. And if you’re a beginner, technology can also help you understand the sport more quickly.


Put your personal preferences aside

Jockeys are able to compartmentalize their preference for individual horses and select the one they think will most likely win.  It is important to remember that horse racing is a sport of skill, not luck. While some people may have preferences for certain horses or jockeys, putting those aside when placing your bets is essential. Although luck undoubtedly plays a part, picking winners is more a mathematical challenge. Everyone loves a fairytale 100/1 winner like Norton's Coin in the Gold Cup of 1990, but lonhg-priced horses only make your bookie rich, not you. If you’re an experienced bettor, disregarding these personal preferences and focusing on the facts is key to making successful bets.

Instead of relying on your gut instinct, focus more on the horses’ speed, strength, and performance in previous races to determine which one is most likely to come out on top. The brighter among you will work out the margin in a bookmaker's book, and see which horses threrefore offer value. But ind if you’re a beginner, using data and statistics to inform your decisions can help you become a more intelligent bettor.

Study track conditions

In addition to researching horses and jockeys, you should also take the time to study track conditions. Pay attention to weather forecasts and any changes in the track's surface or layout that could affect a horse’s performance. And if you’re an experienced bettor, understanding how the track conditions can influence a horse’s performance can help you make more informed decisions. Understand why Royale Pagaille excels in the deep ground of a Haydock January, whilst horses with a different action do better in Spring ground at Cheltenham.  

You can make more informed bets by understanding how different environmental factors can influence a race. And if you’re a beginner, studying track conditions can help you better understand the sport and make smarter bets.

Be prepared to lose

Finally, be prepared to lose. Horse racing is a game of chance, and no matter how much research you do or how skilled you are, there are more losers than winners. And if you’re an experienced bettor, understanding this risk and learning from your mistakes can help you become a better punter.

If you want to be successful in horse racing, accept that losses are inevitable and try to minimize them as much as possible. And if you’re a beginner, keep your bets small so that any losses will be minimal. A popular participative bet is ther Placepot, where you choose a horse to be placed in each race - a means of hedging your bets from the off.

Set realistic expectations and keep your losses in perspective, then you can ensure that horse racing will remain an enjoyable day out for you.

Final thoughts

There are many motivations for going racing of which betting is just one. But by learning the basics, following trainers’ schedules, putting your preferences aside, researching horses and jockeys, studying track conditions, and being prepared to lose, you can maximize your chances of enjoying horse racing to its fullest.

Remember that this is a sport meant to be enjoyed for its colour, style and sense of occasion, whether at Ascot, Berkshire, or Ascot, Western Australia. So take the time to learn, prepare, and have fun!

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