Horse racing remains one of the most popular and exciting sports to bet on. But for the casual punter, or even seasoned pros looking to liven up their approach, the sheer number of 'dead cert' methods and the volume of data available in form guides, racing papers and beyond can seem like enormous hurdles to choosing a reliable betting strategy.
When it comes down to it, though, it's not as difficult as it may first appear - in fact, all approaches are built on three fundamental principles: studying form, knowing your horse, and playing the numbers game.
The form guide is the starting point for every self-respecting horse racing aficionado, and some systems are based solely on trend spotting in these racing-in-a-nutshell data sheets. A form guide will tell you:
If you cross reference these details with the conditions of the races your horse has run, there's enough information on a form guide to build a basic, successful system. And many punters do just that.
On top of the form guide, a number of bookies are making a horse's recent race history available for their customers to watch online. Many professional gamblers absorb information better this way, because you get a feel of how a horse runs on various surfaces, how it responds in a pack, which lanes the horse and jockey are most at home in, when the jockey decides to push that bit harder and so on.
These elements are often available in condensed, jargon-heavy paragraphs in publications like The Racing Post, but nothing beats witnessing a race for yourself. First hand experience at the tracks can go along way when getting to know your horse.
Many a horse racing betting strategy ignores such detailed assessments and simply plays the numbers game. These systems frequently follow financial models, and are best deployed at betting exchanges where you can lay as well as bet. Examples of techniques involved in the numbers game are: hedging (betting on multiple horses to spread your risk) and arbitrage (laying a horse when odds are low, backing it when odds are high).
This approach is best suited to those who know numbers better than sport, but they take dedication to a system, and there's no room for panic betting. Of course, most systems incorporate elements of all of these methods.
Very few rely on just one method. The important thing is to know which principle best fits your approach to betting, build your system with that as a basis, and apply it consistently over a fixed period of time so that you can accurately and fairly assess its viability.
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