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How to bet on Horses
If you’re new to horse racing betting, or if you’re just looking for some advice on how to bet on horses in Australia, then you’re in the right place.We’ll discuss everything you need to know when it comes to horse racing betting strategies, from the basics to more intricate details.
This includes odds and bet types and how to read the race card, how to use form to your advantage, as well as some specific betting strategies that can work for you. If you’re looking to try your hand in more than just horse racing betting, you should check out our detailed sports betting strategy guide for all betting markets.
Get to know odds and bet types before using the best horse racing betting strategy Australia
You will probably see betting odds in either fraction or decimal formats.
For the fraction format (e.g. 5/1), the second number is your stake while the first number is your return. Meaning every £1 you bet, you get an additional £5 back. So if you bet £5, you will get £30 back (£5 x 5 = £25 winnings + your £5 stake = £30), and if you bet £25 you will get £150 back (£25 x 5 = £125 winnings + your £5 stake = £150).
As for the decimal format, they account for the initial stake. So 5/1 becomes 6.0. Using the second example above, a bet of £25 will get you an overall return of £150 (£25 x 6 = £150 total return).
Next, we’ll touch on the different types of bets you can make. There are many possible bet types, so we’ll focus on the basic ones in this guide on the best horse racing betting strategy Australia:
Single: A straight win bet.
Double / Treble / Accumulator: 2+ outcomes in separate events.
Each-Way: Half of your stake on your selection to win, the other half on it to place.
Forecast / Tricast: A forecast is a prediction of the correct order of first and second place in a race, while a tricast is a prediction of first, second and third place.
Reverse Forecast / Combination Tricast: A reverse forecast is a prediction of the first two places in a race in no particular order, whereas a combination tricast is a prediction of the first three places in no particular order.
There are quite a few other bets which are more complicated. These include Trixies, Patents, Yankees and Lucky 15s, just to name a few. Each of these more complicated bets generally consist of multiple selections and multiple bets. For example, a Lucky 15 involves 15 bets (hence the name) over 4 selections in different events - 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 four-fold.
What you need to keep in mind when making your bets
You may have heard this said a few times in your local bookie: “It takes skill to pick the winner of a football or tennis match - you have to take each side’s ability and form into account, as well as a few other things. So unlike learning how to bet on tennis or implementing your football betting strategy, picking the winner of a horse race isn’t about skill, it’s about luck.”
But we know better, right? We know that horse racing betting is every bit a skill as any other type of sports betting, if not more. That’s why you’re reading this guide.
So we’ll use this section of our best horse racing betting strategy Australia guide to talk about what you should research before you make each of your bets.
Though not an exact science, the most efficient way to figure out which horse is most likely to win a race is by looking at its recent form. Did it win last time out? Has it recently performed a personal best? Has it been improving over the last few races? The form of a participant is important to factor in for any sport. Formulating the very best Greyhound betting strategy relies strongly on this type of research, needless to say, a tennis player or golfer can be affected negatively or positively by a slump or boost in his/her form.
It’s also worth noting if the horse has recently moved class. A poorly performing horse that has been dropped to a lower class may have a good chance of winning, while a horse with an impressive win streak that has been moved up to higher class races may look good on paper but struggle on the track.
Some bettors are also skilled at choosing a winner by eye. If you’d like to try this for yourself, here are some things to look out for:
Look for a horse that stands proud with its head held high, as that’s a sign of confidence.
Check the horse’s coat - a visible shine means good health.
Take a look at the horse’s sternum. The more girth it has, the more space for its heart and lungs.
Sprinters generally have straighter, more heavily muscled shoulders than long distance runners.
The jockey can also be a good indication of the potential winner of a race, mainly because jockeys have their own preferences when it comes to courses.
This is because of the jockey’s temperament, and how they handle a horse, as certain racing strategies better suit certain course conditions. The trainer’s choice of jockey also comes into play, as they pair the horse and jockey that they believe best suit each other and the track or event.
Check each jockey’s stats to see which locations they perform well at. For example, a quick search told us that both Craig Williams and Damien Oliver have been at the top of the list for amount of wins at Flemington over the past four seasons.
As with horses and jockeys, trainers get different results depending on the track. A useful rule of thumb for beginners: you can usually tell which trainer prefers which course or event by the number of horses they have in the running.
Again, you will probably notice a pattern by comparing stable winners by month or course over a few seasons. This should give you a good idea of which trainer you should back.
The race - Type, surface & distance
The type and distance of the race, as well as the surface of the track, all affect a horse’s performance.
In terms of the type of race, flat races are basically a sprint to the finish line, while jump races involve (you guessed it!) jumping over obstacles. There are two categories of jump races: hurdles, where the obstacles are at least 1.1m high; and steeplechase fences (aka chases), where the obstacles are a minimum of 1.4m high.
As for track surface, there are three different types: turf (the most popular type in Europe), dirt (the most popular type in the US), and synthetic. Similar to a tennis player who prefers clay to artificial grass, a horse has a preference of track surface.
You also need to take into account the condition of the track. A turf track, for example, can be anywhere from firm 1 (meaning dry and hard) to heavy 10 (meaning very wet).
When it comes to race distances, flat races are most commonly 5-12 furlongs in length, though they can range anywhere from 400m-4km. With jump races, hurdles are 3-5.5km whereas chases are 3-7km. Some horses are Usain Bolt and others are Mo Farah.
So form is important, but how do you read the race card?
We’ve established that form is important - and of course this is the case no matter the sport. In horse racing betting, you can find the record of a horse’s performance over previous races listed on the race card. Here’s how this works:
‘1-9‘ indicates the position the horse finished (‘0’ means it finished outside the top 9).
A ‘–’ (dash) separates racing seasons, while a ‘/’ (slash) means an extended absence.
‘P‘ or ‘PU‘ indicates the horse was pulled up by the jockey and didn’t finish.
‘C’ means the horse has won on that course before.
’D’ means the horse has won over that distance before.
’CD’ indicates the horse has won on that course over that distance.
’BF’ means the horse was the favourite but didn’t win.
In jump racing, ‘F‘ means the horse fell.
’R’ means the horse refused to jump.
’BD’ indicates the horse was brought down by another runner.
’U’ or ’UR’ means the horse unseated its jockey.
On the race card, the oldest race is on the left and the most recent race is on the right.
When it comes to making your bets, always keep an eye on the board
The board is constantly changing in the lead-up to a race, so make sure you keep an eye on it until the race starts. This is especially important if you’ve made an ante-post bet, which is a bet placed at least a day in advance of the race or event.
Once the gates open, the starting price (aka the board price) is shown. But before the gates open, prices can change a lot, either becoming longer (higher) or shorter (lower). So if you think you’re onto a sure thing and all of a sudden your bookie offers longer odds on your selection, then you’ll probably want to consolidate your position by backing it again.
You should also keep a lookout for non-runners. These are shown on the board using the symbol ‘NR’. As the name suggests, a non-runner means that your chosen horse has been pulled out of the race. If this happens, you will usually be given your stake back; though sometimes you won’t be refunded if you make an ante-post bet too far in advance.
So what is the best horse racing betting strategy Australia?
Finally, we’ll go through a few popular betting strategies. Despite the title of this guide, we won’t compare and tell you which is best; instead, we’ll strive to give you enough information to decide which you think best suits your betting preferences. Before we start though, all of these strategies are based around placing a bet before the race begins. Betting while the race is in progress is a far more risky, similar to an in play tennis betting strategy where the possible winner is likely to change frequently.
1x2 betting strategy
Although not a viable option for horse racing, we thought the 1x2 betting strategy was worth an honourable mention, as it is a popular option for many of Oz’s favourite sports, and arguably the best Australian rules football betting strategy.
Essentially, 1x2 betting (also known as three-way betting) means placing a wager on an event that has three possible outcomes (hence the name - 1 represents a home win, X a draw, and 2 an away win). You can bet on one of the outcomes, or combine two of the three using a double chance bet.
This is far from a fool-proof betting strategy, but having few possible outcomes means a greater chance of winning. What makes it popular, especially among betting novices, is its simplicity.
But you can see why it doesn’t work for horse racing - there would have to be a lot of non-runners for a horse race to have such a limited number of outcomes.
If you’d like to use this strategy on other sports, like Aussie rules, cricket, football and more, check our detailed guide where you can find 1x2 betting explained.
1.01 betting strategy
We’d only recommend the 1.01 betting strategy Australia for the most patient of gamblers. Basically, with this betting strategy you don’t place any bets with odds longer than 1.01 (1/100) - hence the name.
Such short odds signify a bet that is as close to a sure thing as gambling can get, which means it is unlikely you’ll ever lose a bet.
The downside is you only get a small percentage of winnings from any single bet, and therefore you have to place a lot of separate bets to make it worthwhile - at 1.01 odds, it’d take 100 winning bets for you to double your money.
Again, this isn’t an ideal horse racing betting strategy, as it’s not likely you’ll find one horse that is so much of a favourite to win a race, never mind 100.
Value betting is when you find a selection that you believe has been underpriced (meaning it is more likely to win than the odds suggest).
So if you notice that your local bookie or online betting site has priced a horse to win at 5/1, but when researching the various factors we discussed earlier, you decide that the horse actually has a 4/1 chance of winning the race. Therefore backing it will get you more winnings than you should’ve received if it was priced correctly - that is, if it does win.
Not only is this another strategy that depends on the odds offered and therefore can’t be utilised every time you place a bet, it takes a lot of knowledge and expertise in both the sport and betting in general.
Dutching is a useful betting system that ensures you will make a similar profit no matter which of your selections wins when you place bets on multiple horses in a single race. But be warned: there’s maths involved!
First, you need to decide how much you’re willing to wager. For example, if you want to put £20 on the next race and choose two horses at odds 3/1 and 7/4, then you can calculate the implied probabilities of each as follows: (1 / selection odds + 1) x 100.
So, (1 / 3/1 + 1) x 100 = 25% and (1 / 7/4 + 1) x 100 = 36%.
You then calculate the stake you should use on each selection using this equation: (implied probability of selection / sum of implied probabilities) x total stake.
So, (25 / 25 + 36) x 20 = £8.20 and (36 / 25 + 36) x 20 = £11.80.
So if you stake £8.20 on the 3/1 horse and it wins, your returns would be £32.80. Minus your total stake gives you a £12.80 profit. If the 7/4 horse wins, you’ll get £32.45 back for a £12.45 profit.
Dutching is beneficial because backing more than one horse is probably the easiest way to get a return on horse racing, and this way you can make sure that all of your bets will actually make you a profit. Otherwise you could end up winning a bet and still losing money.
Time to use these betting strategies to your advantage
To conclude, horse racing betting requires some serious skill, and there are a whole host of factors you need to think about when picking a potential winner - particularly the horse’s ability, form and appearance, as well as the record of its jockey and trainer. Because the results can vary so much from one race to the next, learning a full proof horse betting strategy could prove more difficult than say perhaps learning how to bet on golf in Australia or mastering strategy in other more complicated sports.
We’ve also summarised some of the most popular betting strategies for you to try. Unfortunately, in play betting strategies cannot be adopted in this sport form, but as you can see, there are plenty of other strats to help you along. Hopefully our best horse racing betting strategy Australia guide has helped you decide which is best for you. Good luck!
Best Horse Racing Betting Strategy Australia FAQ
🌟Which is the best horse racing betting strategy for Australians?
There are a few popular betting strategies available to anyone looking to bet on horse racing - for example the value bet strategy. Read our guide to the best horse racing betting strategy Australia for more info.
💲What should I keep in mind when making a horse racing bet?
There are quite a few things you need to keep in mind when making a horse racing bet - the horse’s form, the jockey, the surface of the track and much more. You can find full details by taking a look at our horse racing betting strategy guide.
🐴How do you read a race card?
A horse’s form is the best indicator of how it will perform in an upcoming race. So it’s important to read and understand the race card when deciding which horse to back. There are a lot of abbreviations and symbols used on a race card to quickly and efficiently convey the recent form of every horse in a race. Check out our guide to the best horse racing betting strategy Australia for everything you need to know about reading a race card.
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