Picking a winner

It’s difficult picking a winner at the races. Sometimes it’s just as effective to pick the funniest name or prettiest silks. However, there are sources that can assist you make an informed decision on which horse to bet on.


The Paddock

The paddock is an excellent place to start. Whilst the horses are paraded round the paddock, punters get the chance to assess a horse’s race fitness and temperament. If a horse is sweating or appears agitated, then this is usually a bad sign. Look for a calm and composed, physically imposing horse. These are usually primed for a good race and fare better.

The Form

Reading the race card can help understand how likely a horse is to win. The form numbers represent the position that horse finished in it’s most recent races. A horse who shows consistent low numbers such as ‘124121’, would be preferred over an inconsistent horse with the form; ‘891798’. Letters on the race card are another important feature than help understand a horse’s chances in a race. The letters ‘C’ and ‘D’ represent Course and Distance, which help identify those horses who have won over that distance or at that course before. Utilising all these tools won’t guarantee a winner, but it will help  you narrow down the field and allow for an informed decision.

The Betting

You may notice that in the final moments leading up to the race, the odds may change. This is the effect of other people’s bets being placed. If a horse’s odds are shortening then the support for that horse is increasing. If the odds are getting bigger (drifting) then the support for the horse is weakening. A significant change in odds is worth noting, as this usually signifies heavy support from connections who may know something the rest of the punters don’t.

Who to listen to

The Racing Post has a whole host of professionals and experts who pick winners for a living. Simply grab a copy of the newspaper, download the app or visit the website to find out the latest betting advice. There are also podcasts available online with in-depth race analysis which can give you a great insight into the best races of the day.