New to horse racing? How to be a successful punter

The Betting Ring at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown 2019

Horse racing can be a very daunting prospect for newcomers and the sport of kings is one of the most complex on the planet. There are an incredible amount of factors that determine the outcome of a race and even with the best research in the world, you can still come up short of picking a winner. As such, you need to use every advantage possible to beat the bookmakers.

If you’re new to horse racing and want to start your journey, then this is the guide for you. We’ll be discussing five key pointers to help you become a successful punter, from the research all the way to best odds guaranteed.

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Don’t rely on favourites every race

Although you may be tempted to always side with the favourite, doing so will ultimately end in losses. Horse racing is notoriously difficult to predict and favourites only come home first about 30% of the time.

Surely the favourite has the best chance of winning, though? That can be true, but the market can also get it wrong. The market isn’t always indicative of which horse has the best chance or best form. Ultimately, the house always wins, and you want to be looking for a horse who offers the most value.

Every person in horse racing will have a different explanation as to what value means to them. As a general rule, if you think a horse should be a shorter price than what it is, then you’ve found yourself some value. Regardless of whether that horse is 1-1 or 11-1, if you’ve done your homework and believe you’ve found a value horse, then don’t be put off by the odds.


Do your homework

For most punters, their first day at the races is usually a successful one. It’s a strange phenomenon, but beginners luck is usually what draws punters into horse racing. Backing the jockey who shares your first name, or punting on the horse with your favourite number, will only work for so long, however.

Long term, you won’t be able to pick winners without doing your research. Knowledge is king, and educating yourself on all the intricacies of racing is essential. We could speak for hours about how to read the form, but one of the best ways to learn is by checking out our horse racing tips. We provide in-depth analysis for all our selections and being able to understand why we tip the horses we do will help you form your own opinions in the future.


Shop around for prices

When you’ve found your bet, make sure to check our racecards section to compare prices for that horse. Bookmaking is an extremely competitive industry and as such, the odds disparity can be quite alarming. Although it can be easy to fall into the trap of using just one bookmaker for ease, the difference between a 7-1 winner and a 10-1 winner is huge in the long run.

It’s not just the odds too. Only recently at Royal Ascot, you’ll have seen bookmakers offering different place terms for the big-field races, so it’s essential to do your research. The same is the case when opening new accounts and our free bets section has all the latest and greatest offers for you to view.


Single bets are your friend

It’s Saturday, and your seven-fold accumulator has just been let down by the final leg, again. You can’t believe your luck, and to make matters worse, you haven’t backed them as singles either. It cannot be understated just how crucial it is to back your fancies as singles.

There’s a reason why bookmakers lose the vast majority of their money to single bets. If you back 6 out of 7 winners in an accumulator, your return is zero. If you had them all as singles, however, then you’re on your way to making long term profit.

We all have dreams of landing the bet we can retire off, but there’s a reason bookmakers love multiples. With accumulators chiefly, if one horse lets you down, you get no return whatsoever. Although there’s nothing wrong with placing multiples, if you’re not covering them with singles, then all your hard work can amount to nothing if one horse runs below form.


Best odds guaranteed

Most bookmakers offer it, but you need to make sure that you’re getting best odds guaranteed when betting on horse racing. Just as recently as Royal Ascot, Owen put up Amtiyaz in the Copper Horse at 20-1. That horse drifted throughout the day, eventually going off at odds of 33-1.

  • £5 EW at 20-1 = £130 total return
  • £5 EW at 33-1 = £208 total return

Without best odds guaranteed, those who took the 20-1 would have lost out on £78. Some bookmakers only offer best odds guaranteed online, with shops usually offering it after a certain time on the day of the racing. Best odds guaranteed is a huge edge to the punter and you need to make sure you’re taking advantage.

Please make sure to keep your gambling fun, responsible and under control. You can find professional help and advice about responsible gambling on our website.

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