Horse racing is without doubt a great sport and a great day out for the thrill and atmosphere even if you do not want to bet. However placing a bet (even a small one) is a huge part of it and the excitement of seeing your horse win a race then going to collect your winnings - no matter how small they may be - just adds to the buzz. But picking a winner is tough. Here are six things for you to look out for to help you pick those winners.
With a lot of horse racing on TV and the internet these days you can enjoy a "flutter" at any time though please never, ever bet with money you cannot afford to lose otherwise you'll soon be in trouble. Winning feel great, losing what you can't afford to be without is horrible.
So if you are going out for a day at the races or just want to enjoy an afternoon in front of the TV and have the odd bet then here are some important factors to take in to consideration when selecting a horse to place a bet on. I hope you find this overview helpful and there are some free systems as well for you to check out.
If you are at the races, go to the parade ring and take a close look at the horses. See how they react, how they look in themselves. Are they "on their toes", do they look lean and ready to go.
Some horses have a definite optimum distance for their races. For example some are out-and-out sprinters and run out of steam quickly if run over a distance too far for them. Some horses prefer longer distance races as they don't have the speed for sprinting. Look at the distance of the race and if the horse you are thinking of backing is suited to the distance by checking out its past performances.
Who is riding your horse? This can make a difference. Is it a top jockey, is it a jockey associated with the trainer, has the jockey ridden the horse before. A top jockey is generally a good sign. Although they can't make the horse run any faster than it naturally can they have the knowledge and tactical experience in a race which can be crucial. Also take a close look at horses being ridden by talented apprentice jockeys who can claim a weight reduction.
The underfoot (hoof?) conditions are extremely important. Do take in to account the "going" as it is called. Is it firm, good, soft, heavy etc. Horses have a definite preference for going conditions. Run on the wrong type of ground for them and they will almost certainly not run true to form.
To a certain extent your parade ring watching can give you a visual impression of the general fitness and well-being of the horse. Look also at how long it is since it last raced. A general rule of thumb is a race within the last month or so and the horse should be pretty much of racing fitness. A longer absence may indicate a training or injury problem and the horse may be on the comeback trail. Conversely many runs in a short space of time and the horse could be what is known as "over the top" and needs a rest.
You may be familiar with the phrase "horses for courses". There is certainly more than a grain of truth in that. Horses do tend to perform well and win on certain types of courses or even specific courses. Some prefer flat, galloping tracks, some prefer galloping right-handed, some left-handed. Some prefer a "stiff" course perhaps running uphill as a test of stamina. If you see a C or CD by the horse's name in the race card it signifies that the horse has won at the course (C) or over course and distance (CD).
So there we have taken a brief look at six important factors for you to consider when selecting a horse to back. Just a small bet on each race can add to the fun and excitement though as mentioned previously please, please do not bet with money you cannot afford to lose.