Horse Betting Strategies

What are the best horse betting strategies and how should you go about putting them into practice?

Having a Betting Strategy in any sphere offers the best chance of success; however, it doesn’t guarantee a winning outcome.

Knowing your selections in advance and how much you are going to invest immediately puts you at an advantage over the majority of punters.
Most Gamblers don’t have a betting strategy which is why haphazard staking, changing one’s mind over a particular selection (then seeing your original choice romp home) and no betting bank to bet from, often sees a Punter run out of cash or most times with so little money left to bet with, that horrible occurrence of having a very small bet on a nice priced winner which if stakes having been placed to level stakes, the gambler would walk home in profit, but alas, he leaves with little or nothing.

Two questions to ask yourself contemplating a Betting Strategy, (1) is the type of Betting Strategy you are considering a comfortable fit with your personal betting style and (2) is the blueprint of your plan flexible enough.

There are some brilliant books on Horse Racing and Betting on the market, sound advice, betting angles and examples of betting methods in action from the Author.
But the key word in all those books is Advice, trying to make a system out of information gleaned from books is all well and good if it suits your style and is adaptable.

The usefulness of Betting Systems is their ability to hook you into your favoured area/s of Betting, but somewhere along the line the idea that if you run a system you must slavishly back every bet without question seemed to be set in concrete; it simply isn’t true and quite easy to disprove.
An analogy of a Sky Scraper shows the point quite well…..

The foundations are huge and rock solid, the base upon which the building is pinned is vital, without a foundation no building of any substance can stand. So the foundation is solid, it must not shift at all.
The Sky Scraper is then constructed but one vital element is built into its construction, flexibility.

Earth quakes are amongst the worst of natural disasters and tall structures are at extreme risk. Early constructions were built too rigid and although the foundations remained intact, the building itself would suffer devastating damage because of the movement of the earth against the rigidity of the structure.
Architects now build flexibility into the Sky Scrapers they design so that when earth quakes strike, the structure is flexible enough to survive.

A Betting Strategy that is too rigid with inflexible rules that cannot take into account the ever changing racing scene, always have and always will suffer extreme loss, that loss being in monetary terms; bankruptcy, ruin, plus ones confidence totally shattered.

Horse Racing is compelling as a sport; just taking in the variety of racecourses upon which Horse and Jockey compete is breath taking enough with some of the most picturesque tracks in the world. Flat Racing, National Hunt Racing and Flat “Dirt” tracks; its an ever changing picture, the Horses themselves as they mature, the Jockeys, the Trainers, the Weather, the seasons of the year, its absolutely fascinating and quite a puzzle to work out!
A sound Betting Strategy can help put some of the pieces in place.

1. Sound Racing Logic

2. Types of Races

3. Types of Horse/Selection

4. Staking Plan to suit your style

At the time of writing there are 3 race meetings today, my chosen race type happens to be 3yo+ Handicaps with 8 to 12 runners. I leave out Selling Races, races for Amateurs or Apprentices, of the 20 races taking place, 6 fit the conditions set out. I like winning form so look for at least 4 runners in the race to have had a win in one of their last 4 outings, any runner in the first 5 in the forecast without winning form is included because the forecast in made by professional people who compile forecasts on a daily bases and those runners without winning form but are still able to punch their way into the lower end of the forecast must have some credentials worth looking at, so they are included in the short list. Just the one race match the criteria, plenty of time then to rate the race and see whether there is a contender worthy of selection.

Some might find that approach too narrow but the point is about developing a plan that suits you best. So from 20 races to 1 in less than a minute and that is just one angle, you may have another approach that specialises in Maiden Races based around Trainer Form, so many angles to choose from, there is sure to be more than one to suit your style and to suit your time available to study the Factors that come with your Betting Strategy.


Following winning Form and Horses that have the will to win is always a sound and logical approach, yet even this angle can be vulnerable at certain times of the year. Autumn is one such time, Horses that have shown winning form through the Summer months start to race against fresh animals who have (for various reasons) had a Summer break, the rigours of a hard Season takes it toll and Form can become unstable.
This is where flexibility comes into play, monitoring form and results can provide you with all the clues you need, even a reduction in stakes can be vital, not losing as much is more than a consolation prize, it could keep you on the winning side in the long run.

Always back your judgement and if you find yourself questioning that judgement then that’s a sure sign to take a break and gather your thoughts.

When you’re planning to wager on horse racing the most important thing that you can do is ensure that you have a solid strategy. If you don’t have a solid betting strategy when you’re wagering on horses then you’ll find that you’re donating a lot of money to your bookie. Wagering on horse racing makes the sport a lot more entertaining, but it can definitely get old if you keep losing your money. In order to have more fun then you’ve ever had watching horse racing you make sure you employ a proper betting strategy.


A solid strategy isn’t going to guarantee that you win your bets, but it will allow you to have a fighting chance which is all you can ask for. The most important factor when constructing your horse betting strategy is the horse itself. You need to make sure that the horse is in good shape and you’ll also need to make sure that the horse has had some good previous results. If the horse you’re betting on has only raced 3 times in the last year then they might not be a good pick.

You also need to make sure that the horse hasn’t had any recent injuries or any rumours of injuries for that matter. If the horse is injured in any shape or form then it most likely won’t have a good race and definitely isn’t a smart wager. Often the fittest horses will win the long distance races, but in short distance races any horse can win on any given day. You’ll often find a lot more underdogs winning races in the shorter distance horse races then in the longer distance horse races.

Another factor which needs to be considered in your betting strategy is the jockey that is going to be racing the horse. If the jockey doesn’t have much experience then they will be an underdog when compared to a jockey with a lot of racing experience. Not only do you need to make sure that the horse is in shape and injury free, but you should also make sure the jockey is feeling in shape and good about the upcoming race.

When betting on horse racing you want to make sure that you mix up your bets and don’t rely on one horse to finish in first place. With the different types of bets out there you can really spread your bets out which will give you better odds at hitting on one of your tickets. Always try to hit the big bets on the races you bet on such as the Superfecta because if you get lucky and it hits you’ll be able to win a huge payoff.

The last thing you need to include in your horse betting strategy is the proper bankroll management because without being able to manage your bankroll you’ll have no longevity in this sport. Horse racing doesn’t cost that much to wager on, but if you aren’t banking any winnings then it can catch up with you quickly. Make sure you aren’t just throwing picks together in the hopes of winning because you might get lucky 1 time out of 100 times, but that isn’t going to earn you a profit.

Backing more than one selection in a race is frowned upon in certain gambling circles: “If you don’t have 100 per cent confidence in your selection, don’t have a bet” … or so the mantra goes.

The reality however is not so simple. Horses are mere four legged animals and very often throw the script out the window. Near misses, close finishes and above all, hard luck stories come thick and fast in this game.

Sometimes it’s good to have a back-up plan, and having three or four horses running for you in a race can drastically reduce the chances of something going wrong. The cynics will sneer and point out that picking a few horses in a single race obviously gives you a better chance of winning, but a lower return … yet isn’t winning the whole point here? Who cares if it takes two, three, four or even five horses to achieve that win.

Unfortunately, It’s not as simple as picking three or four horses with a pin (or fork!), sticking a tenner on each and hoping for the best. Races that are likely to prove profitable must be identified and just as importantly, the amount bet on each horse is calculated so that the same amount of profit is achieved should any of the horses win the race. This approach is known as ‘dutching’ and legend has it that the strategy was first created by Al Capone’s accountant “Dutchy” Schultz, hence its name.

Dutchy was patient and knew the strategy wasn’t a get rich quick scheme, but as an accountant, he appreciated regular, steady profit. Some things haven’t changed much – patience and discipline are still required in order to become successful at dutching.

To explain further, we can look at an example:

Let’s presume you feel that two horses have an exceptionally good chance at winning, but can’t decide which one to bet on. Instead of picking one, we can dutch the horses. The first step is to note the prices. In this case;

– Horse A is 3.0
– Horse B is 5.0

Next, you must decide how much you are willing to risk IN TOTAL for the bet. In this case, we shall assume that the total amount you are willing to risk is £100.

The last step is to split up the stake between the two horses, and place £62.50 on horse A, and £37.50 on horse B – Therefore, the total cost of bet is £100.

The outcome?

If horse A wins, you gain £125, but lose the £37.50 staked on horse B. Total profit should horse A win: £87.50

If horse B wins, you gain £150, but lose the £62.50 staked on horse A. Total profit should horse B win: £87.50
So as you can see, it does not make a difference which of your horses win, as you gain £87.50 either way. At this point, I should note that the above maths do not have to be worked out manually – simply type ‘dutching calculator’ into a search engine, and you’ll find a calculator that will work out the stakes for you. Needless to say, using traditional odds when dutching can become a bit of a nightmare, so decimal odds are a must for their flexibility and extra price variations.

Picking which races and horses to dutch is up to you, but with a bit of research, it should be relatively easily to find an edge. Last season for example, I noted that in non-handicap flat racing, the winner came from the top three in the betting roughly 70 per cent of the time. Therefore, dutching the top three in the betting would produce a 70 per cent chance of a winning bet. I decided to go one step further, and only bet if the overall potential profit was at least 25 per cent of my stake. I also excluded lower class races. The results are by no means scientific, but after 100 dutches, I had 64 winning races, and a profit of nearly £710 (using £100 per dutch). Granted, it’s a relatively small sample, but it proves that a simple approach can often pay dividends.

Dutching wont provide instant riches, and plenty of patience is required while waiting on suitable opportunities for bets. If you’re looking to get rich quick, this approach is not for you – try the lotto instead!

For those willing to put in some research however, dutching can provide steady, regular profits if a sensible, systematic approach is employed.