If you have concerns about gambling, please visit: BeGambleAware.org, Gamcare.org.uk or Gamstop.co.uk.

Advice For Betting On Horse Racing

Horse Racing

Even if you only place bets on horse racing at the weekend, try to learn as much as possible about the horses you're backing including their jockeys and the trainers.

As well as familiarising yourself with the characteristics of different racecourses, Newbury, for example, suits the bigger long striding horses, whereas Kelso suits smaller horses.

Be aware of the effect of the draw, it can give some horses a significant advantage in certain races at certain courses, at Newcastle, for example, in races over 5f, 6f and 7f high numbers are favoured unless the going is soft, when low numbers are then favoured.

And heavy going in a race can sometimes result in a surprise winner - even a rank outsider passing the winning post first, in which case it might be wise not betting.

We recommend that you buy yourself a copy of The Racing Post for in-depth coverage of UK horse racing, or failing that The Daily Mail which is also highly rated.

Minimum Number of Runners

Avoid betting on races - both Flat and National Hunt betting - with 7 or less runners as they tend to be won by a very short priced favourite and will give a poor return for your money.

However, if an online bookie offers the favourite at a decent price, say 3/1, for example, then needless to say, it is worth placing a free bet if you have time to claim one.

Maximum Number of Runners

Try to limit my race horse betting - both flat and National Hunt - to races with 13 runners tops.

If you are are tempted to back a horse in a race with a large field of runners we suggest you limit yourself to a race with 17 runners maximum and opt for a decent priced 'each way' bet instead of a straight win to improve your chances of winning and making some money.

Courses to Avoid

Never back horses at the following UK racecourses: Brighton, Folkestone, Goodwood and Wolverhampton, they are our bogey courses, never giving us any winners.

Fortunately, with 55 other racecourses in the UK to choose from we can easily live with the disappointment at not being able to find winners at these four racecourses.

So if you have had a succession of losers at a particular course, perhaps you should try backing horses at other courses, you may find that your luck changes.

Betting Shops

For those of you who prefer to visit local betting shops to place your horse racing bets, try to avoid the shops run by the large UK betting chains such as Ladbrokes or William Hill as they don't always offer the same odds as they do online.

We've also found that smaller online bookies like 888sport or Betfred generally offer much better odds on horse racing markets f you have to bet offline.

Betting Online

If your'e going to be placing free bets online always make sure you are visiting a genuine website. Always look for 'https' in the address bar on the log in page of the website if it's supposed to be secure or a padlock icon on the bottom bar of the screen.

And never respond to a seemingly genuine email claiming to be from a site you had previously visited to carry out a financial transaction or recently registered with - requesting you to log in because there is a problem with your account - they are fake.

Genuine sites do not send out such emails. If there really is a problem with your online betting account you will find out when you log in to your bookies website.

Bet Cautiously

Last, but by no means least, never bet more than you can afford to lose. You're not going to win all the time so don't waste your money chasing a losing streak.

We remember watching the Cheltenham Festival on television and one of the presenters was talking to a race goer who had 17 losing bets in a row!

Remember, just as you will experience losing streaks, you will also hopefully enjoy winning periods which will help to make horse racing more enjoyable and lead to generating a profit from the free bets that bookies offer as welcome bonuses.