Watching any form of racing on television or in a betting shop is one thing, but there’s nothing like the excitement of getting in amongst the action on-course at a horse or greyhound meeting!
With betting shops now littered with all manner of gaming machines, much of the focus has been taken away from the real sporting action and replaced by a more subdued, concentrated atmosphere. There used to be at least five of us yelling at the screens but these days, I yell alone.
To fill that empty void, I often cart myself off to race courses around the country where one can cheer in unison with fellow race goers in a collective attempt to batter the bookies. If you’re expecting the same quiet atmosphere found on the high street then think again – the fervour around the betting ring is abuzz with chatter. It can be an overwhelming experience approaching the on-course bookmakers for the first time, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to on-course betting, giving you every opportunity of getting the most from a great day (or night) at the races!
In front of grandstands around the country each week are a sea of independent bookmakers ready to go to battle with you over your stake. Unlike high street companies, these independents are responsible for their own prices meaning that you can seriously improve on your winnings by having a shop around. Although there are differing figures available on the high street, on-track you will notice a plethora of boards in a relatively short area displaying odds for the upcoming race, so rather than getting caught up in the rush of excitement, have a shop around and maximise your returns.
One Race at a Time – Come Prepared!
Although there are occasional instances when on-course bookmakers will offer prices for races later in the day, the general rule is that the odds displayed will be relevant to the next race. They communicate with each other once a book has been opened to keep themselves abreast of any serious market movers.
Since prices are offered on a race by race basis, there is very little time to study through much form aside from the basics. Besides, who wants to wade through the detailed pages of the racing press when there’s fun to be had? It’s always best to do your research up front and, although you won’t have a perfect knowledge of the going and the horse’s well-being until you are at the paddock, keeping a shortlist prepared for each race is a very prudent measure to take.
I know this may seem like a daft tip since the assumption will be that if you’re at the races then you will be having a wager anyway, but we mean by this is that when you come to place your bet, be ready with the horse name, stake and type of bet you wish to place. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a snap decision whilst you’re foraging around for the right money at the front of a long queue of keen punters with little time before the off! Trust me, I’ve been there…
On one hand, it’s a far simpler process betting on-course thanks to the few bets that are actually available. Whilst betting shops are awash with Yankees, Goliaths and Lucky 15s, on-course bookies will generally offer the win, each way, forecast and tricast bets. You’ll receive a small receipt to confirm your bet type, stake and selection, then it’s over to you to get cheering as if it’s your bottom dollar! If you’re lucky enough to win, return to the same kiosk that you placed with the bet with and receive your well-deserved returns.
So that’s it for this week’s Betting Gods guide to betting on course. Just remember to keep your cool, take your time, and be prepared. After all, luck is when preparation meets opportunity! Good luck and see you next week!