The world of sports betting can be quite a baffling place, particularly for newcomers to a particular sport or the betting ring in general.
One of the biggest difficulties that people face is deciphering the unfamiliar jargon that’s plastered across betting shops, online forums and television. It’s off-putting to have yankees and trixies thrust into your face at the best of times, let alone amongst a sea of form guides, tipster analyses and promotional offers.
Therefore each week, we’re going to bring an accessible introduction to a range of different sports and their betting practices, giving you some tools which could make or save you a few quid further down the line!
We’re going to start with a two-part series focusing on horse racing, beginning with the different types of races out there. Understanding what sphere a horse is running in is paramount to assessing the chances that it has. To give our story some character, we’ll focus on the fictional tale of Italian trainer, Nadia De Carlo and her two year old horse, Romeo…
As a two-year old, Romeo is only eligible for flat-racing due to the demands of long-distance jumping, and so his trainer decides to enter him into a Maiden Race. The only horses eligible for this type of race are those which haven’t won a race yet and, as a two year old, he’ll only run against horses his own age.
In blistering fashion, he romps home in first place and is subsequently given a handicap mark. This is a representation of the horse’s ability based on his runs to date, similar to how a golfer is handicapped based on his performances. However, unlike a golfer who is disadvantaged in his score, a horse is disadvantaged by carrying additional weight.
As a result of Romeo gaining his first handicap mark of 90 and the fact that he can no longer enter a maiden race following his first career victory, he is then entered into a Handicap Race. These races are open to horses of varying ability with each one carrying a different weight – the more highly rated the horse, the bigger the weight it carries. Theoretically, this weighting system should see every horse cross the line at the same time, although in reality factors such as the going, jockey, distance, course, weather and a multitude of others come into play.
Having won his maiden convincingly, Romeo is the top-weight in the handicap race finishes a distant 9th. Obviously his maiden win wasn’t as impressive as it seemed, or perhaps the ground just wasn’t to his liking. On further inspection, as with many two year old horses, he has picked up an injury and misses the rest of the season.
Returning now as a bigger three-year old, Romeo is declared for his comeback race. It’s another handicap, although his handicap mark has been lowered to reflect his poor run last time out. A lower mark means a lower weight, but unfortunately Romeo is unable to turn the tables and loses once again – badly.
His trainer and owner, Nadia De Carlo, loses patience very quickly at this point, and decides that she would consider selling him if the price was right. The decision is taken to put him into a Claiming Race. Claimers can often be a bit tricky to get your head around, but essentially every horse is up for sale. The trainer allocates what he feels is a competitive weight for the horse to run at, although the lower the weight, the lower the eventual sale price will be.
In this instance, the claiming race Romeo enters places a value of £20,000 on a horse who wins at 10 stone. In this particular race, it has been declared that for each 1lb taken off the horse, £1,000 will be removed from its claim value. Nadia De Carlo believes that Romeo needs to drop another 7lbs in the weights to have a chance of winning and, in doing so, is available to be claimed for £13,000.
The different between this and a Selling Race is down to the claim process. In selling races, horses are simply sold to the highest bidder in the winner’s enclosure.
After winning his claimer on a photo-finish, Romeo is purchased by fictional trainer, James Lurker, who has sterling reputation for improving young horses…
That’s it for this week’s beginners blog! Keep an eye out for next week’s guide as we pick up from where this week has left off, looking at the basics behind listed races, group races, hurdling and fences. For more blogs and analysis from Betting Gods you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.