Loads of people have been asking what criteria should be assessed when backing horses – so we asked the Betting Gods – and here are some of our favourites!
Horses with a couple of wins next to their name tend to look more attractive than say a horse whose finished 5th and 6th on his last two runs. However, if those two wins were in handicaps, whilst the 5th and 6th placed finished were in Group Races, you can probably guess which is the better horse.
A perfect example was Saturday’s big Lincoln Handicap. The market was headed by two four-year-olds who had won some decent handicaps as three-year-olds, however they were being asked to carry more weight than the eventual winner Gabrial who had dropped down the weights after repeatedly coming up short in Group Races. His form figures may not have looked instantly appealing but further study showed they were better than they looked – and a 16/1 winner was plucked from the depths of the form book!
Trying to work out the likely pace of a race and which horses will benefit from it is also important. Off a slow pace some horses possess a devastating finishing kick, but can’t produce that in a strongly run race, whilst other horses have the ability to travel on the bridle in a quickly run race.
The going can range from heavy to firm and, whilst some horses go on any ground, many have a marked preference for certain underfoot conditions.
Just like people, horse can catch a variety of minor and major illnesses – some of which are contagious and quickly affect their stable-mates. Backing horses from stables emerging from a spell in the doldrums or laying horses from a stable whose horses aren’t running up to their best can give you an edge.
Not as important as trainer form but a jockey riding with confidence can certainly be worth a pound or two. Spotting future stars in the amateur ranks can also give you an advantage – as they take between 3lb and 10lb off a horse’s back.
Many trainers target a big race with their horses and build a campaign around peaking for that big day. Paul Nicholls is a master at it – but many of the smaller trainers are also good at getting one ready for a big occasion.
Some races have strong trends when it comes to carrying weights – and a high percentage of winners can fall into a certain weight bracket. Equally some horses are better carrying big weights against lesser opposition, whilst some horse thrive when given a chance to carry a light-weight against better opposition. This is especially pertinent in jump racing.
When you’ve weighed-up all that criteria and found a horse you think has a genuine chance of winning – you then have to consider if the odds of the horse are better or worse than its true odds of winning the race. If they are you should back it – and, if not, don’t!
I hope that’s some help.
Here at Betting Gods we enjoy the battle with the bookies day after day, week after week – and we’re always here to help you battle them, too!