The first thing to consider is the surface that the horse is riding on. Lay the top-form favourites during the winter when they race on the All Weather (AW) surfaces because the short favourites are often unaccustomed to the surface. Horses may race on sand, AW or turf. Each horse has its own preference. Identify each horse’s preference, and you can add that factor into your betting system so you are able to pick winning horses more successfully.
What Is the Going Like?
You have either heavy, good-to-soft, good, good-to-firm and firm. They are all very important elements of a horse race, especially on the flat where hurdles are not a factor. The heavier and more handicapped horses will struggle on heavier ground and will tire more quickly. Also, the stall a horse starts a race in will usually give either an advantage or disadvantage, however, on firm ground this advantage/disadvantage mostly melts away. If your horse has a poor record on that type of ground, then it will probably be pulled from the race. Otherwise, you should think again before backing it.
There are some maiden races where certain horses have not raced on certain grounds, and it is up to you to figure out which have and which haven’t. You will find that each horse has a favourite ground type, and it is up to you to monitor the horse and see which ground it runs the best on. You do not have to worry about judging the ground for yourself because you can find the going both in the papers and online.
If you are going to lay bets, then do it when the ground is as heavy as possible. The really fantastic over-performing horses tend to do better on firmer ground than they do on heavier ground. This is mostly because firmer ground allows for more speed, whereas heavier ground requires more stamina and muscle. If you are laying bets, then do it for favourites when the ground is heavy and wet.
Distance Determines The Type Of Horse That Wins
There are many different types of horse. Some are good sprinters, others have lots of energy, others are powerful in short distances with heavy ground, and others can run for miles at a fast pace. There are many types of horse, and you have to match each one to the race it is in. Figure out if the horse you have picked is perfect for the distance.
You will often see horses start off as sprint horses and then become distance horses as they get older. This means if a young horse is already doing well over long distances, then you need to question its form both over short distances and you should risk laying a bet on it when it runs long distances. If the horse is bumped up to a longer distance too early, then the horse may not be as high quality as you guess, and it may be worth backing against the horse. If the horse is handicapped, there is a good chance it will lose.
Conversely, you may sometimes see a horse have its distance dropped back a little to something a little shorter. If the stable that trains the horse is new and/or under funded/small, then it may be them experimenting. If the stable is a big and/or rich one, then the drop in distance may be an indication that they are not 100% confident about the form of the horse.
Horses are creatures of habit, which means if the stable has been racing the horse at one distance for a while and then suddenly shifts; it may have a negative effect on the horse. However, if the horse is a full-time loser and hasn’t won in a while, then switching the running distance may be the jolt the horse needs. This is true sometimes "except" when the horse has placed second or third recently. Common sense may suggest that if the distance is changed, then maybe the horse will pull ahead, but that is not the case. Many times, a scenario such as this suggests that the horse has been trained to follow and not lead, which means you should still avoid betting on it.
Do Not Put Too Much Stock In Maiden Race Winners
You are going to see a few star horses blast the competition during maiden races. Usually they will enter bigger and more professional races with short odds, but it is a very different arena and many superstar winners in the maidens never enjoy a successful career within professional races. Some new runners need a few races before they become accustomed to racing.
Remember that even though a horse did well in the maiden races, it still needs educating on how to race horses of a higher class, and it still needs a very good jockey to help control the horse and time the race just right according to the horses ability. Metaphorically speaking, a Ferrari won’t win a race if it is driven by a goose. If you monitor the horse for too long and it turns into a good one, then your odds are going to shorten and you will win less, therefore your willingness to bet on such horses is directly related to your risk tolerance. Are you willing to throw away money hoping that a good maiden horse will mature quickly?
What Weight Is The Horse Carrying?
Remember that firm ground will mean the weight penalty will be less meaningful and that handicap betting becomes more difficult. It is up to you to research and see how much the weight being carried really affects the horse.
If you are a fan of watching the horseracing, then you will know the massive impact that weight both has and doesn’t have on a horse’s performance. There are times when a horse treats a five-pound penalty like a hanky full of feathers, and there are other times when a horse goes up three pounds and is suddenly unable to place. Even punters that are not taking notes and creating betting systems are aware, albeit passively, of which horses take weight well and which do not. Just remember, as mentioned earlier, that the wetter (heavier) the ground is, then the more of a hindrance a weight handicap becomes.