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Choosing a good racehorse to bet on can be difficult, especially when you’re a beginner. So many things factor into the performance, such as the physical fitness, temperament, and minute-to-minute condition of the horse. How can you learn about that without knowing the horse?
Fortunately, there are many metrics you can use to judge a horse and decide if it’s worthy of your wager. We’ve gone through some of these below, so check them out and learn something new along the way.
When you think you have what it takes to pick a winning horse, check out TVG.com and the betting guides offered there.
Let’s start with the typical metrics that first come to mind. Racing is just a matter of who covers distance the fastest, so this is an important metric that should be considered. Horses have different stamina levels that, when they give out, cause them to drastically slow down and lose the race. Keep in mind that a horse’s performance over even or uneven ground will differ too, so a horse will have less stamina when they have to contend with obstacles and other running disruptions.
This is important when horses are running on the flat. Horse pedigree gives us an idea of their stamina and when the animal will reach its peak performance. Look into the breeding of the horse too, especially if the horse in question is a maiden. Doing that can give you some short-term clues on how they’ll perform and what their stamina level will peak at.
Going is important for winter months and other cold climates. As we said above, horses perform differently depending on the surfaces they’re running across. Along with this, individual horses will have different specialties and proclivities for covering certain types of ground. Some horses love to tear through the mud with their hooves and so perform better than those who get bogged down and lax. Know the environment of the ground and check the previous results for that week, see if a horse has shown consistent performance.
Similar to the last point, some horses simply perform better when on racecourses that they’re familiar with. Every course will have unique aspects that can help or hinder a horse’s performance. Check the past of your horse to see if they have a legacy of victory or failure on the current racecourse. If they have won it in the past, they may be your best bet for the day.
This is something to keep in mind for when the race is beginning from stalls or gates. Pay attention to where your chosen horse is going to start. If they’re at an outside stall position, they’re more likely to win an outright sprint race. If they’re in an inside stall position, they’re likely to perform better when the race is a longer route that calls for pacing. It’s no guarantee that the positions will turn a losing bet into a winning one but it’s still something every horseracing bettor should know.
Handicap marks are a numbered estimation of the horse’s ability at that time. It takes several different things into account, chiefly their weight as this is used to differentiate the horse’s ability. It’s also a handy way to judge current horses against the retired racing horses that have come in the past, for the purpose of reporting and record-keeping.
With that covered, you should know that horses reach a peak in their handicap where they then start to lose form and struggle to stay competitive against other horses. As that mark slowly decreases over time. If the race you’re betting on is a handicap race, look at a horse’s rating and judge it against that of the last horse that won. This can give you an idea of where your chosen horse is in terms of ability.
While the horse is the star of the show, they’re not alone. Some horses will perform differently depending on their owner, trainer, and their jockey. These three people have a massive effect on how the horse is kept, disciplined, and controlled when out at the races. When these three are a dream team, the horse is going to benefit by having a great performance. If not, the horse’s performance may suffer. Different venues result in different trainers and jockeys too, in which case their influence might improve or degrade the horse’s winning potential.