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How to pick a winning horse in 2020 – 3 simple and effective strategies

Horse racing is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world with many factors that determine the outcome of a race.

But there are certain strategies and techniques you can employ to help you pick winning horses more often.

In this article, we’ll check out key things to consider when choosing a horse to bet on.

Let’s get started.

How to pick a winning horse

Every bettor under the sun wants to pick winning horses on a regular basis. However, it’s easier said than done.

But you’re not going to give up there are you!

Here are the main things to consider when you want to pick a winning horse in 2020:

  • Analyse the racecard and form
  • Research the betting odds
  • Follow betting tipsters

Let’s check out each of these in more detail.

Analyse the racecard and form

Horse racing is full of statistics and information. This is one of the main reasons it draws so much attention and popularity throughout the world and why there’s so much money in horse racing.

Whilst the abundance of information can be great, any beginners out there can sometimes be overwhelmed and confused.

When picking a winning horse, it’s important to keep a clear head and analyse the stats and information that are ‘key’ to success.

Winning horse

The racecard is certainly one of these ‘key’ bits of information that will make a difference when it comes to picking a winning horse.

Over time and as you become more experienced with horse racing betting, the racecard will be your go-to for information and you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in a matter of minutes.

So what does the racecard tell you and what should you look for?

In it’s simplest form the racecard tells you:

  • Details of a race (time, the going, distance etc.)
  • Horses in the race (names, age, number etc.)
  • The recent form of each horse

Whilst bettors don’t need to know the names and numbers of the horses, there is some very helpful information included such as:

  • The going
  • The distance
  • The form

The key piece of information on the racecard is the recent form section which you can see in the bottom left of this racecard from

Horse racecard

The form is a series of numbers and sometimes letters that gives a brief explanation of the recent performances of a horse.

Whilst past form isn’t the be-all and end-all of picking a winning horse, it’s certainly an important aspect. It’s generally not a great idea to select a horse that has performed poorly in its last few outings.

Having said that, you should also consider the context of past results. How many runners were there etc?

A horse may appear to have done well on the racecard but in reality, the actual performance may be very different.

Whilst the form on a racecard is great for a quick snap-shot, it doesn’t give bettors the full picture. You need to do some extra research for this information.

Key aspects of form

When looking at past races, there are certain questions that are worth asking like has the horse proven itself at the same course or over the same distance?

Thankfully the racecard tells you this information making your job much easier.

Specifically, there are certain letters and numbers that you should look for. These are the letters C and D.

The letter C means the horse has previously won at the course and the letter D means the horse has won over the same distance in the past.

In the following example, you can see ‘BF’ and ‘D’.

Racecard with BF and D

In both scenarios, it’s a nice indication that a horse has previously performed well in a certain aspect of the race. This may help you in the process of picking a winner.

As we saw in the example above, another useful combination of letters to look out for on the racecard are ‘BF’ as this means a horse was a beaten favourite.

If the race is for younger horses then the racecard may not have any information relating to the horse’s form.

In this case, you’ll need to do some extra research to find out how a horse is likely to perform.

The going

Another piece of information that you can find on the racecard is the going. The surface of the track plays a big part in picking a winner as horses perform differently on certain surfaces.

When looking at past form consider the going of the ground and that of the upcoming race. A horse that performed well on a certain surface may well be worth a bet if conditions are similar.

Overall, the racecard contains vital information that will help you pick a winning horse. I recommend this is your first port of call when betting on horse racing.

Distance between races

The time between last races is another important consideration when picking winning horses.

It’s thought that the optimal time off between races is 30-60 days. Any more than this and a horse may need a race to get back to full fitness.

Research the betting odds

Another strategy we’re going to look at to help you pick more winners is researching the betting odds.

The bookmakers offer odds for each horse in a race based on the likelihood of that horse winning.

In the run-up to an event, the odds are constantly fluctuating (getting smaller and bigger). This is especially the case at a betting exchange like Smarkets and Bedaq.

These price movements are based on whether the betting community is buying or selling a certain horse.

If the odds are getting smaller (shortening) this typically means the support for a horse is growing. The community think a win is more likely.

If the odds are getting bigger (lengthening) it typically means the opposite. The support is dwindling and the hopes for this horse are reducing.

So we know odds help us pick winning horses but how can we check historical movements. We need to know which way the community is moving.

Well, this is made incredibly easy at certain betting exchanges.

Horse race betting graph

At Smarkets, you can see graphs which show money that’s been traded. This is incredibly helpful for working out which horses the market fancies.

Follow betting tipsters

Another strategy you can use to pick winning horses is by researching what tipsters are saying.

Are racing tipsters all backing a certain horse? If so, there’s a fair chance that this horse is worth betting on.

In terms of finding tipsters, there are various sites out there. You can consider a betting exchange like betconnect or a pure tipster site like Tipstrr.

Either way, it’s important to do your research before placing any bets or following a certain tipster.

There’s a lot of bull**** out there with paid tipsters claiming they’re making millions each year when in reality they’re really not…

I recommend you check their win to loss ratio, the number of tips they’ve given and how many followers they’ve got.

With sites like betconnect, this is incredibly easy as you can see from the following screenshot.

Follow betconnect tipsters

All the important information is easy to read meaning you have peace of mind when it comes to following certain tipsters.

Picking winning horses in 2020

So to summarise, picking winning horses is not easy and you’re not going to win every bet.

However, using the strategies mentioned above you’ll have a much greater chance of picking winners on a more regular basis.

Here’s a quick recap of the key strategies:

  • Analyse the racecard and form
  • Research the betting odds
  • Follow betting tipsters

Good luck with your horse racing betting.