Holding your nerve and being able to bet late in horse racing takes skill and practice.
You can read and know all the form beforehand, but if you are watching live at a racetrack you may spot something.
Bettors who are on course could have the edge over those gambling on the races away from the track, thanks to the opportunity to see horses parade before a race and on their way down to the start.
Read on to discover our step-by-step guide on how to bet late in horse racing.
1. Pick Out Horses
To Follow Beforehand
There is plenty of
preparation you can do before a horse race.
From buying programs and a Daily Racing Form/pro racecard upon arriving at the track to studying the form yourself in advance, the more research the better.
This allows you to make
informed decisions about the horses running in a race.
It’s worth creating a
shortlist from the field of runners based on what you have learned beforehand,
so you can focus on watching their behavior in the paddock and other
Keeping a close eye on the betting market to see which horses are fancied and noting any changes is also important.
If a favorite has been weak on the morning of the race, that could suggest it may not be 100%. You will be able to confirm that yourself when you observe horses parading.
Noting the weather and conditions is another area of consideration.
While this may alter during racing, racetracks always announce a change in going – just like they do with non-runners and jockey changes.
They will also tell you what the ground is like on course for racing before the day’s action begins.
Pay attention and use
this information to your advantage.
Certain horses perform
better in certain conditions. Softer or sloppier going, depending on whether
races are on turf or dirt, can make even shorter distance races into greater
tests of stamina.
One or other of these
terms will be uses to describe the going:
All of these factors, plus stable, jockey and horse’s form, are things you have to weigh up in advance of a horse race.
It might seem a bit old school to have wide angle binoculars, but serious horse racing bettors who are regulars at the track use them.
These allow you to zoom
in and get a really good look at horses.
You may spot something
while keeping your eye on a fancied runner that others haven’t. Racetracks are
large places and not everything is going to be within the range of your normal
In order to enhance
your viewing of the race – and the horses’ behavior beforehand – it makes sense
to take binoculars with you.
You are giving yourself
the best chance of seeing all the action, both before and during the races.
3. Put Yourself In
The Right Place
Location is key to being able to bet late in horse racing.
where you have a view of the parade and also the horses going down to start,
but also within striking distance of a betting window or automated
teller, is vital.
You need quick access
Even if you are betting online, then you need to be in a place where the large body of people that is the crowd of racegoers won’t interfere with the internet signal and connection, so you can get your bet on.
It can be very beneficial to look in advance at the layout of the racetrack.
If you know where
everything is and have a sense of where is best to position yourself, then you
can literally be better placed to see everything you need to.
4. Watch The
Horses In The Preliminaries
Although you have a
shortlist in mind, judging all the horses dispassionately and irrespective of
the market in the paddock and on their way to start is your next step.
It’s often overlooked
that racehorses are like people – everyone is different.
Consider the following:
- Is any horse playing up, sweating or misbehaving in the paddock? It may be normal for horses to get excited as they are aware that they are about to race. However, this isn’t the case for them all.
- Does a horse have just one handler taking it around the parade in the paddock? If there are two, then this suggests it may not be so well-behaved in the preliminaries.
- On the way down to the start, is a horse being kept apart from the others? Races involve groups of horses running against one another and, if they can’t settle beforehand, that may be a negative.
- Consider the way a horse carries itself. A low or angled head carriage, or excessive bucking suggest it may be highly strung.
- Look at how the jockey is riding a horse on its way to start. If they are straining on the reins to keep it in check, then that may be an indication of a headstrong horse.
Make a mental note of
the behavior of the horses, even those who aren’t on your shortlist.
Now it’s time to
5. Reduce Your
Based on what you have
observed in the preliminaries and through your binoculars, it’s time to
eliminate horses from the shortlist and settle on the one you’re going to bet
Unruly horses are the
most obvious to discount, depending on whether that behavior is unusual for
them or not.
A horse that is controlled but vibrant and moving easily down to the start under its jockey is ideally what you are looking for.
Now refresh yourself
with the form and see if conditions and past performances support what you’ve
6. Check Out The Odds
Now it’s time to
consult the betting market once again.
Your chosen horse may
have seen its odds shorten as other observers spot what you saw, or the
bookmakers may have been slow to react.
Either way, don’t
Although frustrating to
miss bigger odds, remember that the racehorse’s price coming in is a good sign because
the market is speaking for them.
because a price drifts and gets larger doesn’t mean the horse won’t win.
There may be a hot
favorite in the race that you as a bettor want to take on.
If the market remains
in favor of that horse, then you may be getting even better value on the wager
you’re going to place.
It’s always worth comparing the prices available on track to those online (hence you need to avoid the crowds to make sure you’ve got decent 4G).
A look at the betting exchanges can also prove informative. If fixed odds prices aren’t in line with these, then you may be ahead of the game.
Remember, you don’t
just have to bet on a horse to win.
There are also plenty of other race and exotic bets available, depending on your level of gambling expertise and the situation.
7. Place Your Bets
You may have to queue
to get your bet on if you are gambling at the track.
That means it’s worthwhile to write the ticket out in advance, so you can you make the process at a betting window as quick as possible.
Having blank betslips
or tickets with you to write out your chosen bet is fine.
You aren’t able to do
this with an automated teller, but these are simple to use as an alternative
means of betting on-track once you familiarize yourself with them.
Betting online is much easier for times when you want to bet late in a horse race.
This is because there
are no queues. All you need is a decent internet connection and the betting app
or website loaded on your smartphone or tablet.
We hope you enjoyed our guide and picked up some of the basic tips for betting late in horse racing.
You might still have a few questions, so we’ve included some FAQs below:
How late can I bet
on a horse race?
This depends on your
betting method. Bookmakers on track and online will suspend the market once
horses come under starter’s orders.
For a Flat race, no
further bets are taken once all horses are in the gates. Betting online is
available pretty much right up until the last second.
What are the
benefits of betting late on a horse race?
The benefits of betting
late are that you have the maximum amount of information to go on and you had
the opportunity to see all the horses yourself.
Placing bets beforehand means you haven’t seen how the horses are behaving – vital information before a race.
… And the drawbacks?
There are some potential downsides to betting late. A horse’s odds of winning the race may shorten if they were well-behaved in the preliminaries and other fancied runs played up.
You may have picked out a horse at better odds earlier in the day and missed them. That is the chance you take when you bet late.
Can I win more
money by placing a bet late?
This depends on how the
betting market has unfolded on a race.
Sometimes, leaving it
late works in your favor and you get better odds and a bigger return, but on
other occasions it works against you.
You develop betting judgment
over time and decide to whether gamble on a price still being there shortly
before a race begins, or take the odds without seeing the horse parade.
Knowledge is power when it comes to making money off horse racing. Keep up to date with Casino.org’s horse racing news, or check out our blog posts on the biggest horse races in the world and the top 10 jockeys.