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Wednesday 14 February 2018

New to backing the horses? Here are three tips from the experts

Gambling on the horses was once seen as something of a specialist – and potentially disreputable – art. As is so often the case, the large and small screens are probably largely to blame, with those who bet on horses portrayed either as shady characters lurking trackside or wide boy chancers like Robert Redford and Paul Newman’s characters in the 1973 classic The Sting

Everyone likes a bet

It is always a shame to let the truth get in the way of a good story, but the reality is that in the internet age especially, putting a small wager on any sport is all part of the fun for sports fans of all ages and backgrounds. Horse racing is no different, and sites like Betting Pro have regular visitors from all over the world checking in for the bet of the day. They are seeing a growing number of newcomers to the world of betting, so for those people, and perhaps for old stagers too, here are their top three tips for success at the races. 

1) Follow the KISS principle

As every soldier and management consultant knows, KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid! Today’s online bookmakers provide a dizzying choice of special bets and exotics such as quadrellas. They might look tempting, but if you enter an actual betting shop or go to a race, you will see that the professional gamblers steer clear and stick to straight up win betting. That should be reason enough to follow a similar path, particularly while you are learning the ropes. When you can consider yourself an expert, you might want to branch out into more complex betting – or then again, you might have convinced yourself beyond doubt that keeping it simple is the best policy. 

2) Learn the territory

The more you learn about backing horses, the more nuanced you realise it is. It is not just the horses you need to understand, but also the nature of the track and the distance over which they are running. Beginners can make things far simpler by focussing their attention on one track, at least to start with. That way, you are immediately reducing the number of variables you need to consider. Once you are comfortable about what you are doing and reading the form guides like a pro, you can always start to broaden your horizons. 

3) It’s not a one horse race

The biggest trap that newcomers fall into is approaching a race and deciding which horse they are going to back. Professionals will typically back two, three or more horses in a race. If you follow this tip, also think about the amount you will wager. If you simply level stake, putting the same amount on each, more often than not, the favourite will come in and you will do little better than break even. So instead, place your bets such that your return will be the same regardless of which horse comes in first.