We’re all here because we want to win some cash from betting on horses, right?! Or attempt a win.
It might not be just about winning a few quid for many of us. Nothing can quite match the adrenaline that flows when your 25-1 shot is coming to the last two lengths down but full of running and gaining with every stride or has led all the way and is still going strong up front with two left to jump. Or yours is a huge price but motoring into the final furlong on the flat and has to fight hard to get up on the line for a short head win.
And nothing can give quite the same emotional engagement as horse racing. We UK and Ireland horse racing fans love our horses, don’t we? You’ll know the names – Kauto, Denman, Imperial Commander, Frankel, Desert Orchid and dozens more. Those great horses and many of the unforgettable races they ran will imprint our memories until the day we’re watching up in the clouds.
Maybe it isn’t horse racing that gets you going, and your biggest focus is on other forms of sports betting. Or you prefer playing any one of several real money games, which also give a chance of winning some cash. But horse racing stands proudly among all forms of gambling, and horse race betting is a game in its own right. A game where you’re out to beat the odds and prove you’re right. One that delivers anticipation and excitement in droves and can invoke a roller-coaster of emotions.
Whether it’s betting on long shots or at lower odds, you’ll get the excitement with horse racing. You’ll get the thrills. You will shed tears, and you’ll need to be strong to weather the ups and downs. If you stick with it long enough, learn from your wins and losses, and think carefully about what you’re doing and what may or may not happen in a race, then alongside the exasperating times – and there will be some – you might get a few moments of pure elation.
In this article, we’ll take a look at three of the ways you can find longshot winners on the horses. There are few better ways than making predictions on a horse race to land a big priced winner and collect one of those types of payouts that get stored in the memory forever.
Will they work for you?
Well, the point is, they might! And at the very least, the principles involved might get you thinking about other ways to develop potentially lucrative betting angles or some form of system. Getting to bet them – at the bet stakes and odds you want – can be a challenge for some and likely needs a separate article on the subject.
Is it hard to find horse racing longshots with realistic chances of winning?
Yeah, anyone would be daft to say it’s easy. But take a look at the racing results for any day. Long priced winners do turn up, and they do so regularly enough that there is potential to spot them before the race if you know what to look for.
The key thing to remember is that you’re (almost always) working with incomplete information in a horse race. Horses (barring an arguable few) are not machines. They have preferences, they can improve, the quality of the opposition and pace of a race can impact their performance, they can be fit or unfit, they can just have off days, and much more. And much can depend on your own interpretations of form or the likelihood of any race going against the odds. Because of this, you can take on the shorter priced runners when you believe conditions are right and you’ve identified a runner at bigger odds that can go well.
Before we begin – you won’t read anything here that’s never been heard of before. There are a number of online resources which offer great information on finding winners and understanding how and why horse races play out the way they do, with many of them being well known, highly regarded, and easy to find. Racing forums are great for this, and, of course, horse racing is covered deeply here on BettingTools alongside all other aspects of online gambling.
That said, maybe this article presents a couple of perspectives that haven’t been widely covered before or that you haven’t seen put in this way. As such, it’s probably better suited to the punter looking into longshot betting for the first time rather than an experienced horse racing fan. Still, you may get some value.
You know as well as I do that there is no secret recipe for making guaranteed winning bets, and everything has already been written in one way or another. Indeed, the first two we cover here are probably well known to many readers, although maybe not all.
That doesn’t make them any less valid, though.
And the third? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute.
Don’t Leave Money On The Table
This concept of not leaving money behind means that when you do get a winner, at least get the most worthwhile odds you can for it….and it’s a concept that closely ties in with the often heard term ‘seeking value in your betting’.
Most major bookies cottoned on some years back to the fact that we, as punters, were hunting for the best odds and consequently introduced various best odds guaranteed offers.
They’re good offers, and you can’t go far wrong with them if you do bet with traditional bookies, particularly if you’ve identified a runner well before a race that’s very likely to contract in price. But (in most circumstances), the best way to get higher odds is by betting with exchanges, particularly on those horses that land races at bigger odds.
The most well-known betting exchange is Betfair, a name you’ll surely have already heard of, and there are numerous references to it throughout betting tools.
Betfair isn’t the only operator offering exchange bets, but they are the biggest. That means more money is available in their markets, which, in most cases, leads to better odds being available than elsewhere.
You can still get reasonably higher odds with others such as Betdaq and www.matchbook.com.
It’s almost certain you’re using one or more of these already, but you’d be surprised to hear that there are still some punters who don’t.
There may be the occasional good reason for that. Still, the bottom line is that for many sporting events (and most definitely for horses at the higher odds ranges), you will be getting significantly higher (and sometimes wildly higher) odds than with traditional bookies.
I had a runner marked down in a late evening Irish bumper about six months back. It had not been a particularly good day, and at least one of my earlier runners was still running. Probably backwards!
Fifteen minutes before the off and the market on Betfair showed a tenner available at 150 for my runner. I took it (stupidly, in fact, in light of what happened next).
Over the next 10 minutes, it steadily went 160 170 180…..all the way into the low 300s (where I waded in again, fortunately). In the two minutes before the off, it contracted again into the 100s.
It won. By about 2 inches. After a protracted, adrenaline-inducing battle, neck and neck with the hot favourite over the last couple of hundred yards.
That winner returned an industry SP of 33-1. I’m not sure, and it may have hit 50 or 66 at some point. I got an average of around 230-1 on the exchange.
Now, this is a fairly extreme example. But it happened, and it’s happened again since. It will happen again.
Being on the right horse is a bit of a trick here, of course, but we’ll see one way you might pinpoint this type of winner soon.
The main point to note here is that (almost without exception) the odds you’ll get on an exchange will be higher.
If you’re betting single horses to win – and if you’re not using an exchange to do it – then in most cases, you will be leaving money on the table.
Just to note – an exception to this assertion is if you’re betting on the evening before or in the early morning of a race. In these cases, the liquidity on the exchange may not be significant, and it’s possible that taking a traditional bookies BOG price may end up as being the best course of action for getting higher odds.
Keep a long memory
Horse racing is unpredictable. That’s part of its fun, and if it weren’t, then it wouldn’t exist as a betting medium. So one thing you do need to be aware of in the search for bigger priced winners is precisely that unpredictability.
And what can help here is the ability to keep a long memory….or the ability and drive to keep sound notes/records.
It’s not true in every case, but taking note of the saying “if it’s happened before, it can – or might – happen again” can pay dividends.
Of course, what we mean here is that if a horse has performed in a certain way in the past, then provided neither age nor injury has got in the way and the horse is racing within its class range and its preferred conditions, then it can/ might do the same again.
So, where this can work for us in a search for longer priced horse racing winners can be examples that might be years apart.
A perfect example….
The last day of Cheltenham 2017. The County Hurdle. The horse in question was sitting at the head of the weights – Arctic Fire.
Nearly two years before, Nick Mordin had written words to the effect of” I think this horse needs a big field to run through and could be seriously classy when he gets it.”
So Arctic Fire had subsequently proved he was close to Champion Hurdle class in a smallish field Champion.
Now here he is two years later in a 24 runner handicap (all be it a very competitive, high class one). AF had potentially perfect conditions which he had rarely encountered, in fact only twice before – resulting in an easy big-field novice win and a second in the 2014 County to another good horse and with some strong performers behind. At around 34-1 in the morning, there was no doubt it was worth a second look.
You’d need to have taken a leap of faith, but the reality is you’re doing that to some extent with most bets. Arctic Fire was running off the back of a long layoff. There was every reason to suspect that Mullins wouldn’t have been risking it unless he was fit and OK to run, plus it had a reasonably obvious potential class advantage that suggested 34-1 would be worth a play.
The result is history – a great, fast pace County with some high-class horses who’ve subsequently (right down to 10th position at least) won some good races since. It’ll be throwing up winners for some time and not always at prohibitive odds.
Arctic Fire won it by a few inches, beating another high-class horse in L’Ami Serge. You might want to take note here of Ozzie The Oscar, who finished third. Now chasing, it could be that a fast run 2m handicap chase will be right up his street. Maybe the Grand Annual this year or next?
This one result is just an example. You’ll find dozens throughout a season in various grade races where a horse goes in at a big price unexpectedly, even though it’ll have proved it did have the ability in the past.
Bottom line – keep an eye open for horses hitting their perfect conditions who’ve shown the strong capability of winning in that class of race before, and remember there could be a long wait between drinks.
Know your sires
The offspring of parents often carry specific attributes from their parents’ genes, and this is seen throughout various forms of life.
So from a horse racing perspective, there’s a good reason why the youngsters produced by certain stallions and mares can command huge sums in the sales ring. The purchasers will be looking for the next Derby or 2000 Guineas winner (or potential Gold Cup winner)…and if the conformity of the youngster seems good, then there’s a reasonable chance they might be able to emulate their sire.
Some sire’s offspring can show a marked overall tendency to perform at their best in specific conditions. This variation in performance might be on the sand, on soft ground, on fast ground, early in their careers, late in their careers, over certain distance ranges either speed based or stamina based or in between, and/or anything else you can think of or any combination of those.
So how do we make use of this from the perspective of finding potential long priced winners?
Well, the first point to note is that sire influence can have an impact on any class of race. It might be more prevalent in high class, but you will find horses winning lower grade races whose sire indicated they might be well suited to that type of race.
Anyone can tell you to back every Galileo offspring that runs at x distance, is trained by x, in x class of race etc. And you may well get a few winners. In the vast majority of cases, though, they won’t be at hefty odds.
So the principle behind finding longer priced winners based on sire influence is to look beyond the obvious or well-documented. If you can note potential improvement (or unrecognised potential) that a horse might show in a lower class race, or often in races for relatively inexperienced horses, or at least those in the earlier stages of their racing careers.
How to do that?
If you’re using the same sources of information as everyone else, sure, you’ll get some winners.
Almost exclusively not at the big prices we’re looking for, though. So you need to carry out your own research and identify those sires who might produce an unexpected winner in a particular type of race.
I won’t name specific examples here. Maybe that’ll be the subject of another article. But consider something we touched on earlier –” if it’s happened before, it can – or might – happen again.”
This doesn’t necessarily apply only to specific horses but can apply (not always, but sometimes) to particular types of horses, too – and as we’ve seen, the sire can place a horse into a certain bracket/type.
So if you take notice of which sires can produce unexpected winners of certain types of races, there is a chance that a similar sired horse might be able to run unexpectedly well.
Another option is to recognise the sires of winners of good class races and then try to apply what you’ve learned to the appearances of their offspring in lower class races.
Landing a big winner this way will give you a glow that will last a long time. There’s not a much better feeling than being in a minority (of one sometimes!) that lands a winner that no one else expected.
Sire analysis has excellent potential for landing some big winners. At the higher prices, it may only be a handful of times a season, but that handful can make a massive difference to whether you’ll end up in profit or down.
There are several ways of betting on horses that may help you identify potential long priced winners. The three above are examples, but ‘only’ examples. There are others.
You could focus on trainer form, for example. Or trainer profiles and how they place their horses. Or look for potential improvement based on a combination of everything we’ve covered, and look for combined factors from many perspectives that could alert you to an impending surprise result. You can study certain types of races, watch them on recordings, and identify likely improvers that not many others will have seen.
Plus, if it’s big wins you want – as opposed to big odds individual winners – then there is a strategic approach to trebles betting that occasionally results in a fair sized payout.
I’ll make these the subject of a future article, but anyone who wants to discuss any points made can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to hear from fellow punters, so feel free to send through anything on your mind. Who knows, we may even be able to share one or two ‘secrets’ which may not be wise to put out into the open yet.
On a last note, for now, it won’t have escaped your notice that any examples used here are positive ones. In any approach to betting on horses at bigger odds, you’re going to back a lot of losers, and if you’re backing outsiders, it’s almost certainly going to be a lot of losers. Hell, that’s even the case for some of us when we’re regularly backing 3-1 shots!
So it’s a given that you’ll place losing bets, which ties in with the unpredictability of the game.
Anyone who bets needs to accept this. The best you can do is just not get involved at all if the thought of losers hurts or if you’re potentially prone to addiction, keep stakes well within your comfort zone, and/or make sure you learn from losing experiences and find the positives.
At the end of the day, the target is to have more in your betting account(s) than you started with. In other words, to have backed more winners at good odds to outweigh any losing bets…and enjoyed the ride.
For sure, landing a 100-1 plus winner is not an experience you’ll forget. Watching it while it’s happening is guaranteed to send the adrenaline levels through the roof.
Have fun trying, make sure you’re a responsible gambler and be careful.