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How to Pick a Winning Horse - Betting Strategy

Betting is all about attempting to win back more than you wager - it is a fun activity which contributes towards the exhilaration of watching horse racing. Make sure you only bet what you can afford to lose prior to using your horse betting strategy.

Once you are familiar with different types of bets and betting terminology, below are a few pointers to help you choose which horse to bet on.

Research your horses

Find all the information you need on runners and riders on the irishracing.com racecards. You can find detailed statistics on the horse’s previous form, trainer and jockey form and information, including letters such as ‘CD’ which represents whether the horse has previously won at the course over the same distance. These factors and many more will help you to perfect your horse racing betting system.

Don’t focus on a favourite

Betting odds are a guide to a horse’s chances of winning a race, however horse racing odds are subjective and subject to change. A favourite is deemed the most likely to win a race, however always backing a favourite is unlikely to make you a profit in the long run. Always consider the other runners in the race and look at their form. Bear in mind there are so many variables when it comes to winning on horse racing.

Study the Racecard Form

Studying the form should be one of the key components of anyone’s horse racing betting system. The form is written to the left of a horse’s name on the racecard and is read from right to left. The numbers show the finishing position of the horse on its last runs. It is also worth looking at where the horses it has beaten in the past have finished in their races and whether they have since won, which is known as a ‘form boost’.


Consider the horse’s breeding or pedigree, which can be found on the racecard underneath a horse’s name. You will find the sire (horse’s father) and the dam (horse’s mother).

If the horse’s sire was successful over certain distances or in certain races, this may be a good pointer for races over that distance. The breeding of a horse is a useful angle for two-year-old races when they have not run before.

Horse Racing Tips

It may help to consider what the experts think about a race to inform your decision as they spend their days studying the form and often have some of the best horse racing strategies.

Find free racing tips here from our well-qualified experts - Irish Racing’s founder Vincent Finegan, former Bookmaker and Betting Expert’s Stephen Harris and Longshot Ed Quigley.

Many horse racing enthusiasts and punters will have their own betting strategies and the above pointers are a good place to start. Once you have the basics covered when trying to pick a winner, you can start to delve deeper in the form and develop your own betting system for horse racing - it is all part of the fun!

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