Alongside the Aintree Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival is the most famous jump racing meeting in the world. The Grand National may have notoriety amongst the public, but the Cheltenham Festival has the prestige to make it the pinnacle of the sport for everyone involved.
This makes having a bet on a horse at Cheltenham all the more interesting, but what goes into the decision-making process when choosing a runner to back?
Funny names, lucky numbers, favourite jockey colours, we have all used these unorthodox methods of selecting a horse to bet on. Although there are many success stories from this system, consistently picking winners requires a certain amount of knowledge.
Here are just some of the things you should consider when making your selection.
When it comes to horse racing betting, the saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ is particularly apt. Some like to back short-priced favourites for a little bit of security, whilst others are more adventurist in their selections, preferring to pick a big-priced outsider for the chance to win big from a minimal outlay.
Betting on favourites is the safe option. Horses are favourites for a reason, but then again, horse racing is far from an exact science and any amount of things can happen throughout a race, particularly in the jumps racing sphere.
Picking outsiders that have the potential to cause a shock is a tough task, but there are some things to look out for that may help you find a big-priced winner.
Course And Distance Form
‘Horses for courses’ is a saying that we have probably all heard of, and it takes on particular significance when it comes to finding a big-priced runner in a given race. Horses can be strange animals at times, and for some reason, some of them seem to perform better at one track than another.
Jump racing tracks are unique in their layout, and a certain type of track can suit one horse whilst playing against the strengths of his rivals. A horse that has won at a course before, particularly one with an unusual layout, can sometimes outrun its large odds.
The distance of a race can also help an outsider upset the more favoured runners. Perhaps the horse in question has been running over a distance that doesn’t play to its strengths, so a return to a trip it has previously won at could see an upturn in performance.
It may sound a little far-fetched, but the winning of a race can come down to as little as 1lb of the weight difference between two horses. This is particularly true when it comes to handicap races where each horse will carry a different weight on their back.
The weight allocated to each runner is decided by their rating, which, in theory, should give each horse the same chance of winning the race if the ratings are correct. Of course, this is not always the case. One thing to look out for is a horse that has been showing improved form but is carrying a low weight in the race.
These are just two of many ways to make your decision on which horse to bet on in a race. People have their own way of searching for winners, but there is a certain amount of method to the madness.
With the Cheltenham Festival now fast approaching, it is time to get your technique down to a tee. Best of luck!