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Here, Peter Watton from the matched betting site OddsMonkey shares his top tips for choosing a winning horse at Cheltenham. Take these tips on board to increase your chances of ending the week with more money in your pocket!
One of the biggest events in the UK’s horse racing calendar is almost upon us. The Cheltenham Festival 2020 will take place from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 March, which means horse betting fans across the UK will already be starting to pick their winners.
Whether you’ll be going along to Cheltenham or you’re planning to have a flutter and watch the races from the comfort of your own home, you’ll want to choose your horses carefully. Here, I’m going to outline some of my top tips that should help to increase your chances of picking a winner. Good luck!
Take advice from tipsters
If you’re new to horse betting and have no idea where to start, getting some advice from tipsters can take a lot of the guess work out of the process. Tipsters are people who’ve been in the horse racing game for a long time, so they typically know exactly what to look out for in order to pick a horse that’s going to perform well.
While some tipsters will charge for their services, there are also plenty of sites and forums where you can find lots of free advice that will help you with your decision.
Study the horses’ form
If you would prefer to do your own research, start by checking the form of the horses in the race you’re looking to bet on. This is the record of how they’ve performed in their most recent events and should give you a good idea of how they’ll do at Cheltenham.
On most race cards, you’ll find a horse’s form numbers to the left of their name. These will read from right to left, showing their most recent to their least recent positions. To the right of their names, there’ll also be some letters that tell you more about their performances. Here’s what those means:
- CD = has won over course and distance
- C = course winner
- D = distance winner
- BF = was a beaten favourite last time out
Some horses may have also failed to finish a particular race. Again, letters will be given to show the reason for this. Here’s what they look like, and what each of them means:
- F = fell
- P = pulled up
- U = unseated rider
- R = refused
- C = carried out
- L = left at start
- O = ran out
- B = brought down
- S = slipped
- V = void race
- D = disqualified
Keep all of this in mind when you’re looking for your winning horse, and it should help you to pick a great contender.
Keep an eye on the odds
If you want to choose your horses quickly and easily, the best thing to do is look at the odds. One horse will always be given shorter odds than the rest — this is because it’s the favourite. It might seem like an obvious strategy to bet on this horse but, actually, the bookies’ favourite only tends to win around a third of the time, and you won’t stand to make much money if you choose them and they do win. So, it can pay to go with a different horse that’s still expected to perform well, but that will get you a better return on your stake if they do win.
Consider the trainer and jockey
A slow horse is a slow horse, and no trainer or jockey will be able to change that. But the best in the business will typically only agree to work alongside an animal that they believe will go the distance, so you can get a good idea of which horses are going to finish around the top by looking at which trainer and jockey believes in them. Some of the most prestigious trainers that we’ll see at this year’s Cheltenham Festival include Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson, and Willie Mullins. The likes of Davy Russell, Barry Geraghty, and Paul Townend are also likely to be in the saddles of some of the best horses on the track.
Whether you’re going along to Cheltenham Festival or will be watching the action on TV, taking these tips on board should help you to choose fantastic horses that will give you a good chance of a win.
Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there’s a lot more to learn…