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7.9.15

Guide to picking a horse to back

In the modern era, there has been a huge increase in the number of people both attending racecourses and placing bets on upcoming horse racing events and meetings. Huge races such as the Grand National, the Ascot Gold Cup and the Oaks have contributed to the increase in popularity of the sport and the television coverage helps to increase the excitement of the races, although many prefer to witness the races in person.

There are various reasons why people are attracted to attend a horse racing meeting. Perhaps you just love to see the horses in action, or want to watch your favourite jockeys from up close. However, the most popular reason is to bet on the horses due to the excitement and opportunity to win money. There are a number of different ways to go about choosing which horse to back ahead of a race and, while you can purchase a guide to betting on the horses, we believe that you should always follow these steps.


For smaller fields, it’s all about the odds. Odds are determined by a number of key variables, including form, past record at the venue, jockey, trainer, whether the horse has won over this distance before – pretty much anything that is associated with that particular horse, race and track. All of this information is available via the bookmakers, including Coral, but you can also find out more advice and form guides in newspapers on the day.

In larger races, pot luck does come into it a little more. The starting favourite very rarely wins in these races and there have been 100-1 winners of big events such as the Grand National in recent years. Although horses do earn favouritism for a reason, it doesn’t guarantee success – particularly over fences – and one should be careful when weighing up odds, potential winnings and risk in races.


While the tried and tested method of “choosing the name because you like the name” isn’t always the best way to go, it isn’t exactly a bad option to go by. If you visit the racecourse for an enjoyable day out, the chances are that you won’t be a horse racing aficionado and will be expecting to lose out on the races. Therefore, picking your horse because of its name or jockey colours is an excellent way of narrowing down the field.

It is crucial that punters don’t expect to win, especially when picking your horse on its name alone. Odds are there for a reason but, as previously mentioned, this doesn’t guarantee success. The main thing about a day at the races, or even simply placing a bet at your local bookmaker, is that you enjoy the race and that the horses are able to put on a safe yet competitive show.