How to Approach Betting at Major Horse Racing Festivals

  • 30 Apr 2018
    5 min. read

There are many major horse racing festivals that take place throughout the year in different parts of the world. For fans in the UK, the Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot would the big favorites, while those in the US would look at the Breeders Cup, and those are just a few names worth mentioning. These festivals attract some great fields and generally speaking, only the very best horses run in those races. That means it is racing that punters want to see, and more importantly, racing they want to bet on. When y  ou are approaching a major horse racing festival, it is important to have a strategy in place and understand what you are going to do and how you are going to bet. Here are a few tips to get you ready for the many major horse racing festivals that are on the horizon. If you are interesting to choose best bookmaker for horse racing betting,  check our best horse racing bookmakers 2024 rating.

How to Approach Betting at Major Horse Racing Festivals
Table of content

Do Not Bet All Your Cash on the Opening Day 

This sounds a pretty obvious one, but it is something that has caught a lot of people out I am sure. When you are approaching a major festival, look at the bigger picture. If the festival is four days long, think about your betting as a four-day event, budget accordingly and don’t chase your winnings on the final race of day one. There will be other days when you can win a bit back, just accept that it has not been your day and move on.  

When approaching a festival I always make sure that I create a budget for the festival, below is my plan for budgeting when it comes to a four-day festival.  

  • Total betting money £200 
  • Day one bets – £25 
  • Day two bets – £25 
  • Day three bets – £25 
  • Day four bets – £25 
  • Floating pot for day one and two – £50 
  • Floating pot for day three and four – £50 

The first thing a plan like this does is it gives you a minimum amount that you will definitely have to place your bets on each day. If you lose all your money on the first three days, including all of your £50 floating pot on day three, you will still have £25 to bet with on day four. This ensures you don’t miss out on any of the action, or make silly decisions to try and win some money back for the final day.  

The idea of the floating pot covering two days was to give me some additional money to bet with on horses that I strongly fancied. However, by splitting it up and have two separate pots for the first two and last two days, it allows me to take the odd risk. I don’t have to worry about spending all my spare money on day two if I have a strong fancy because I get a new pot of money for days three and four.  

You may find your own variation of this, and obviously, you will want to adjust the stakes accordingly to something you are comfortable with, but the above plan has always worked for me in the past.  

Be Sure to Check Form Lines 

When you are betting on a normal race meeting you will look back through the form and see which horses you would like to back. However, at major festivals with all the big horses taking each other on, there are many connected form lines that can change how you view a race every single day.  

For example, going into a festival you may have a strong fancy on the final day that you are going to back. However, during the festival, because a horse has won on the opening day, it has enhanced the form and given a boost to a horse that is running on the final day against your original selection. Due to this change in form, you may want to take another look at that race and evaluate your selection, potentially even changing it.  

Normally when looking at form, the big races are spread across a number of weeks so there won’t be any last minute changes. However, when you are betting at a festival, all the biggest and best horses run in the space of a few days, meaning that changes to the form book will happen. By keeping on top of these changes, you will be able to look into selections that you have previously overlooked, and that could be something that puts you onto a winner.  

At a festival more than any other time of year, form lines can either receive a huge boost or take a huge hit and it is your reactions to things like this that determine how good you are at punting. You should always be looking to find clues about the upcoming races, and something as big as a form boost must be taken on board.  

Look for Trainers in Form 

Horses that run at a major festival will have been trained to perfection for that race. Their entire program will have been based on that race and being 100% ready on that day, so it is always important to compare how trainers are doing with their horses. For example, if a trainer is struggling for winners that week, they may not have their horses at 100% and ready to race. The same works the opposite way, look for horses who are running well because their trainer may have the magic touch and the horses from that yard are fit and raring to go.  

When the best of the best come together at a festival, everything needs to be perfect if a horse is to win. Just a small issue with preparation could be the difference between winning and losing, and if you can pick up on something that is not right, you could save yourself some money by avoiding that stable. Trainer form is always something that is worth considering and something that you should monitor during a big festival.   

Look for Trainers in Form
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