Horse racing betting: strategies and secrets for success


Horse racing is one of the most popular sports to bet on around the world, with millions wagered on the action throughout the year. 

However, the biggest events on the calendar such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup entice those that wouldn’t typically bet on the action to get involved. 

Major events see a growth of newcomers to the sport, with all aiming for a winning experience in order to return to bet on horse racing more frequently. But, what are some of the most popular strategies that horse racing bettors follow when it comes to placing wagers on online bookies?

Before following strategies

Before even assessing the wide range of betting strategies that can be adopted to make wagers on the horse racing action, it is important to assess the steps that should be taken in order to find a likely winner. 

Experienced bettors will spend hours researching the races, with some of the biggest events on the calendar seeing bettors following the racing for a whole 12 months. During the research stage, bettors will examine each potential runners form, assessing whether they are competing over their preferred conditions, and whether they have the ground to suit their running style. 

As well as this, some bettors will also go into greater detail to focus on the progeny of runners involved, assessing whether the sires and dams have winning experience over a certain distance. 

Meanwhile, the form of stables and jockeys is also taken into account, with gamblers typically looking to wager on horses who’s yard and rider both boast excellent recent winning form on track. 

Negative form for either could see a loss on market confidence, and it could point toward something being amiss in the yard of the trainer. Find more information here:


One of the most popular types of betting strategies that is followed by experienced bettors when wagering on the horse racing action is Dutching. 

This method includes covering two potential winners in the race, which will immediately boost the chances of gaining returns from selections. For example, a bettor may have $50 to wager on a race, and this will be split in half, with $25 wagered on one runner, and the remaining balance wagered on a different competitor. 

As long as one of the selections is a winner, then the better will profit from their selection. However, the biggest drawback to this strategy is the fact that covering two potential runners is by no means a full-proof plan, as another horse in the field could land victory. 

80-20 betting

The next strategy that should be considered among newcomers to betting on horse racing is the 80-20 method. This takes inspiration from Dutching, and it is very similar overall. 

However, in this case, the larger stake will be placed on the preferred choice, before the small stake is placed on the outsider. For example, if a bettor has $100 to wager on a specific race, then they could place $80 on a 2/1 favourite and the remaining balance on an outsider at 8/1. 

If either of the selections win the race, then the returns are $160, and therefore producing value for your selection. Like Dutching, the big drawback when gambling on this strategy is the fact that there are a number of unselected runners in the race, and you could stand to lose both bets if one of the other runners in the race cross the line first. 

Laying favourites

The main aim for many bettors when wagering on horse racing is to try and get the runner at the top of the market beaten. However, it could be worth mentioning that many experienced bettors would take an opposite approach and back all favourites on a card. Laying favourites is a solid strategy if you have done extensive research on the race, especially if you find an angle that could see the market leader appear vulnerable.

This strategy is very easy to understand for newcomers to racing, as it basically means betting on the favourite to not win. Therefore, you will have all other potential runners in the field on your bet. For example, if you lay a 2/1 favourite in a seven runner race, then your bet will be a winner providing one of the six other runners in the race land victory.

This is an exceptionally popular option for newcomers to betting strategies, and it immediately increases your chances of victory, as you will have more selections covered off. But, it is also a dangerous option if you’re looking to play big stakes, as the odds would suggest that the favourite should win the race. However, as long as bettors have done the correct research, and you have found a weakness in the favourite, it is always a strategy worth considering. 

Check out the Latest in Betting 2024 and get fresh updates as they drop via X and FacebookRead the Notjustok's Affilate disclaimer.