Horse Racing Systems Explained: How to Bet on Horse Races

Horse Racing Systems Explained: How to Bet on Horse Races

Betting on horse races requires more than just picking a horse and putting money on it.

To make a profit off horse racing you need a solid betting system. 

Although they provide no guarantee that you will win big, horse racing systems are useful techniques that will help you pick out value in the market and make selections that will bring in the most cash. 

But first, there are some things you should be familiar with.

Know the Odds

Regardless of what sport you’re betting on, you need to know your odds. Otherwise, you’re just running blind, which is never recommended, especially when there’s money on the line. 

Depending on where the races are carried out, you will be faced with two options: fixed odds betting and parimutuel betting. 

Fixed-Odds Betting

With fixed odds, offered by most top-ranking bookies, payouts for the winning wager are agreed to while placing a bet. As the name implies, those odds do not change and remain fixed.

Parimutuel Betting

A less common system, parimutuel betting takes into account all the money placed in a betting pool. Payout odds are calculated by sharing the pool between all winning bets, after the horse’s take is deducted.  

Horse Racing Betting Systems

These are some of the simplest horse racing systems gamblers can use to make the most of their stake. 

The Statistical Lay

Using this betting system is relatively easy. First, find a race with at least 10 runners, identify the three favourites and check their odds. Then pick out the runners that have odds between 2/1 and 4.8/1. You can then lay them against the one with the lowest odds.

According to stats, runners with odds in this range, provided they are the top 3 favourites, win around 17% of the time, which means that a lay bet on any of these three will get you a win 83% of the time. 

Related: What is a placepot bet?

The Dutching System

One of the best horse racing betting systems, this strategy ensures that whenever you place a bet on a selection of horses, you will get the same payout in each instance, regardless of the winner of the race. 

To use this method, find a race with at least ten runners and select two of the three ranked on the top. Then set a profit and calculate the odds and implied probability to determine how much you need to stake to get to that amount. 

In practice, if you are aiming for a profit of £30, you should stake £10 on the two favourites with the 4/1 odds. If either horse wins, you get £30, which is a £50 return minus your £20 stake.

If the maths of finding the horses with the best odds seems too complicated, you can always use online calculators that will save you the trouble and do the work for you.  

Back the Beaten Favourite System

The idea behind this simple horse betting system is that whenever a favourite ends up losing, the odds weigh against it in the following race, i.e. it will have longer odds, guaranteeing a bigger payout. Just make sure that the beaten favourite has had some time to rest between races and then back it in the following event. 

2nd Favourites at Grade 1 Courses System

This horse betting system is built around the premise that by several punters backing the same horse, they make it a false favourite when in reality, it’s the second-favourite that is the one to watch. Stats actually support this system—last year, second-favourites won 20% of races. 

Next-Day Runners System

This system involves backing a horse that ran the previous day and is a favourite to win in that day’s race. Even though all next-day runners do not make a profit, they are considered as favourites because they are in good physical condition, so they will have lower odds giving you a good value bet. 

Horse and Jockey Partnership System

Look for a horse that finished second in the last race and a jockey that partnered with it for the first time. The reasoning here is that many horses have certain ways of running that can be only used by jockeys that have ridden them before. And if this partnership came close to winning the last time, there is a good chance the jockey can come in first on the second try. 

Related: What is a NAP in horse racing?

Horse Racing Betting Tips for Beginners and Seasoned Punters 

In addition to horse racing systems, punters, especially new ones, should keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t bet on the favourite every time—Favourites only win a third of the time, plus they have the lowest payouts. Sure, it’s the safest bet, but where is the fun in that?
  • Study the horses—Knowing some fundamentals about horses and racing, such as being familiar with the different breeds of horses, the best racehorses in history and types of races (Flat Racing and National Hunt Racing), is a good idea, but it might not be enough. You should also keep up to date on the latest stats and factors that can determine how a certain horse performs in the race. 
  • Research on people—Trainers and jockeys play a huge role in the horse’s performance, so research on some of the biggest names in the business. Sometimes a world-class jockey, a good team and a non-favourite horse can be a winning combination. 
  • Compare odds—As with betting on any sport, it’s essential to shop around for the best odds. In addition, look for bookmakers that provide enhanced odds, free bets or insurance bets on horse races to get the most out of your stake. 
  • Gamble responsibly—Don’t put too much money, especially in the beginning. Start off with small and smart bets, think about early cashout (if the sportsbook has that option) and never chase losses. 

Bottom Line 

These are just some of the horse racing systems punters can use to maximise the profit and the fun in horse race betting.

It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees in gambling, so it’s always good to bet small amounts and stop playing once you find yourself losing too much money. Make having fun the priority! 


How long before a horse betting system works?

As with any betting system, patience is the most important part. Be prepared to lose a few bets before the system starts to work. 

What is the best horse racing system?

The Dutching System is considered one of the best horse racing betting systems. It requires a lot of calculation, but it is worth it because a win is guaranteed if you choose the right odds and place the right amount of money. 

Which are the best horse racing betting sites?

Almost all UK sportsbooks have great odds on horse racing, so you are sure to find a reputable site in no time. Check for licences, bonuses and odds, though, before you make a deposit. 

What is the most profitable bet in horse racing?

Accumulator bets, a combination of more bets on one slip, are the riskiest but the most profitable. Still, if you use the right horse racing systems, any bet you make can be profitable. 

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