When starting to bet on horse racing you will soon find that you donate more to your online bookmaker than he returns to you and it becomes important to be able to accurately assess the relative chances of competing horses in a race you intend to place a bet.
To beat the bookie, you must learn to understand the information provided in the racing form and in the beginning try not to over-complicate the decision process. A whole library of books has been written on how to pick winners and profit from betting on horse racing and we won’t attempt to go to those depths here. Best free bets will give you a few important pointers to help you get started and you will find you won’t ever stop learning as you pursue your interest in this fascinating and exciting hobby. Hopefully our horse racing betting tips will point you in the right direction.

When you are reading the form and deciding where to invest your free horse racing bets, make sure to consider three very important factors, Distance, Going and Draw.


Basically, the degree of speed and stamina determine a horse’s athletic prowess with young horses starting out over shorter distances until they are physically mature enough to race over longer distances. Horses bred to run on the flat often start out racing over 5 furlongs as 2 year-olds and may progress to 7 furlongs or a mile by the end of the season. When re-appearing as 3-year-olds they can expect to gradually progress to distances of 12 furlongs or more.
However, through breeding and/or physical attribute some horses never acquire the stamina to run at a decent pace for more than 5 or 6 furlongs, such horses are known as sprinters. Other horses will mature to be milers, capable of racing competitively at distances of 7-9 furlongs and so it goes as horses develop and reach the limits of their stamina.

Recognising the optimum distance for your horse is crucial to determining if it is worth betting with your online bookmaker and this needs to be weighed with other factors like ‘going’ and the ‘draw’ which are explained later.
Study of the form will tell you which distances a horse performs at its best as a general rule you should only expect a horse to reproduce its best form when running at its optimum distance. You will also need to identify if the course characteristics may affect the stamina of the horse, a long uphill finish will sap stamina more than racing on a fairly level course and the smart gambler will bear such things in mind when judging a horse’s suitability for the race distance.

It is a good tip to stick to betting on races where there is plenty of form for all the runners at least until you build up your knowledge of racing, bookmakers love it when customers ‘bet in the dark’. However, there can be times when faced with an unknown quantity in the race, you can get a good indication of the horse ability to stay the race distance from its breeding. We recommend you watch these races and look for tips for the future rather than feel obliged to have a bet every time.


To have any hope of placing a winning bet, you must be able to pick a horse that can act on the going.
The ‘going’ is the state of the ground at any given racecourse meeting, it is measured by the Clerk of the Course using a penetrometer or stick to measure the amount of water in the ground and is described as one of seven categories.
• Heavy
• Soft
• Good to Soft
• Good
• Good to Firm
• Firm
• Hard

The going gets heavier (or slower) the more water being held in the ground and gets firmer (and faster) as the ground dries out.

From a betting point of view, the going is important because many horses show a distinct preference for racing over one type of ground in preference to another. This can be for a number of different reasons, such a horses physical build, a genetic trait or even a psychological preference. There are horses that are happy to run on any going and can perform with relative consistency on any ground, but if you expect to bet a winner, it is in your interest to recognise the horse's preferred going and compare it to the prevailing conditions on the day before making a financial commitment with your bookmaker.

The Draw

If you hope to profit from your bet with your bookmaker, you will need to appreciate the effect of the draw – the stall that is allotted to a horse for the start of the majority of flat races.

The draw is one of the most important factors to consider in races of under a mile and often in races over a mile. Each racecourse has different characteristics; condition of the ground, severity of bends, undulations and such that can influence the outcome of a race and the positioning of the stalls and the stall number allotted to a horse can also influence the way a race will be run and therefore the outcome.

Bookmakers, tipsters and knowledgeable gamblers are all aware of the influence a heavy draw bias can make and the odds offered will often have draw bias factored into the price. The running style of horses needs to be considered before deciding your bet as front runners tend to be best at exploiting the draw bias on many courses. Understanding where and when draw bias will influence a race will prove helpful in the search for winners and it is important to know that draw bias can change. Changing weather conditions, excess watering, movement of running rails can all cause a shift in draw bias and those who spot the changes early can gain a huge betting advantage.

Here’s a short list of courses that have demonstrated a strong draw bias over the years and hopefully you will bear these betting tips in mind before placing your bets at these racecourses:

The five furlong course favours high numbers except when the going is heavy, this is well known and the odds will reflect this fact. However, the seven furlong course also demonstrates a bias towards a high draw and is often overlooked in the bookmakers odds.

Another racecourse with a very famous draw bias, low numbers have a significant advantage at all distances, even long distance races over 2 miles.

This course suits front runners with horses drawn high being favoured over six and seven furlongs on the straight course while low numbers fare better in five furlong races.

High numbers are favoured in races between 7 furlongs and 1 mile 7 furlongs and the bias increases the firmer the going. In sprint races the draw bias is changeable with high numbers gaining an advantage over five furlongs in large fields (12 runners or more) but changes to low numbers when the going is soft.
This is a course where the running rails can be moved and changes the draw bias, it often happens at the feature, Glorious Goodwood, meeting in August.

The draw favours high numbers in sprints when the going is soft or heavy and changes to middle and high numbers when the ground has been watered to provide good-to-firm going. Front running horses have a good record over the longer distances.

Low numbers have a major advantage in sprint races with large fields but the bias changes for distances beyond a mile where a high draw is best, especially for front running horses.

On the figure of eight course, high numbers get a big advantage in sprint races when the going is good or firmer and it’s another course where front runners do well. Windsor is a specialist racecourse and horse that run well there tend to repeat their good form when they return. Keep a watch for previous winners at the course and course and distance winners who have a habit of repeating their success.

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