value betting gut instinct

Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct?

If you keep placing bets on outcomes of events, just because you fancy teams/players to win (Gut Instinct), without considering the odds fully then you will likely be losing money in the long run. Value betting involves independently considering if the odds offered are better than the true probability of the outcome happening, and only placing bets if that is the case. Let’s start our Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct? article off with an example:

Let’s say you are considering placing a bet in an event in which there are two outcomes only, e.g. the final of a competition where either team/player A wins, or team/player B wins (no draws possible). You need to calculate the true probabilities of the outcomes. This requires taking into account a lot of factors (prior results, injuries, officials, form etc. – variables will depend on what event you are betting on), and coming up with a statistical model (which may require, amongst other things weighting the factors).

Let’s say you calculate A wins two-thirds of the time, and B wins one-third of the time:
Two-thirds of the time is the same as odds of 1/2*, i.e. for every 1 time they don’t win, they will win 2 times.… Read the rest

handicap horse racing

How does Handicap horse racing work?

In Handicap horse racing, the better horses are given a disadvantage. Conversely, the worse horses are given an advantage. This is done by making the horses carry different weights. A handicapper decides the weight (this weight is known as the impost) each horse should carry. The total weight of the jockey, saddle, and weights (lead) will equal the impost. The weights are carried in lead pads (saddle pads). In Great Britain, there is a central system, operated by the BHA who assign weights. Weights can change (e.g. be increased if a horse wins a race). The most famous handicap race in the world is of course the Grand National. Another example is Australia’s Melbourne Cup.

So, if the horses have been handicapped, how do you go about picking a winner?

  • You could look at the horses form (e.g. past performances, giving more weight to recent performances).
  • You could look at the ability of the jockey.
  • Also look at the condition of the ground. If it has been raining recently, the ground may be soft. If there has been a lot of sunny/dry weather the ground may be hard. How do the horses in the race perform under the expected condition of the ground?
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national hunt racing

What is National Hunt Racing?

In National Hunt Racing, there are obstacles* on the course (as opposed to Flat racing, where there are not). The two most iconic and well-known horse races of any kind held in Great Britain, the Grand National and the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup, are National Hunt races.

  • The majority of the National Hunt races in Great Britain take place in the winter months, rather than summer. There is a good reason for this, as the race courses should be softer in winter (as of course there should be more rain). As horses have to jump obstacles, this makes it a lot less dangerous than in the summer months.
  • National Hunt racing can take the form of either hurdles or steeplechases.
  • In hurdles races the obstacles the horses must jump are hurdles. There will be a minimum of eight hurdles in any race. These hurdles have a minimum height of three and a half feet. The races are between two to three and a half miles.
    • A well known example of a National Hunt hurdles race is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which is a Grade 1 race – this race is the first race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.
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Grand National facts

What is Flat Racing?

In Flat Racing horses with the best speed or best stamina (or both of these) have the advantage, depending on the distance of each race. Jockeys also play a major part as they have to be able to get their horse to do the right thing (e.g. ‘ask’ them to go faster or slower). Thoroughbreds are the most common form of horse breed you will see in this form of racing. Natural grass race courses (also referred to as turf) are the most common. You will see some races run on synthetic or all-weather tracks (especially for flat races run in winter). Flat Racing generally takes places over shorter distances than National Hunt racing, and there are no obstacles in Flat Racing (as the name suggests).

Flat Racing (in Great Britain, at least) takes the form of (1) Conditions races, or (2) Handicaps.

  • In a Conditions race, horses carry weights. Females carry less weights than males. Older horses carry less weights than younger horses. Less successful horses carry less weights than more successful horses. Conditions races are not handicap races – as the weights are allocated according to the predetermined conditions of the race (not by an handicapper).
  • The most prestigious of the Condition races are the Pattern races (which are usually called Group races).
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horse racing explained

Horse Racing Explained

There are 2 popular types of horse racing that take place in Great Britain: these are Flat Racing, and National Hunt Racing. In this ‘Horse Racing Explained‘ article, we explain the difference between these two types of the sport. We also explain what exactly a furlong is (a common term you will hear in relation to the length of horse races).

  • Flat Racing – run on courses where there are no obstacles present (i.e. it is flat). Distances for Flat Racing are between 5 furlongs 2 miles to 2 miles 5 furlongs 159 yards. Some of the best examples of flat races are the Royal Ascot festival, and the five races known as the British Classics – 1,000 Guineas (Newmarket), 2,000 Guineas (Newmarket), The Oaks (Epsom Downs), The Derby (Epsom Downs), and St.Leger (Doncaster).
  • National Hunt Racing – run on courses with obstacles, taking the form of a Hurdles race or a Steeplechase race. They are generally run over longer distances (2 miles to 4 and a half miles) than the Flat Racing mentioned above. The best examples of National Hunt Racing are the Grand National (Aintree) and the Cheltenham Festival.
    • Please note slightly confusingly, there are also National Hunt Flat Races (also known as Bumpers) – which are run under National Hunt rules, but there are no obstacles on the course (13 – 20 furlongs are common distances for these races).
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cheltenham-tuesday

Cheltenham Tuesday – Races, facts, and tips!

7 races are scheduled on the opening day of the 4 day Cheltenham Festival. In 2020, Cheltenham Tuesday (Day 1 of 4) falls on 10th March. The feature race of Cheltenham Tuesday, the Champion Hurdle, starts at 15:30.

Cheltenham Tuesday tips

Tips for Cheltenham Tuesday can be found here.

Racecard

  1. 13:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (8 Hurdles, 2 miles 1/2 furlong) – Horses must be at least 4 years old. Takes place on the Old Course. You will hear the traditional Cheltenham Roar, from the assembled crowd, at the start of this race as it is the first event of the festival. Jockey Ruby Walsh has won this race a record 6 times since 2006 – including Klassical Dream in 2019. Each of his wins was on a different horse.
  2. 14:10 Arkle Chase (13 Fences, 2 miles) – Horses must be at least 5 years old. This race is run on the Old Course. The famous Ruby Walsh-Willie Mullins jockey-trainer combination had 2 consecutive wins in 2015 and 2016 with Un de Sceaux and Douvan, and they also won in 2018 with Footpad. Willie Mullins was the winning trainer in 2019, with jockey Paul Townend riding Duc des Genievres.
  3. 14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (20 Fences, 3 miles 1 furlong)
  4. 15:30 CHAMPION HURDLE (8 HURDLES, 2 MILES 1/2 FURLONG) This is the most well regarded National Hunt hurdles race of the year.
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cheltenham-wednesday

Cheltenham Wednesday – Races, facts, and tips!

Cheltenham Wednesday tips

Tips for Cheltenham Wednesday can be found here.

Racecard

7 races take place on Cheltenham Wednesday (the 2nd day of 4 of the Cheltenham Festival) under the current schedule. In 2020, the 2nd day falls on 11th March. The feature race of Cheltenham Wednesday, the Champion Chase, starts at 15:30. All of the races below will be run on the Old Course, with the exception of the Cross Country Chase which will be run on the Cross Country Course.

  • 13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (10 Hurdles, 2 miles 5 furlongs) – This race features novice hurdlers, aged at least four years. Jockey Ruby Walsh has had 4 wins since 2008 in this race (Fiveforthree, Mikael d’Haguenet, Faugheen, and Yorkhill), making him the race’s leading jockey. Willie Mullins was the trainer on all these 4 occasions, making him the race’s leading trainer. In 2019, City Island (jockey: Mark Walsh) won.
  • 14:10 RSA Chase (19 Fences, 3 miles 1/2 furlong) – You will see novice chasers in this race, aged at least 5 years old. It is not unusual for winners of this race to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following year – e.g. Denman, Bobs Worth, and Lord Windermere.
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cheltenham-friday

Cheltenham Friday – Races, facts, and tips!

Cheltenham Friday tips

Tips for Cheltenham Friday can be found here.

7 races will take place on Cheltenham Friday – the final day of the current 4 day Cheltenham Festival calendar. In 2020, Cheltenham Friday falls on 13th March. The Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is the feature race of Cheltenham Friday, starts at 15:30. All these races will take place on the New Course.

  • 13:30 Triumph Hurdle (8 Hurdles, 2 miles 1 furlong) – For Novice hurdlers. This is the leading National Hunt race, for juveniles only. Barry Geraghty’s 5 wins make him the race’s leading jockey. Nicky Henderson’s 7 wins make him the race’s leading trainer (including Pentland Hills in 2019). 4 horses who have won the Triumph Hurdle, have later gone on to win the Champion Hurdle, including Katchit (2007 Triumph Hurdle winner, 2008 Champion Hurdle winner).
  • 14:10 County Hurdle (8 Hurdles, 2 miles 1 furlong)
  • 14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (12 Hurdles, 3 miles) – Novice hurdlers, at least 4 years old, take part. Tony McCoy is the leading jockey in this race with 3 wins – Black Jack Ketchum in 2006, Wichita Lineman in 2007, and At Fishers Cross in 2013. Minella Indo won in 2019 (j: Rachael Blackmore, t: Henry de Bromhead).
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