In this article, Neil looks at how to choose your own horses to lay. He examines some of the factors involved in picking losers. Spotting weak favorites to lay on a betting exchange is not quite as easy as it sounds and if you get it wrong your betting bank can take a serious dent.
The horses I focus on are short priced favourites, and I would not consider laying over 3/1 as you can find yourself needing four or five successful bets in order to break even. In the summer months there can be more than thirty races per day and you could spend hours and hours looking through the form before you even know which race you would like to bet in.
So, to start with cross out all race cards that have a forecast priced favourite of over 2/1. You could then narrow down your search by looking at the selection box in the racing post. This gives you the opinion of which horse has the best chance of winning from 15 other professional tipsters.
If you find a race where the favourites is 2/1 or less and has 6 or less tipsters thinking it will win then this is definitely a horse to look more closely at. After this you will find that you search for a losing favourite has been narrowed down quite considerably you may only have half a dozen considered possible lays. The next thing to do is to look into the form of the horse in more detail and see how many negatives you can find against the horse winning.
Here’s what to look for:
After the horses name on the race card you will see a number. This indicates the number of days since its last run. If the horse has not run for more than 45 days then you can definitely mark this down as a negative. A horse’s Stamina is an important consideration in horse racing and horses often need a run before performing to their best. You may also come across a favourite that has never run before and it is only favourite because it is coming from a decent stable or has a top jockey booking.
If you click on the horses name on the racingpost website you will get a record of the horses previous runs. Look for the distance the horse has been running and winning on. If the horse is running at a distance that it has not run on previously then consider this a negative. For example; from 7f to 1m4f (1 mile = 8 furlongs).
New surfaces can result in a horse performing badly. If the horse has been winning on an all-weather track and is running on turf for the first time or the other way around, you can consider this a negative.
Look to see if the horse prefers soft or firm ground as this can dramatically influence the horse’s performance. If the horse has been winning on soft ground, and will be running on fast ground today, you can consider this as a to be a serious negative.
Another important factor to consider is the class that the horse will be racing in. A horse stepping up in class – from class F to class C for example will have tougher competition to contend with and you can also consider this a negative. Looking back through the form can often help you to see a trend in poor performances if the horse has been stepped up in class.
Look at the weight that the horse will be carrying. Has it won with this amount of weight before? Has it been well handicapped for previous wins? If the horse is carrying anything above an extra 7lb, it could be worth opposing.
Finally assess the competition; ask yourself – Are there at least two other horses in the field whose winning chances rival the favourite? The competition ultimately determines whether the horse will win or lose so if after finding serious negatives against the favourite you can not see any serious competition it is worth leaving this race alone.