What is it that makes horse racing so great?

The sport itself is entertaining, but what engages and enthralls most of us is the gambling. So what is it that separates racing from other forms of gambling?

Doing the form and pricing a race is a mental challenge like no other. It’s a puzzle with thousands of pieces and each piece can be used or ignored as each punter sees fit.

Casino games are random and the house edge can’t be beaten in the long run.

In racing, with hard work and a bit of knowledge you can overcome the bookies’ edge in the long run. I feel lucky that I get to do the form for a living. I get to do the jigsaw 8 times a day, 4 or 5 times a week as my ‘job’.

This is what racing needs to promote about itself. Racing gets most of its revenue as a result of people betting, so if our sport is to survive into the future we need punters betting. A generation is currently being lost to sports betting. We need to win them back and the next generations too. And we need to engage them long term in the sport.

Sports betting is gaining in popularity because people have an opinion on their favourite sports and want to back their judgement. Interest in racing is declining because people no longer have an opinion, nor are they engaged in what they are betting on. It is becoming Keno-like for both the punters and the administrators putting on the show. Racing needs people to have their own opinions for them to engage and invest.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about a few of the pieces of the puzzle that I and other successful punters use to give them an edge in the marketplace. There are many different ways to win in racing. There is no right or wrong way and each winning punter I know has found their own niche and their own way to win. They establish a system/framework they have confidence in and back their own judgement. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

I’ll talk about why I like to specialise in one region and get to know the horses as individuals and conversely how some of the bigger syndicates operate, betting everywhere with the aid of computer models. Then we’ll get into things like video analysis, statistical analysis, the importance of maps, pricing markets and other components to doing the form.

Then comes the actual betting part, which can be a whole different skill set in itself. When to bet, when not to bet, how much to bet and general bankroll management are such important aspects to being a winning gambler that often gets overlooked.

Hopefully, by the end of the series you will have picked up something that gives you a greater understanding about doing the form and help you become a more successful punter. It may even get you more interested in finding the all the keys to the kingdom that are hidden here in these very pages!

Nathan Snow