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When Is the Best Time to Place a Bet on Horse Racing?

If you are a horse racing punter, you are very fortunate today in that you have so much choice when it comes to betting on a horse or a particular race. In some cases, a market is open as early as six months in advance therefore you have the option of placing the bet early or waiting until the day of the contest to stake your selection. Here is a look at the options available to you in more details and the pros and cons of each particular market.

Ante-Post Betting

Bookmakers offer ante-post betting on horse racing as soon as the opening declarations for a race are announced. For example, the Cheltenham Festival is the biggest meeting of the season in national hunt racing and all 27 races across the week, 13 of which are Grade One contests., including the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup These races are available to bet on from October therefore if you feel as though there is some value in a horse, you can take the odds early in the campaign. A horse may start the season at 6/1 for the Gold Cup but if it wins some of the leading races in the division like the King George VI Chase, it may line up on the day as short as 6/4.

The downside to betting in ante-post market is that if the horse does not line up on the day, due to injury or being entered in an alternative contest, you lose your money. You therefore have to be very confident that the race you are backing your selection in, is going to be its target. Some horses are given entries in up to four races at the Festival and connections wait until as late as 48 hours before the meeting to make their decision. Some punters like to place ante-post bets ahead of the Classics in flat racing. There are five Classics each year in the UK with the most prestigious being the Derby and 2000 Guineas, both of which are run on turf courses. These are the biggest races of the season for the three-year-old crop of horses and if you can spot a potential Classic winner during their two-year-old campaign, you will often be rewarded with some attractive odds therefore you don’t have to place much on the selection to make it pay.

Race-Day Betting

The biggest benefit of betting on the day of your race is that you know will get a run for your money. If for some reason your horse is withdrawn, you get your money back as ante-post rules no longer apply to the race. There is also more information available to you which will help including the going on the day at the track and the draw your horse has been given. Unfortunately the bookmakers very rarely get their prices wrong on the day of a race because all the form, which can be read at the Racing Post, is available to them. That said, there can be up to 40 fixtures in the UK each day and racing takes place 353 days of the year therefore there are plenty of opportunities for you to hopefully spot a bit of value or a banker. When you have a punt on the same day as your race with bookmakers like Betway, you can either choose to take the fixed odds which are available at the time of striking the bet or you can ask to be paid out at the SP (starting price). If you expect your horse to be popular throughout the day, the weight of money is likely going to shorten the price therefore you are advised to take the fixed odds. On the other hand, if you are happy just to wait and see what the starting price returns, just leave off the price. You will find over the course of the year that you will make the right call around 50% of the time and for the other 50% you will choose the wrong option.

Those who regularly attend horse racing meetings will understand the importance of watching your horse in the paddock before placing your bet. Not only will you see what kind of shape it is in, you will spot if it is wound up beforehand which would be a big negative on the day.

Keep Ante-Post Down to a Minimum

Although there is no right and wrong answer when it comes to the right time to place a bet, the best advice is to keep ante-post betting down to a minimum. If you want to try and snap up some big odds in advance, do so for three or more races a year. Betting on the day of the race will ensure you see some action for your money, even if you do get shorter odds more often than not.

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