How To Pick A Winner In Horse Racing

How To Pick A Winner In Horse Racing

Here is how to pick a winner in Horse Racing, the sphere is full of opinions and tips but just what are the fundamentals for picking winning horses? if you want to try for yourself before picking a horse racing tipster this guide will help you no end in picking winning horses.

How To Find A Winning Horse

There are many factors to consider and here are the main ones when selecting a horse to place a bet on that has the best chance of winning a horse race.

  • Distance
  • Going
  • Horse Form
  • Horse Rating or Grade
  • Breeding and Pedigree
  • Trainer and their current form
  • Connections
  • Course Form
  • Days since the last race
  • Bookmakers Odds
  • Horses Age
  • Paddock
  • Tack or Equipment worn


The distance that the horse race is run over is a major factor in Horse Racing as some horses are built for speed over short distances and others are built for long-distance endurance races.

In the UK Flat racing takes place between 5 furlongs and 2mile 4 furlongs and jumps racing from 2 miles to 4 miles and 4 furlongs.

When making your selection ideally you want to see some evidence that the horse can stay the trip or has the speed for the trip in question, for example, a horse has previously run and won over 1 mile 2 furlongs and now takes on a 3-mile race, there is a good chance it may not stay the trip.


The ground types for Horse Racing in the UK on turf courses are

  • Firm
  • Good
  • Soft
  • Yielding
  • Heavy

And for all-weather horse racing, the ground types are

  • Standard
  • Fast
  • Slow

The reason that the ground type is important is that certain horses have a real preference for certain ground.

For example, a horses that has only run and won on the All-Weather surfaces and prefer slow ground may not like running on turf at all but it could prefer Muddy but that is just speculation.

It is far better to stick to picking horses that are running over ground types that they have won on in the past.

Horse Form

Horse form is a major factor in picking a winning horse because if a horse has never won before and has had a lot of runs it’s not the safest bet is it?

Horse that have been placing and winning recently are in good form and have better chances of performing well again in their next race.

This is of course unless the horse is moving up in class or grade. One of the more important factors in how to pick a winner in horse racing is the form of the horse in question.

Horse Rating or Grade

Every horse that has run more than 3 times (or won) is given a rating or handicap mark.

This figure gives you an indication of the ability of that horse. This is set by the official racing authority of that country. The rating will give you an accurate indication of a horse’s overall standard and you can compare that to the other horses in the race.

If the horse is running in a handicap, horses carry different weights (read our guide to horse handicap races), but in an Open Race or Championship, they carry the same weight.

There are lots of different types of horse races and horse racing events so it’s best to check out the conditions of any particular race before placing a bet.

Breeding Or Pedigree

The bloodline of a horse is a good indicator of its potential ability, say for example you breed Sea The Stars with another top-quality horse the offspring it is likely to produce is very much likely to have a good ability on the race course.

Another factor would be if both horses that were bred together were sprinters they are likely to produce a good sprinter in their offspring.

Breeding is very complicated but the basic concept remains that better quality horses that are bred together produce better quality offspring.

Trainer Form

All racehorses are trained by a trainer, and of course, with all sports, some trainers are going to be much better at training horses than others.

Respected trainers are well worth considering along with the other factors mentioned, but you will also want to consider their current form.

A trainer could be the best in the world but if they haven’t had a winner for 50 races are they worth siding with at present? probably not.


Who are the connections? This means who are the owners, breeders, trainers and who else is involved with the horse in question.

Some connections are better established and more respected than others simply because of the results they have achieved over time.

Owners have certain colours that Jockeys wear and if you watch horse racing a lot you will get to know certain colours go past the winning post first more than others.

Course Form

Course form is highly important some courses are left-handed and some are right-handed, some are undulating and some are flat and as with ground, certain horses have different preferences.

It is well worth checking if a horse wins more often at a certain course and if they are running over that course again today, check along with other factors such as ground, etc as mentioned in this article.

Days since the last race

Next to a horse on a racecard you will see a number, this number represents the number of days since its last run (you can read our how to read a racecard guide if you don’t know how).

This is important because if a horse has been off the track for too long it may be a bit rusty, and likewise if a horse ran 2 days ago it may not be as fresh as you would like to give it the best chance of winning.

Fitter horses usually run better, you will need to decide your cut-off point for how long is too long to be off the track and how long is too short, in general horses need a few weeks to recover from a competitive horse race.

Bookmaker Odds

Not always the best thing to use when choosing a winning horse but if a horse is 100/1 on Oddschecker it’s usually 100/1 for a reason, the shorter a bookie has the odds on a horse usually means the more likely it is to win.

You are far better to take into account all the factors we have told you about here and find the value in their odds instead of just backing the favourite though.

A big factor in how to pick a winner in horse racing but not the defining one as bookmakers tend to give false favourites remember this.

Horses Age

Possibly not a major factor unless the horse you are considering is 13 and taking on horses a lot younger than it in a sprint race, for example, the same as humans at a certain point horses start to lose their ability as they get older.


Always worth checking how a horse is looking in the paddock if you can before the race as sometimes you can see certain things that can also affect their performance.

Sweating up a lot before the race is usually a bad sign and also a horse’s mood can play a factor too, is it misbehaving? some horses can refuse at the start or even refuse to go into starting stalls if they are in a bad mood.

Tack or Equipment Worn

Tack such as Blinkers for example can also play a major factor in sprint races as blinkers force a horse to look straight ahead and not everything around it making it focus more on the task at hand.

A horse may have only won when wearing blinkers before over a sprint trip, if suddenly they are now not wearing them it’s probably not wise to back it.


Where the horse is drawn in the stalls can have a big effect on certain courses, it’s often worth checking that courses draw bias and the effect it has had on the past outcomes of racing there.

For example, if your horse is drawn number one at a course where a low draw has a high bias over that race’s distance, this is giving you a far better chance of winning on its own.


There are hundreds of factors but we feel the factors above when considered will give you the best chance of picking a winner in horse racing and the more boxes a horse ticks the better chances it will have.

We hope you enjoyed this how to pick a winner in horse racing guide, please share it with your friends and family on social media, we work hard to provide useful information to punters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *