Top 10 Horse Trading Tips for Success on Betfair 

 September 10, 2023

By  Philip Borrowman

Welcome to the exciting world of horse trading on Betfair, a platform that has revolutionized the way we bet and trade on horse racing.

Whether you're a novice looking to dip your toes into this lucrative market or an experienced trader aiming to refine your strategies, you've come to the right place. 

This comprehensive guide aims to equip you with 10 actionable horse trading tips that can significantly improve your trading game.

Horse trading on Betfair is not just about luck; it's a skill that requires a strategic approach, in-depth research, and a keen understanding of the market dynamics. 

Unlike traditional betting where you're pitted against a bookmaker, Betfair allows you to trade against other punters, offering a more transparent and potentially profitable experience.

In this guide, we will delve into specific tips that cover a range of topics—from the importance of having a dedicated bankroll and choosing the right trading software to mastering advanced trading strategies like scalping.

Each tip is designed to offer you a unique edge in the market, helping you make informed decisions and, ultimately, increase your profitability.

So, without further ado, let's dive into these top 10 horse trading tips that can set you on the path to success on Betfair.

Tip 1: Start with a Dedicated Bankroll

One of the most fundamental steps in horse trading on Betfair is setting up a dedicated bankroll. Think of this as your trading capital, separate from your personal finances. This is not the money you use to pay bills or go on a vacation; it's the money you're willing to risk in the market.

horse trading tips Dedicated Bankroll

Why is a Dedicated Bankroll Important?

Having a separate bankroll helps you manage your risks better and allows you to trade more objectively. When you know exactly how much you're willing to lose, it's easier to make rational decisions rather than emotional ones.

How Much Should You Start With?

The size of your bankroll can vary depending on your financial situation and risk tolerance. A common recommendation is to start with at least 50 times the minimum stake you plan to use. For example, if you're planning to stake £10 on each trade, a starting bankroll of £500 would be advisable.

Bankroll Management Techniques

Effective bankroll management involves more than just setting aside a lump sum. You should also have rules for how much of your bankroll you'll stake on a single trade. A common strategy is to use a fixed percentage, say 2-5%, of your bankroll for each trade. This way, even if you hit a losing streak, you won't wipe out your entire bankroll.

Example

Let's say you have a bankroll of £1000 and decide to risk 2% per trade. This means you'll stake £20 on each trade. If you win, your bankroll increases, and so does the amount you stake (still 2% of the new total). Conversely, if you lose, the amount you stake decreases, minimizing your losses.

Remember, your bankroll is like a bar of soap. The more you touch it, the smaller it gets. So handle it wisely!

For more insights on managing your bankroll effectively, check out our comprehensive guide on Best Staking Plan For Laying Horses Anyone Can Profit From Quickly.

Tip 2: Choose the Right Trading Software

In the digital age, trading software has become an indispensable tool for Betfair traders. These platforms offer a range of features that can significantly enhance your trading experience and profitability.

Why Trading Software is Crucial

Trading software provides you with real-time market data, advanced charting tools, and automation features that can give you a competitive edge. It allows you to execute trades more quickly and efficiently, which is especially important in fast-moving markets like horse racing.

Popular Trading Software: BetAngel

One of the most popular trading software for Betfair is BetAngel. This platform offers a plethora of features including:

  • One-Click Trading: Execute trades with a single click, reducing the time it takes to place bets.
  • Advanced Charting Tools: Utilize various chart types and indicators to analyze market trends.
  • Automation: Set up automated trading strategies based on specific conditions.
  • In-Play Stats: Access real-time statistics and data for in-play trading.

Features to Look For

When choosing trading software, consider the following features:

  • User Interface: A clean and intuitive interface can make your trading experience much more enjoyable.
  • Speed: Look for software that offers fast execution times.
  • Customization: The ability to customize your trading layout and settings can be a big plus.
  • Customer Support: Good customer service can be invaluable, especially for beginners.

Example

For instance, if you're interested in scalping, you'd want software like BetAngel that offers one-click trading and real-time data updates. This allows you to quickly enter and exit trades, capturing small price movements effectively.

The Cost Factor

While some trading software offers free versions, these are often limited in features. BetAngel, for example, has a Professional version that costs around £6.00 for a day's access, £29.99 for a month, and £149.99 for a year. Investing in a paid version usually provides more advanced features that can be well worth the cost.

Choosing the right trading software can be a game-changer in your Betfair trading journey. It not only simplifies the trading process but also provides you with the tools you need to trade more effectively and profitably.

Tip 3: Master the Art of Scalping

Scalping is one of the most popular and effective trading strategies in the horse racing market on Betfair. It involves making quick trades to profit from small price movements. The goal is to enter and exit the market rapidly, securing small but consistent profits.

What Is Scalping?

Scalping is a high-frequency trading strategy where you aim to take advantage of tiny price fluctuations. You're not looking for big wins; instead, you're accumulating small gains that add up over time. It's akin to picking up pennies in front of a steamroller—risky if done wrong but profitable if executed correctly.

scalping using betangel

How to Execute a Scalping Strategy

  1. Identify a Liquid Market: Scalping requires a market with enough liquidity to enter and exit positions quickly. Horse racing markets on Betfair often provide this.
  2. Use One-Click Trading: Speed is of the essence in scalping. Software like BetAngel offers one-click trading to execute trades instantly.
  3. Set Your Stake and Profit Target: Decide on the amount you're willing to stake and your profit target for each trade. For example, you might decide to stake £10 aiming for a £2 profit.
  4. Monitor Price Movements: Use advanced charting tools to identify price trends. Enter the trade when the price is at its lowest and exit when it rises to your profit target.

Example

Let's say you've identified a horse whose odds are fluctuating between 4.0 and 4.2. You place a back bet at 4.0 and then place a lay bet at 4.2. If both bets are matched, you secure a small profit regardless of the outcome of the race.

Risks and Precautions

While scalping can be profitable, it's not without risks. Market conditions can change rapidly, and a slow reaction can turn a potential profit into a loss. Always use stop-loss settings to minimize risks.

For a more in-depth understanding of scalping, you can read our posts:

Mastering the art of scalping can provide you with a steady income stream, but it requires practice, quick decision-making, and the right tools. With these tips and the right software, you can become a scalping pro in no time.

Tip 4: Understand Market Liquidity

Market liquidity is a crucial factor that often goes overlooked by novice traders. In the context of Betfair horse trading, liquidity refers to the volume of money available in a particular market. High liquidity means more money is being matched on bets, making it easier for you to enter and exit positions.

Why is Market Liquidity Important?

High liquidity markets offer several advantages:

  1. Better Odds: More money in the market often results in better odds, allowing you to secure more value in your trades.
  2. Quick Execution: High liquidity ensures that your bets get matched quickly, which is especially important for strategies like scalping.
  3. Reduced Slippage: In a liquid market, the odds are less likely to move unfavorably between the time you place and execute a bet.

How to Check Market Liquidity

Before entering a market, it's essential to check its liquidity. You can do this by looking at the amount of money matched on both the back and lay sides of the market. Software like BetAngel often provides this information in real-time.

Example

Let's say you're looking at a horse racing market with £200,000 matched. This is a good indicator of high liquidity. On the other hand, if only £2,000 is matched, you might want to proceed with caution as the market is less liquid, increasing your risk.

Tips for Trading in Low Liquidity Markets

If you find yourself in a low liquidity market, consider the following:

  1. Use Smaller Stakes: Lower your stakes to minimize risk.
  2. Be Patient: Wait for your bets to get matched; it might take longer than in a high liquidity market.
  3. Avoid Market Orders: Use limit orders to specify the price at which you want your bet to be matched to avoid slippage.

Understanding market liquidity can significantly impact your trading success. It influences the odds, the speed at which your bets are matched, and your overall trading experience.

Make it a habit to check the liquidity before diving into any market.

Tip 5: Leverage In-Play Trading

In-play trading is another lucrative strategy that involves placing bets after the horse race has started. This approach allows you to capitalize on the volatility and price swings that occur during the race.

What is In-Play Trading?

In-play trading is the act of buying and selling bets while the event is ongoing. Unlike pre-race trading, where you're analyzing form, jockeys, and other static factors, in-play trading focuses on the dynamics of the race itself.

We have an entire guide about the Best Beginner In-Play Horse Racing Strategy which will teach you more about in-play trading.

Advantages of In-Play Trading

  1. More Information: As the race unfolds, you get real-time information that can help you make more informed decisions.
  2. Higher Volatility: Prices can change dramatically during the race, offering the potential for higher profits.
  3. Diverse Strategies: From backing the favorite when it's trailing to laying the leader, in-play trading offers a variety of strategies.

Tools for In-Play Trading

Successful in-play trading requires quick decision-making and real-time data. Software like BetAngel offers features specifically designed for in-play trading, such as real-time price updates and one-click trading.

Example

Imagine a race where the favorite starts off poorly. The odds for this horse to win might drift from 2.0 to 4.0. An in-play trader could back the horse at these higher odds, anticipating that the horse will recover and the odds will shorten again. If the odds do shorten to, say, 2.5, the trader can then lay the bet to secure a profit.

Risks and Precautions

In-play trading is not without risks. The fast-paced nature of the market means you need to be on your toes. Always use stop-loss settings to manage your risk and be prepared to close out a position if the market moves against you.

In-play trading offers a dynamic and exciting way to trade on Betfair. With the right tools and strategies, you can take advantage of the in-race volatility to secure substantial profits.

Tip 6: Master the Art of Swing Trading and Value Betting

Swing trading and value betting are two advanced strategies that can significantly elevate your trading game in the horse racing market. These methods require a nuanced understanding of market dynamics and odds but can be highly rewarding when executed correctly.

What is Swing Trading?

Swing trading is a strategy that involves capturing price "swings" in the market. You aim to enter a trade at a low point in a price cycle and exit at a high point, or vice versa, to capture the price difference as profit.

Advantages of Swing Trading

  1. High Profit Potential: Swing trading aims to capitalize on larger price movements, offering a higher profit potential compared to scalping.
  2. Strategic Depth: This method requires a deep understanding of market psychology and trends, making it a more intellectually engaging form of trading.
  3. Risk Management: Effective use of stop-loss and take-profit points can help you manage your risk efficiently.

Detailed Example for Swing Trading

Let's say you're observing a horse whose odds are showing a consistent pattern of drifting from 4.0 to 6.0 and then shortening back to 4.0. You decide to back the horse at 6.0 with a £100 stake. As expected, the odds shorten back to 4.0, and you lay the same horse for £150. You've just made a £50 profit from that swing.

What is Value Betting?

Value betting is the practice of identifying and betting on horses that are priced higher than their actual implied probability. This discrepancy between the odds and the actual probability is what we call "value."

Advantages of Value Betting

  1. Long-Term Profitability: By consistently identifying value, you can achieve sustainable profits over the long term.
  2. Reduced Risk: Since you're betting on outcomes that are more likely to happen than the odds suggest, you're inherently taking on less risk.
  3. Analytical Skill: Mastering value betting requires a strong understanding of probability and odds, enhancing your analytical skills.

Detailed Example for Value Betting

Suppose you've calculated that a horse has a 50% chance of winning, which should imply odds of 2.0. However, the market is offering odds of 2.5. You decide to back the horse with a £100 stake. If the horse wins, you make a £150 profit, and if it loses, you lose your £100 stake. Over time, consistently finding such value bets will yield a profit.

For more insights on swing trading, you can check out our comprehensive guide on Horse Race Value Betting.

Tip 7: Utilize Advanced Trading Software

In today's digital age, not leveraging advanced trading software would be like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Trading software provides you with the tools and real-time data you need to make informed decisions quickly.

Why Use Trading Software?

  1. Speed: Trading software allows for one-click trading and automated strategies, which can be crucial in fast-moving markets.
  2. Data Analysis: Most trading software offers advanced charting features, helping you analyze market trends and make data-driven decisions.
  3. Risk Management: Features like stop-loss settings and automated trading can help you manage your risk more effectively.

Popular Trading Software

  • BetAngel: Known for its user-friendly interface and a wide range of features, including one-click betting and advanced charting tools.
  • Geeks Toy: Offers a highly customizable interface and is popular among professional traders.
  • Gruss Software: Known for its Excel integration, allowing for highly customized trading strategies.

Example: How Software Can Make a Difference

Imagine you're trading in-play, and a horse you've backed is leading the race. You want to lay the same horse to lock in a profit, but the market is moving fast. With trading software like BetAngel, you can set up an automated rule to lay the horse at specific odds, ensuring you don't miss the opportunity.

Utilizing advanced trading software can significantly enhance your trading experience and profitability. It's an investment that can pay off manifold in the long run.

Tip 8: Keep a Detailed Trading Journal

One of the most overlooked aspects of successful trading is record-keeping. A detailed trading journal can be your best friend in identifying what's working and what needs improvement.

Why Keep a Trading Journal?

  1. Performance Analysis: A well-maintained journal can help you analyze your performance over time, helping you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Strategy Refinement: By keeping track of your trades, you can identify which strategies are profitable and which ones need tweaking.
  3. Emotional Discipline: Writing down your thought process and emotional state during trades can help you identify emotional triggers that may be affecting your trading decisions.

What to Record?

  • Date and time of the trade
  • Strategy used
  • Entry and exit points
  • Profit or loss
  • Emotional state
  • Market conditions

By keeping such detailed records, you can go back and analyze your trades, helping you continuously improve your trading skills.

A trading journal is not just a record but a tool for continuous improvement. Make it a habit, and you'll see its benefits in your trading performance.

The Modern Alternative: Screen Recording Software

In the digital age, keeping a written journal might seem a bit archaic to some. A modern alternative is to use screen recording software to capture your trading sessions. This allows you to rewatch your trades, analyze your decision-making process, and even spot market patterns you may have missed in real-time.

Why Use Screen Recording Software?

  1. Visual Learning: Rewatching your trades can offer insights that might not be apparent in a written record.
  2. Instant Replay: You can pause, rewind, and fast-forward through your trading sessions, dissecting each decision you made.
  3. Multi-faceted Analysis: Screen recordings capture everything—your mouse movements, the market fluctuations, and even your hesitations, providing a comprehensive review platform.

Recommended Screen Recording Software

  • OBS Studio: A free and open-source software that offers high-quality recording and streaming.
  • Camtasia: Known for its user-friendly interface and editing features, though it comes at a premium price.
  • ScreenPal: Offers both free and paid versions with the ability to upload directly to platforms like YouTube for easy sharing.

Example: How Screen Recording Can Help

Imagine you're involved in a high-stakes swing trade. You've recorded the session and upon reviewing it, you notice that you hesitated for a few seconds before laying the horse, missing out on better odds. This observation can help you work on your timing and decision-making speed for future trades.

Screen recording software is a modern tool that can significantly enhance your ability to review and improve your trading strategies. It's like having a replay of a football match; you catch all the things you missed the first time around.

Tip 9: Master the Art of Market Reading

Understanding the horse racing market is crucial for any trader. The market reflects the collective opinion of all its participants, and being able to read it effectively can give you a significant edge.

Why is Market Reading Important?

  1. Informed Decisions: A deep understanding of the market allows you to make more informed trading decisions.
  2. Risk Assessment: Market reading can help you assess the risk associated with different trading strategies.
  3. Profit Opportunities: Being able to read the market effectively can help you spot profit opportunities that others may miss.

Key Market Indicators

  • Volume: The amount of money matched on a particular outcome can indicate market confidence.
  • Price Movement: Rapid price changes can indicate new information or market sentiment shifts.
  • Market Depth: The amount of money available at different price levels can indicate the strength or weakness of a market.

Example: Reading Market Depth

Let's say you're looking at a horse with back and lay prices of 4.0 and 4.1, respectively. The market depth shows £200 available at 4.0 and £50 at 4.1. This suggests that there's stronger backing for the horse, indicating that its odds may shorten. You decide to back the horse at 4.0, anticipating a price drop.

Mastering market reading is like learning to read a new language; it may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

Tip 9: Master the Art of Market Reading

Reading the horse racing market is more than just a skill; it's an art form that can significantly impact your trading success. The market is a complex ecosystem that reflects the collective opinions, emotions, and strategies of all its participants. Understanding it can give you a significant edge.

reading the horse markets

Why is Market Reading Important?

  1. Informed Decisions: A nuanced understanding of the market allows you to make more informed trading decisions.
  2. Risk Assessment: Effective market reading can help you assess the risk associated with different trading strategies.
  3. Profit Opportunities: Being able to read the market effectively can help you spot profit opportunities that others may miss.

Key Market Indicators

  • Volume: Large bets coming into the market can dramatically shift the odds. Knowing how to interpret these shifts can be crucial for your trading decisions.
  • Price Movement: Sustained backing support or even the horse's behavior in the lineup can influence price movement. For example, if a horse is calm and focused in the lineup, it might receive sustained backing, causing its odds to shorten.
  • Market Depth: Understanding the amount of money available at different price levels can indicate the strength or weakness of a market. Resistant points, where the price seems to "stick," can be key indicators of market sentiment.

Advanced Tips for Market Reading

  1. Huge Bets and Market Shifts: Large bets can cause sudden market shifts. If you notice a significant amount of money being matched at a particular price, it could indicate insider confidence or market manipulation. Either way, it's a sign to pay attention.
  2. Sustained Backing Support: If a horse receives sustained backing, it's often a sign of strong market confidence. This could be due to various factors, such as positive news about the horse or jockey, or even insider information.
  3. Horse Behavior in the Lineup: Horses that are calm and focused in the lineup often receive backing support. Conversely, a nervous or agitated horse might see its odds drift.
  4. Resistant Points: These are price levels where the odds seem to resist moving past. Recognizing these can help you set more effective entry and exit points for your trades.

Example: Reading Resistant Points

Let's say you're observing a market where a horse's odds have bounced between 4.0 and 4.5 several times but haven't gone past these points. These become your resistant points. If the odds hit 4.5 and start to shorten, it might be a good opportunity to back the horse, expecting the odds to move back to 4.0.

Understanding these intricate details of market reading can significantly enhance your trading strategy, allowing you to make more informed and profitable decisions.

Tip 10: Continuously Update Your Knowledge and Strategies

The horse racing market is dynamic, and what worked yesterday may not necessarily work today. Continuous learning and adaptation are key to long-term success in horse trading.

Why Continuous Learning is Crucial

  1. Market Evolution: Markets evolve over time due to various factors like rule changes, technological advancements, and shifts in public sentiment.
  2. Strategy Adaptation: As more people catch on to a profitable strategy, its effectiveness can diminish. Being ahead of the curve is essential.
  3. Personal Growth: The more you learn, the better you become. Continuous learning helps you refine your skills and adapt to new challenges.

Ways to Keep Learning

  • Follow Industry News: Stay updated with news related to horse racing, jockeys, trainers, and even technological advancements in trading software. Websites like Racing Post or BBC Sport Horse Racing can be excellent sources for the latest updates.
  • Engage in Forums and Communities: Online communities can be a goldmine of information. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and share your own experiences. Platforms like Betfair Community or The Racing Forum are great places to start.
  • Regularly Review Your Trades: Whether it's through a trading journal or screen recordings, regularly reviewing your trades can offer valuable insights.

Example: Adapting to Market Changes

Imagine you've been successfully using a scalping strategy for months, but suddenly you start to notice diminishing returns.

Upon reviewing recent trades and market conditions, you realize that a recent rule change in the racing industry has led to less volatility in the markets, affecting your scalping strategy.

This is a cue to adapt and perhaps explore other trading techniques like swing trading or value betting.

Continuous learning is not just a strategy; it's a mindset. The horse racing market will continue to evolve, and so should you. Stay curious, stay adaptable, and most importantly, never stop learning.

Summary of These Beginner Friendly Horse Trading Tips

In this comprehensive guide, we've delved into the top 10 horse trading tips to help you navigate the dynamic world of Betfair horse racing markets.

From understanding the importance of a well-managed betting bankroll to mastering the art of market reading, these tips are designed to elevate your trading strategies. 

We've covered essential aspects like scalping techniques, value betting, swing trading, and even the significance of continuous learning in this ever-changing landscape.

Whether you're a beginner looking to understand the basics or an experienced trader aiming to refine your skills, these horse trading insights offer a roadmap to more profitable and informed trading.

Remember, the key to long-term success in horse trading lies in adaptability, risk management, and a deep understanding of market dynamics.



Philip Borrowman


I am a full-time marketer and part-time Betfair trader. I have over 10 years of experience in the pre-race and in-play horse trading markets and spend my days writing guides, tips and tricks to help beginner Betfair traders find their way to a profitable second income. Read my story of trading on Betfair.

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