Horse Racing Betting Strategies That Work 

 January 12, 2021

By  Philip Borrowman

In this article, you will discover six horse racing betting strategies that work.

If you have been trying to make money online by being a sports trader or professional gambler then this article is for you.

Horse race betting and trading is an extremely popular way to earn an extra income online, but the problem is finding a betting system that returns a profit.

Most beginner punters lose money and drown in frustration and information overload.

Horse Racing Betting Strategies That Work

Most beginner punters lose money and drown in frustration and information overload.

I have put together a list of betting strategies which are suitable for beginner punters but also the more advanced traders who trade on the betting exchanges, such as Betfair.

So, whether you are looking to make some extra cash or build a substantial bankroll over long period, this article will help you find what you are looking for.

Tools You Will Need to Trade/Bet on Horses

I am going to assume that you are familiar with these tools and websites you need to use in order to successfully implement a betting strategy.

If you are a regular punter and you're using the bookmakers websites only, then you're already have all the tools you need.

But, if you're planning on using best exchanges, such as Betfair or BetDaq, then you will need a trading tool such as:

I will leave a couple comprehensive guides to both these tools so you can learn how to use them effectively.

Using trading software when trading on the exchanges is by far the most cost effective and efficient way to make a profit as it allows you to act quickly and get your orders/bets matched as quick as possible.

Using betting exchanges also gives you the best odds and most flexibility as there are no bookmaker margins involved.

You do have to pay a small commission to the exchanges, ranking from 1% to 5%, but this is nothing compared to the under priced odds the bookmakers try to push on their customers.

No.1 – Swing Trading

Swing trading is a very safe way to trade because you can use smaller stakes to become a profitable trader.

To perform a swim trade, you are looking at the bigger picture and the price movement of the odds of a horse going up or down over the course of the market.

For example, I could back a horse at 8.0 earlier in the day and then green up (take profit) at 6.0, resulting in a 10-tick price movement... And a nice profit.

swing trading with 10 tick profit

Typically this is done on bigger races where there is more volume/matched bets in the market and there are more indicators in relation to the:

  • Jockeys Records.
  • Race History.
  • Race Track Information.
  • Solid Resistance Points
  • Proven Horses With Great Track Record
  • Etc,

You enter a trade as far ahead as many hours before the race goes off and you are betting on the prices going up or down depending on if you backed or laid the horse .

Main Advantage

The main advantage of swing trading is that you can use smaller stakes and have lower risks because you do not need to react to the market very quickly, making it a more “hands off” style of trading.

If the price goes against you, and you were in a losing trade, you have more time to consider your options and to read the market before deciding to exit or to close out for a profit or loss.


Patience is key for this strategy because you are trading long term and unless you have specific entry points and exit points you could end up in a very large losing position and having to closeout for a large loss.

Emotional maturity and being in control over your action is very much key to all these strategies.

Emotional betting is the fastest way to lose your bankroll.

No.2 – Pre-Race Scalping

Scalping the pre-race markets is a proven technique based on entering and exiting the market as quickly as possible by taking one tick or two ticks profits from a short term price movement.

This is usually done when the market is stagnant or on a resistance point such as 6.0 or 4.0.

scalping using betangel

As the price fluctuates with a range of only three or four ticks you can hop in getting your trades matched on the back side and the lay side and you scalp out small profits every time .

This is a favourite amongst newbie traders because it's a very quick and simple way to trade but it does come with some risks because the market moves quickly.

If you're caught in the losing position and you do not act quick enough you can rapidly end up heavily in the red.

Main Advantage

This is a low-risk strategy because you're only in the market for a few seconds at a time, a few minutes at the maximum.

The goal of scalping is to produce lots of consistent but smaller profits.

This is a very beginner friendly betting strategy because you do not need to know anything about horses to make this work as it is purely about knowing the markets and how it moves.


The main problem with scalping for beginner traders is the emotional side and bankroll management.

When a trade goes against you and you are in a losing position, beginner traders tend to panic and then make emotional bets to try and recover their position which can and will double or treble your losses very quickly.

No.3 – Laying the Favourite Strategy

An exceedingly popular and extremely simple and proven strategy is to lay the favourite.

Laying the favourite works well because according to around 35% of all outright track favourites win which means there are a lot of losing favourites which you can lay.

If you can lay an odds on favourite, it represents a very low liability for a trader, with a very attractive profit margin.

By exploiting racetrack condition and horses which are racing on unfamiliar ground/conditions you could easily find an angle here and really produce some impressive results.

Perhaps a consistent winner is riding with an unfamiliar jockey or using blinkers for the first time.

Again, long term thinking is the key here and understanding that the ROI comes from the long term average, not short term lucky bets.

Is it NOT as simple as laying all favourite runners, no.

The stats given by OLBG show that they do not include join favourites, for example, so you need to apply some reason and common sense.

Use the statistics from previous races as an indicator to form your own system.

Be methodical in your record keeping of your bets and you will be able to spot angles within races you can exploit to your advantage.

No.4 – Value Betting

Value betting is another wonderful strategy for low-risk trading, and it is a very beginner friendly better strategy because it involves no live trading.

All the bets are placed before horse races start and this makes it much easier because there is no emotional betting involved.

There are no live market trades. You match your bet on the exchange or bookmaker and you leave it there, nothing else is required.

Value betting involves taking advantage of the differences in odds between bookmakers and betting exchanges or drastic price changes within one market before the off.

The same selection of horses can have very different odds on different platforms and this opens up the opportunity to grab value bets.

It does not guarantee you are going to win but it gives you the best price which means in the long run, when you do win, you win a larger amount of money.

Probability is very much the key here and securing a large volume of value bets is essential for you to increase your average daily and weekly return.

Think of it as two electronic shops where one shop has a 25% discount and the other one doesn't. You are buying the same stock but vastly different value propositions.

Mike Cruickshank has a fantastic guide on what value betting is and how you can exploit a variety of different strategies within this method.

No.5 - Back the Beaten Favourite

Very often a favourite horse will lose, in fact only about 35% of UK horse racing favourites will win the race.

There are many reasons why a favourite will lose on the day and the “back the beaten favourites” strategy focuses on those losing horses.

Ideally you want to find a horse which ran within the last 30 days and is trying to recover from the previous loss by running a track with which they are familiar.

If a horse lost the previous race on a track they have not trained on and the conditions were unfavourable, perhaps it was raining, then it makes sense to back this beaten favourite on the next race if they are racing on familiar territory.

The trainer and owner will be wanting to get back on winning ground to protect their race card.

By placing the horse on familiar tracks, using familiar jockeys and conditions will increase the chances of a successful race.

No.6 - Back To Lay For a Quick Win

When a horse race goes in-play, the odds are erratic as the live odds react to every single movement of the horses. This presents a great opportunity for a back to lay trade.

For example: Let’s say a front-runner horse is lining up at the front of the pack and has odds of 6.0.

In the opening 60 seconds of this race the chances are the odds of this front runner are going to drop because the odds are in his favour and the market will move with this assumption.

You will notice in the last 60 seconds before the off a front runner horse’s odds will normally drop as the in-play traders start backing the horse with intention to lay it off again seconds after the race begins. To explore this strategy, you can learn more with our Best In-Play Horse Racing Strategy which user a back-to-lay method anyone can learn.

This is by no means a fool proof method as the markets are erratic and the assumption is the front runner horse will have a good start, so caution is advised and careful bank management is needed.

Especially over hurdles as the front runner can easily fall, losing your entire back bet.

There are many variations of the back to lay strategy which you can implement pre-race and in-play across multiple sports but using the horse racing markets is a quite common one.

How to Turn These Horse Racing Betting Strategies Into Long Term Profit

I'm sure you can see this article is only a small snippet of the information you need to turn any one of these strategies into full time income.

managing banroll risks when trading

Therefore, you need to use the resources I have linked to in this article and continue delving deeper into each one of these strategies.

Understand the risks and have a realistic mindset when it comes to becoming a full-time horse trader.

You cannot trade with emotion and you need to have a statistical mindset, and a calm collected execution in the markets.

Risk Management & Understanding Losses

As with any investment, where there is money at stake, you must have a very strong set of standards, self-control, and will power when it comes to betting and trading on horses.

risk management trading horses

This is a very emotional way of making money online and unless you are willing and able to learn to control these emotions you are highly likely to lose money as making emotional decisions will hinder your progress.

You must base your entry points in the markets on logic, statistics, and the most likely outcome to ensure but you get consistent results and return on your investment.

Can You Make These Horse Racing Strategies Work for You?

As you can see, there are many ways of generating profit online using a variety of horse race betting strategies.

They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but the main consistency is that you need to have a mature mindset and think long term.

With any kind of financial risk there is never an easy option or a quick fix.

You must consider all indicators and market movements ranging from the weather, jockey form, horse form, racetrack conditions, emotional betting trends and so much more.

My advice is to pick one strategy that you feel you can really get your head round and give that your full attention for several months, if not a full year, and truly get to grips with all the ups and downs of that one horse betting strategy.

Be logical and protect your bankroll and, above all else, do not let your emotions dictate which bets or trades you enter.

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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