Front Runners vs. Dark Horses: Horse Race Betting Strategies for Favourites and Longshots

The beauty of horse racing is that there is always an element of surprise, making it a captivating spectacle and a lucrative betting opportunity for beginners and experts alike. Horse racing in Singapore has been a staple of the entertainment scene for over 170 years. The close races and cheering crowds make horse racing exciting, keeping people coming back for more.

But whether you are a seasoned punter or a curious newbie, navigating the world of favourites and longshots can be tricky. Especially when it comes to the age-old question: do you back the favourites or take a punt on the longshots?

Understanding how horse betting works goes beyond just picking a winner. Making informed decisions at the races involves not only the horses themselves, but also strategies for both favourites and longshots. Knowing more about these strategies can level up your Singapore horse racing online betting experience, opening doors to better payouts.

To help get you started, below is a guide on favourites and how to place bets on them.

Favourites: Reliable or Overhyped?

Horses with the lowest odds are considered the favourites, the creme de la creme of the race. They often boast impressive past performances, a reputable trainer, and a pedigree that screams champion. However, while they possess a strong chance of victory, upsets do happen, and odds do not always reflect the true outcome of a race.

A recent example would be Fierceness, the Kentucky Derby 2024 morning line favourite. Although trained and born with a strong pedigree, its sire and dam being decorated racehorses, the horse did not appear as the winner in the 150th Kentucky horse race.

While favourites offer a higher chance of winning because of their pedigree and record, unexpected outcomes and inaccurate odds may leave bettors disappointed. Punters should not just rely on favourites, but rather make the most out of smart strategies to maximise their chances of winning.

Smart Strategies for Betting Favourites

Favourites are high-chance, lower-reward picks in horse race betting. To help you get a chance at better payouts, here are some horses betting strategies to consider:

Look for Consistency

While victories are ideal, a history of consistent placements can also show a strong contender. A crucial betting strategy to consider when assessing favourites is their recent racing record. Look for horses that have consistently placed well in races of similar distance, track conditions, and competition level.

Do Not Get Blinded by Favouritism

While favourites often have a strong chance of winning, past performance and pedigree are not the only factors to consider. Evaluating the entire field is crucial. Upsets can occur, and unforeseen circumstances like jockey changes, injuries, or even weather conditions on race day can influence the outcome.

Consider Win or Place Bets

Horse racing offers various bet types with varying degrees of potential payout and associated risk. Win bets, where you only win if your chosen horse finishes first in order, typically offer the lowest payout but are considered the least risky choice.

On the other hand, place bets offer the chance to win if your horse finishes either first or second, resulting in a slightly higher potential profit, but with a slightly increased risk compared to win bets.

Longshots: Unveiling Hidden Gems

Longshots are the underdogs, the wildcard entries with high odds. While these dark horses may not have the same glittering track record as the favourites, they can surprise everyone with a phenomenal run. In fact, the snapshot winner of the recent Kentucky Derby, Mystik Dan, was considered a longshot with 18-1 odds compared to Fierceness with 3-1 odds.

Another instance of a recent upset win was by Absolute Steel, who started at odds of 200-1, making his victory at the 2024 Exeter one of the biggest shocks in British horse racing history.

While longshots may lack the illustrious track record of favourites, they possess the potential to shock everyone with a phenomenal run. By carefully weighing all factors, you can maximize your chances of winning big with your bet.

Smart Strategies for Betting Longshots

Dark horses are high risks, but also come with high rewards. Here is how you can spot potential winners among the longshots:

Consider The Distance

Horse breeds and training styles are suited to different distances. Understanding the past performance of a longshot horse in races of similar distance can provide insights into their potential for the current race.

Look for Recent Improvement

While past performance is important, a horse showing steady improvement in recent races, even if it has not yet won, can be a good sign for a longshot. This suggests it might be ready to break through and surprise everyone.

Evaluate Risk vs. Reward

Longshot bets offer the possibility of significant returns due to their high odds. However, the likelihood of a longshot winning is inherently lower. It is crucial to weigh this risk-reward dynamic and only wager what you are comfortable losing.

Expert Betting Tips

Success in horse racing depends on more than just speed, there are many things to consider. Here are some additional expert betting tips to keep in mind:

Do Your Research Before Every Bet

This is the golden rule of horse race betting. Do not just blindly follow the odds or pick a horse with a cool name. Start by reviewing the race card, which provides details on each horse, jockey, and trainer.

Know the Form

Before placing a bet, thoroughly research the horses’ recent form. Look at their past performances in races of similar distance and track conditions. A consistent record of placing well is a strong indicator of future success.

Consider the Jockey and Trainer

The talent in the saddle and behind the scenes can significantly affect a horse’s performance. Research the jockey’s experience and winning record, especially on that track. A skilled jockey who gels well with the horse can make all the difference. Likewise, a reputable trainer known for getting the best out of their horses is a positive sign.

Never Chase Past Glories

A horse might have a stellar record, but recent form truly matters. If a once-dominant horse has been performing poorly, it might be best to avoid it, even if the odds are tempting. Focus on horses that are currently in good shape and showing promise.

Understand the Track Conditions

The state of the racetrack can significantly influence a horse’s performance. Is it a muddy track or a fast track? Some horses prefer a firmer surface, while others thrive in muddier conditions. Knowing the track conditions and how they might affect each horse is crucial for making informed decisions.

Manage Your Bankroll Wisely

While horse racing betting can be thrilling, it is crucial to remember only to wager what you can afford to lose. Gambling responsibly starts with a budget. Do not fall victim into chasing losses, which is when you recklessly place more bets to try and win back money you have already lost. Start small, diversify your bets, and enjoy the thrill of the race.

Feeling Lucky? Bet Now!

Horse racing offers both favourites with strong track records and longshot underdogs with high potential payouts. For favourites, look for consistent placements and consider win or place bets. For longshots, analyse horses’ performance at similar distances, check for recent improvement, and weigh the risk-reward before betting.

Remember, thorough research and responsible bankroll management are key for any successful horse race bet.

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