You’ve arrived at the track looking the part for a big day at The Races, and you’ve just purchased your first glass of bubbly. You look over and see a group throwing hi-fives after winning some cash on a race. You want a piece of that winning feeling, but you have no idea what to do. Sound familiar? Not everyone's a seasoned professional when it comes to understanding the goings-on of a race day, but these basics should have you at least sounding like you know a thing or two!
Breaking Down The Lingo
‘The Form Guide’ – Usually found in the newspaper or as a book. It provides all of the statistics and previous results of the horses running on the day.
‘A Good Thing’ – Said by someone who has received a tip from someone that they believe is unbeatable. Quite often approach these ‘good things’ with caution.
‘Each Way Chance’ – A horse that people think is a sneaky chance of winning the race at bigger odds but is more likely to only place (see below)
Odds are a pretty simple one to understand. If you like a horse, just check the price next to it. If it says $5 for example, that is saying that for every $1 you invest on that horse and if it wins. You will receive $5 back. So if you put $5 on the horse and it wins, you would receive $25 back from the bookie!
Different Types of Bets:
Win – The horse to win
Place – The horse to finish in the top 3
Each Way – A bet which encompasses a win and place component. For example a $5 Each Way bet, would total $10 with $5 on the win and $5 on the place.
Trifecta – Pick the top 3 placegetters in the race. Can be picked in order, or ‘boxed’ which means they can finish in any order.
How to Pick a Winner:
This one is not as simple! Punters spend hours upon hours reading the form and trying to find a winner and quite often don’t get one. Some simple tips can be:
Check the horse’s record at the distance – just like humans, some horses run better at certain distances. You wouldn’t bet on Usain Bolt to win the marathon!
What grade is the horse running in – all races are graded, so sometimes a horse may be dropping down in grade to get a win. Just like if you went back to Grade 4 to sit a maths test, you should top the class.
Is it in form – Check the horses last few starts. Has it been winning? Usually winning form is good form and quite often horses get on hot streaks. Likewise, if they’re out of form they run poorly.
But don’t disregard good old fashioned luck and sometimes it’s just as much fun to pick your favourite name or favourite number! Always remember to gamble responsibly, and know when to quit.