Horse Racing: To Win, You Must Know these Aspects

April 18, 2022

Are you interested in horse racing? You need to know many things about horse racing, even as a pro. Below, we will discuss these horse racing aspects in detail to help you decide the favorites for the 2022 Belmont Stakes.

How Horse Racing Averages Can Help You Pick A Winner

If you head online or use a tipping service to research your horse racing bets, you will often be able to use horse racing form averages. You will often find these averages on websites or in racing papers.

Averages are a guide to the better-performed horses in any given race. As with other racing systems, they won’t guarantee who the winner of a race will be, but they will help you study the form in any particular race that you may be interested in.

Racing Averages

Racing averages are compiled by adding up every horse’s average wins, places, and prize money in a particular race. These totals are then averaged out to find the average for the race field. Those horses that are well above average in each category would then be considered well placed in the race, according to the average of the field as a whole.

Average Wins   

Winning and losing in racing can become a habit. Therefore, it is worth considering a horse’s win average to see whether it is a perennial winner or loser.

A good yardstick to measure a horse is whether its win average is above 25% – i.e., that it has won at least one in every four races it partakes. The higher the win percentage, the better that horse has performed in races.

Average Places

In the same way, horses that regularly win races should be considered, horses that regularly place are also useful from a betting perspective. If you are looking for good each-way bets or more complex punts such as a trifecta or a quinella, then horses with good place records can be profitable.

Therefore, you should consider horses with a higher than average place performance compared to the rest of the field.

Average Prize Money

A horse with a high average prize money compared to the rest of the field has probably won better races, raced against stronger fields, or has been very consistent in its career. Therefore, it is worth considering horses with above average prize money and other form factors.

You should bear in mind that the prize money may be skewed by the horse having just one major race win rather than it being a consistent performer.

Using Averages

If you find a horse in a race with an above average win and place percentage and above average prize money, you have found a horse worth closer inspection. You should also check out other factors such as handicap, form, and conditions, but using these three averages can give you a head start when deciding which horse to back.

How The Size Of The Field Can Affect A Race

For any given horse race, many factors can affect the outcome. The quality of the horses, the conditions, the jockey, and the course’s direction are a few of the most important, but the size of the race field can also be a major factor.

The Field

The horses entered in a particular race are the ‘race field.’ There were twenty horses in the Kentucky Derby 2021, and fields can vary from three or four to over two dozen in some races.

Some major international races permit larger fields; for example, the English Grand National allows up to forty runners. The Melbourne Cup is limited to twenty-four starters, and many other races limit the number of entrants.

There are two main ways in which the size of the race field can affect the profit you might make on the outcome of a race.

Each Way Betting

An each-way bet splits your stake with half the bet on a horse to win a race and half on the same horse finishing in a place. In Australia (and other parts of the world), the size of the race field is crucial to determining whether an each-way bet will payout.

Australian horse races with four or fewer runners will generally not offer each-way betting. Bookmakers will only payout on a win basis. There is generally an all-way option in races that feature five, six, or seven runners, but only for the second-place horse.

True each-way betting only applies for races featuring eight or more runners, where each way bet will payout on the horse, finishing in first, second, or third place.

Sheer Numbers

The size of a field in a horse race can also affect the outcome simply because of the number of horses involved. In races where there is a large field, the number of runners can affect the outcome as there is more chance of a ‘coming together’ between horses.

Events featuring many runners see an increased chance of horses blocking the path of other entrants or, in jumps racing, falling and bringing down another competitor.

The higher the number of runners, the higher the skill level is needed from the jockeys.


The number of runners in a race is therefore crucial to your profit. The size of the field affects the chances of a horse making it round unscathed, but the number of runners can be the difference between you winning an each-way wager or not.

When placing an each-way bet, you must consider the size of a race field to know exactly what place their chosen horse has to finish to generate a return.

How Track Bias Affects Races

It is a fact that horses run differently on different tracks. There are 330 racetracks in Australia, and all will tend to show favoritism to certain post positions and certain types of horses. Some call the advantage of certain postpositions ‘lane bias’, and some call a horse’s predisposition to certain tracks ‘speed bias.’ Combined, they are known as ‘track bias.

What Is Track Bias?

‘Track bias’ is a term most generally used to describe how one part of a racetrack may differ from another.

It can include a wide variety of conditions, including the severity of turns, the type of racing surface, where the starting gate is located, any cambers on the track surface, the length of the straight, the angles of the surface from an actual flat position and the hardness of the ground.

Track bias is not a phenomenon unique to any country or particular track but is a widely discussed issue in the horse racing world.

What Causes Track Bias?

Three major influencing factors can cause track bias:

  • The weather conditions
  • The usage of the course
  • The design of the track
  • Course design

You may think most courses are broadly the same. However, this is not the case, and there are many factors in the design and layout of a course that can advantage or disadvantage certain horses. The main factors are:

  • Location of starting gate – starting barriers near a turn favor the horses drawn on the inside.
  • Type of surface – this can make a huge difference to how a horse runs. Even different types of grass can have an impact.
  • Small, tight turns – typically favors ‘front running’ horses.
  • Length of straight – a long straight change from an on-pace bias to an off-pace bias.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions will certainly influence the performance of a track.

For example, a wet track will often favor off-pace horses, while a dry track can be advantageous to on-pace horses. In addition, when a grass track dries out quickly after rain, it will often favor leaders or on-pace runners.

Course Usage

The number of races has increased significantly in the last two or three decades, and to help cater to this increase, ‘movable rails’ were introduced. The location of the movable rail can often affect the patterns of racing and the design of the track. For example, in Australia, horses that race away from the rail are often at an advantage.

The maintenance and wear and tear of a track can also lead to ‘track bias.’ For example, back-markers are often favored when the track is in poor condition, whereas conversely, front-runners will be at an advantage immediately after track renovations are concluded.

That’s all for now, and we wish you good luck in your race betting adventures!

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