What to Look for When Betting on Horses

Horse racing has a long and illustrious history in New Zealand with some of the most famous horses, such as the great Phar Lap having been born on home soil. Betting on a horse race is a very popular past time with both serious punters and those who are a bit more casual. Betting on the big races is more common than betting on the smaller local ones, but that isn’t to say that it’s not worth your while.

When placing a bet on a horse race, one should never go in blind; always have an idea of what you are wagering on. Knowing all about the runners is imperative for a successful bet, as is knowing the track and conditions for the day of the race.

Previous Form

Reading a form grid will give you an idea of how a particular horse has been performing. Thanks to the internet, one can now look up race results as well as many other articles on a particular horse, giving you an idea of how they have been performing over the last few years or months. Take note of whether the horse has run at the track before and how they did.

It is normal for thoroughbreds to have periods of time off from racing, called spelling. Racing is hard on the legs and they need to recoup in order to win or place. However, should a horse have had an unusual amount of time off for injury or illness, take note that it is likely that they may not return to their previous form. Even if a horse was a favourite, betting on him on his first race back may not be a great idea.


Bloodlines do not dictate the potential of a horse, although they may well play a big part in its potential. One of the most well known blood lines in New Zealand is the Danzig Danehill line. Danzig was the stallion who sired the famous Danehill, among a number of other top performing horses. Danehill’s prodigy have gone on to win race after race, including very known horses such as Takedown, and was named sire of they in numerous countries for a number of years in a row. Danehill line horses have also dominated the horse of the year stakes for a number of years in many countries. Of course, since there are so many Danehill horses out there, not all of them are winners, although a large majority of them are.


Oddly enough, one of the things to look out for in horse racing betting is equipment. This is mostly important in the younger horse’s races such as maiden stakes or three year olds. New equipment may affect the way a horse runs either for the better or the worse. Of course, trainers try not to put on tack which will damage the horse’s performance, but it does happen. Take note on the form grid who is new tack, as it could very well play a part in the race results.


Finally, take note of a horses age. Again, this is most useful in the older and larger group races. Thoroughbreds usually peak at about the age of five, although older ones have been known to beat the youngsters such as, again, Takedown. The chestnut gelding was seven years old when he won a major group one race in Australia. Age isn’t everything as they say, although in the word of horse racing it may be one of the deciding factors.