How to Pick a Winning Horse

Tue, Feb 27, 2024
by CapperTek

There is no doubt that watching horse racing can be plenty of fun - however, when it comes to horse racing, the thrill you get if you manage to pick a winning horse adds even more excitement to the sport. 

Whether you're a regular who's always looking at the weekly race cards - or whether you're someone new to horse racing - or maybe looking to try your luck with betting on the 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup horse racing festival, understanding the most important factors that contribute to picking a winning horse is essential. 

The good news is that in this guide, we're going to bring you all the top tips and strategies to give you the best chance of putting your money on a winner.

Look at Form Guides and Past Performances

One of the essential things you'll need to do when trying to pick a winning horse is to make sure you study form guides and past performances. These documents can provide you with a comprehensive history of any horse's racing career, giving you information about its previous races, finishes, and any other notable achievements. 

Studying this information will allow you to get a better idea of a horse's current form and performance consistency, hopefully helping you make a more informed decision.

Evaluate Both the Jockey and Trainer's Performances

The relationship between a horse, its jockey, and its trainer plays a massive role in how successful it is. As such, it's vital to assess the track record of the jockey and trainer associated with each of the horses. 

Experienced and successful jockeys and trainers will generally have a level of expertise that can have a massive impact on how well the horse performs. Look for partnerships that have a strong history of good results.

Research Track Conditions

Track conditions can have a massive influence on a horse's performance. Some horses may do better on specific types of tracks, such as turf or dirt, while others may have preferences for particular track conditions like firm or soft ground. 

It's a good idea to check the weather forecast and track conditions on race day to try and identify horses that generally perform well under similar circumstances.

Understand Class Levels

Horses compete at different class levels - ranging from maiden races for the more inexperienced horses to graded stakes for the top competitors. Understanding the class level of a race is essential for accurate handicapping. 

A horse that consistently performs well in a particular class may have a better chance of winning if they are racing against similar competition.

Watch Recent Races

Taking the time to watch a horse's recent races can give you valuable insights into its current form and fitness. In particular, look for races where the horse may have faced similar competition and see how it performs. Look for things such as finishing times, running styles, and any improvements or drops in form. Video replays of races can often give you a more detailed and helpful analysis.

Keep an Eye On Betting Trends

Look at what the betting market is doing - as it can give you a few clues about a horse's perceived chances. Any significant changes in betting odds could be indicative of insider knowledge or a changing perception about how the horse might perform. While this isn't foolproof, monitoring betting trends can work well alongside your own analysis.

Consider the Distance and Track Layout

Some horses may prefer specific race distances or track layouts. Some horses do better in sprint races, while others are better at longer distances. Moreover, some horses may like tracks with tight turns, while others perform better on courses with wider turns. This is something else to consider when trying to evaluate how well a horse is suited to a particular race.


Ultimately, if you want to do well at horse racing betting, it will require you to do a bit of research and homework. Checking out a horse's form - and how it performs under various conditions is essential - but you also need to consider the jockey and trainer as well. 

Hopefully, by incorporating all of our top tips - and with a bit of practice, you'll have a much better chance of picking that winner!