English Horse Racing Strategy

English horse racing is one of the longest established and largest spectator sports in the country. Generating over £3.7 billion for the British economy, gambling on horseraces has subsequently dominated the UK’s betting industry too, especially with major events such as The Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup consistently bringing in the crowds.

Comparatively, the betting industry is an important funder of horseracing in Great Britain: regardless of whether you're a high roller looking to stake thousands on a race or a casual punter simply joining in the fun and nostalgia of the Grand National, there is always that lure of the gamble.

However, if you want to give yourself the best shot at making money in the horse racing market, then it’s definitely worth knowing a few old betting strategies. Although some will suggest that horse racing betting systems are simply myth, this isn't necessarily true.

The problem with strategies for betting on horses often is that people wrongly assume they are sure-fire ways to make cash. The reality, however, is that these strategies are nothing more than techniques for picking out value in the market. With this in mind, we've broken down some of the more effective horse racing strategy systems you could use to increase your chances of winning a flutter… or two:

The Lay

To use this horse racing strategy, you first need to find a race that has ten or more runners. Once you've found a suitable race, the key to betting is to identify the three favourites and asses their odds.

You need to pick runners that have odds of between 3.0 (2/1) and 5.8 (4.8/1) and lay against the horse with the lowest odds (a lay bet is a bet that the horse won’t win).

Statistical analysis shows that horses with odds within these ranges (when in the top three picks of a race) win around 17% of the time. This means a lay bet should realise you a profit over 80% of the time.

Back the Beaten Favourite

Another English horse racing betting strategy that has a good chance of success is the beaten favourite method. When a horse is popular to win a race but is beaten, the weight of public opinion often goes against them for their next race and so the bookmakers are naturally forced to increase their odds on that runner.

Anyone that's experienced in betting on horse races will know that even the most revered horses can sometimes lose and this opens the window to future gains.

Because the horse will have better odds than it normally would for its next race, you could find yourself quids in if you remain loyal. This strategy is viable long term as it will almost always realise a profit over time.


Dutching is a well-known strategy amongst avid horse betters and is used for the ‘damage limitation’ win. The basic idea is that you divide your stake over a number of selections so that the same amount is won regardless of which selection wins.

The dutching calculation is not always straight-forward with varying odds and betting exchange commissions to consider, but ultimately it falls to cold hard mathematics and, if executed well, can make your betting more ‘fool proof’.

Imagine an English horse race in which you have identified 2 runners with odds of 3/1 and 11/1 that you would like to bet on. Your limit for the race is £10 and logic would suggest to split this 50/50 with 2x £5 bets.

However, think about it for another minute or so… should the 11/1 horse win your return would actually be much higher.

In fact, the most logical solution would be to reduce the amount staked on the horse with higher odds and increase proportionally the stake on the other ...until the winnings are equal. e.g:

Suggested probabilities from the odds
suggested probability of 11/1 runner = (1 / (11/1 + 1)) * 100 = 8.33%
suggested probability of 3/1 runner = (1 / (3/1 + 1)) * 100 = 25%

The stakes
amount to stake on 11/1 runner = (8.33 / (25 + 8.33)) * £10 = £2.50
amount to stake on 3/1 runner = (25 / (25 + 8.33)) * £10 = £7.50

The outcome
with splitting the stake evenly, the amount returned should any runner win is £30