Thursday , 18 September 2014
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Approaching Festival Betting Differently

With Cheltenham almost upon us I thought it was important to approach a subject that is going to be very important over the coming days. This is an approach that may not work for everyone, but it is an approach that I have used for years and works for me.

Festival racing is different from a usual days racing. Of course, I know that you already know this, but let’s look at the main differences a bit closer.

  • The fields are big
  • The runners are the best
  • The conditions are specific to festivals and only last the duration of the festival

Often in festivals we see bigger fields than we would normally, this means that there is more competition to beat in each race, particularly the feature races. This is part of what makes the festival exciting, it also makes it hard for us as punters to profit.

The horses that are entered into these races are the best. We get fields comprising of large numbers of very high class horses. This means that it is possible for a large number of them to win the race dependent on what happens during the race and how they are ridden. Unfortunately for us, that makes it harder for us to analyse the races.

These two main factors are usually specific to festivals and they will only last for the duration of the festival.

I am normally very vocal about how you need to focus on the long-term, a minimum of three months but ideal six or more, and finding value in the odds.

But…

For festival betting I have a slightly different approach. And the reason for this is because the conditions are only short term, which means we need to approach it form a short term perspective.

Our first rule for festival betting is…

1) Do not use the same bankroll you use for your regular daily betting activity.

This is very important! You should keep festival betting separate from your regular daily betting. We do this because the competition is much fiercer than normal and we want to keep our daily bankroll separate for our long-term betting.

The second rule for festival betting is…

2) Focus on finding the winner not finding the value

This is the key for using this approach with festival betting and it goes against everything else you will have ever learnt. This approach should only be used for festivals that last just a few days, DO NOT use this for your long term daily betting.

The reason we focus on finding the winner is because we are only betting in the short-term because of the short-term conditions and this means that there isn’t enough time for long-term value to kick in.

For our staking we also do something slightly different. We want to be able to enjoy the whole festival and so we take our festival bankroll and divide it by the number of days that the festival lasts. This gives you a daily bankroll for each day of the festival. Then each morning we take our daily bankroll and divide it by the number of races that day. This gives us the total stake for each race.

You can split this stake up however you want in a race. You may choose to bet one horse to win or each-way, or you may spread it across multiple runners. However you do it, you never bet more than this amount in a race.

At the end of the day remove all your winnings and that days stake from your bankroll. This is your daily profit.

Using this approach you will find that festival betting is far more enjoyable and you come away with more profitable festivals than before.

About Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help punters improve their betting profits and think outside the box with their betting strategies. To date he has written over 450 articles on the site and recently started UK Racing News which has become a leading news site for horse racing in the UK and IRE. Check out my personal blog or my Google+

3 comments

  1. gordon greenwood

    Value-this term is misleading. I would rather back a 4-5 winner than a 10-1 also ran. In some of the festival races you can back the first 3 in the betting and make a profit. This year may be different as many horses are ground dependent, and need it soft for their stamina to come into play. Zarkandar and Far Westy being examples

    • The thing about value is that it only comes into play in the long-term. Ultimately we want winners, but we have to getting higher odds on them than we should be otherwise we won’t be able to make a profit. It doesn’t matter whether they are odds-on or long-shots as long as they are better than they should be.

  2. Have to admit, I’ve never approached it from this angle. Thank You for this advice, I’ll certainly give it a try !!

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