In horse racing, how do I pick a winner?

Obviously, the many imponderables dictating the outcome of any horse race mean that picking a winner is not altogether straightforward. Indeed, even successful punters cannot expect to correctly predict the result of every horse race on which they place a bet and losing runs are inevitable.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the importance of luck in running, picking a winner essentially boils down to a handful of factors, most, if not all, of which can be determined by analysing the form book. You can often make an educated guess about ability or, in the case of unraced, promising or progressive horses, potential ability by reference to the pedigree of the horse in question and its recent recent performances on the racecourse. Furthermore, certain organisations, including Racing Post and Timeform, publish ratings that express, in Imperial pounds, the ability of each horse in the eyes of their private handicappers, which can be extremely useful for comparison purposes. Recent form, say, within the last six weeks or so, indicates that a horse is likely to fit and ready to do itself justice.

Beyond that, the fact remains that most horse races are won by horses that are attempting little, or nothing, more than they have achieved in the past. Beware of any marked disparity in class, distance, going, value and weight; winning horses inevitably rise in the weights, according to official ratings allocated by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), but the weight a horse carries ultimately affects the speed at which it can gallop.

Can I bet on virtual horse racing?

Perhaps the best known virtual horse race is the Virtual Grand National, which was first introduced in 2017, but took centre stage in 2020 after the real-life Grand National was called off due to the coronavirus. Like all virtual horse races, the Virtual Grand National is a computer simulation; computer-generated imagery (CGI) is employed to create a faithful rendition of racecourse, runners and riders and the result is determined by a sophisticated, step-by-step list of rules, technically known as an algorithm.

As in a real-world race, the odds offered on each horse are inversely proportional to its theoretical chance of winning, but the outcome is determined by a regulated random number generator (RNG). As the name suggests, a RNG is designed to generate a sequence of numbers without any discernible pattern but, in a virtual horse race, the favourite has a higher ‘weighting’ in the RNG – and, therefore, more chance of winning – than the second favourite and so on throughout the field.

The Virtual Grand National may be the best known virtual horse race, but virtual horse racing is everyday occurrence with bookmakers, on the High Street and online, in Britain. In fact, virtual horse races, Flat or Jumps, typically take place every few minutes, with win, each-way, forecast and tricast betting available.

Why is a ‘Yankee’ bet so-called?

A ‘Yankee’ bet is, of course, is a full cover, multiple bet, which combines four selections, in four different events, in six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold accumulator, making eleven bets is total. Some sources suggest that the name of the bet is derived from the traditional, informal meaning of ‘Yankee’ – that is, a native or inhabitant of the United States of America – and cite a convenient, but probably apocryphal, account of an American GI who made a substantial profit from placing such as bet at some unconfirmed point in history.

However, it seems much more likely that the name of the bet was derived from an Australian nuance of ‘Yankee’, once again meaning ‘American’, but in the sense of ‘equal for all’. The word ‘Yankee’ appears in the expressions ‘Yankee shout’, meaning a social outing in which everyone pays for themselves, and ‘Yankee tournament’, meaning a sporting contest in which everyone plays everyone else, which date from the mid-twentieth century. It follows that ‘Yankee’ should also be used to describe a multiple bet in which each horse is coupled, in doubles, trebles and an accumulator with every other horse in the bet.

What is a betting ring inspector?

A betting ring inspector, nowadays better known as a betting ring manager, is a independent person, employed by Administration of Gambling on Tracks (AGT) Limited – which succeeded the National Joint Pitch Council in 2008 – who regulates and monitors on-course betting activity. A betting ring manager is present at every race meeting and his or her principal functions are to allocate pitches, each of which must be under the control of an accredited person, to enforce betting legislation and, if possible, to help resolve disputes between on-course bookmakers and the general public. In the event that a dispute cannot be resolved on the day of the race in question, the betting ring manager can complete an independent, unbiased report, which is forwarded, along with a dispute form completed by the member of the public involved, to the Tattersalls Committee for adjudication.

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