Are Shorter Horse Races More Predictable?

When it comes to making the most from your wagers on horse racing, every advantage you can find to put the odds more in your favour, the better. Just like you have more chance of scoring a win betting on a favourite compared to a long shot, is there a similar advantage to placing bets on races run over a shorter distance as compared to longer races that have more variables?

The general consensus is that picking the winners of short races are more predictable and easier than trying to pick a winner or trifecta from races run over longer distances. It’s obviously not an absolute science, but that’s what the school of thought among some punting experts is, so it’s definitely a tactic worth serious consideration.

Chance no doubt still plays a major role in any form of betting or gambling, but at least with something like horse race wagering you have more tangible things to go on, such as recent form, whether a horse performs well on a wet or dry track, and which horses are sprinters and more likely to win a short horse race. It’s not like the lotto where there is absolutely no form guide or anything to go by other than historical draw results.

One thing to consider though before adopting the tactic of focusing your betting on short races is maiden races. These horses have no track record to go by, so that’s going to make picking the winner a lot harder and more prone to relying on chance alone.

It’s true that longer races provide more time for variables to come into play. For example, it’s more unlikely for a long odds horse to sprint to the front and win a 1200m race, but it does happen from time to time in races that are 2000m or longer. Even the great Melbourne Cup often produces a winner that wasn’t one of the race favourites, as it’s such a long race at 3200m.

Over the course of a distance race there’s more opportunity for incidents to occur. A fancied horse might go out too hard at the start through jockey inexperience or some other reason. The horse then tires towards the end of the race and might be overtaken by the field. Longer races are akin to athletes running a 5000m or 10,000m race. The pack tends to decide the speed of the race. A fast pace will suit certain horses more than a slower pace and vice versa.

This type of scenario is far less likely to unfold in a sprint race. Plus, the really short races don’t involve much in the way of running bends, and some horses can actually gain advantages through bend running. The short races are pretty much a straight sprint to the post.

While not a guaranteed winning formula, if you choose to place a bet on a horse in a short race that’s got a track record of fast starts from the barrier, is a true sprinter, and is being ridden by an experienced jockey in form, then the chances of that horse passing the post first are really pretty good.

Champion horse of the modern era, Winx, has been dubbed by CNN as the Usain Bolt of horse racing in Australia. The unbeatable mare hasn’t lost a race since April 2015, an incredible record. So if you’re going to wager on a sprint race and Winx is in the starting line up, chances are extremely high that you’ll be picking a winner if you bet on her.

Although focusing on shorter distance and sprint races might be a handy tactic to try out, the more predictable a horse race is, the lower the odds are going to be. Sure, you might find yourself backing more winners or snaring a few quinellas and trifectas along the way, but payouts are going to be small because it was relatively easy to forecast the result.

The amount of money you can make is definitely something that needs to be taken into account when seeking any kind of edge in horse race wagering. After all, at the end of the day you want to be profitable.

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