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Betting Strategies: Welsh Horse Racing

Horse racing is the third most-followed sport in Wales, behind football and rugby, and there are plenty of big day events at the country’s two major courses.

At Chepstow, The Coral Welsh Grand National is always one of the great days in Wales’ sporting calendar.

It’s unquestionably the biggest race day of the year in Wales, worth around £150,000, and generally scheduled to take place the day after Boxing Day each year.

It’s a race that dates back to 1895 when it was held at Ely Racecourse in Cardiff and apart from the two Covid-effected years, it is aways played out in front of packed crowds, which creates a unique festive atmosphere.

But there are many more top races at Chepstow, with 29 scheduled meetings in 2023, for both flat and jump racing.

The calendar’s major highlights at Ffos Las are generally centred around the excitement of the Welsh Champion Hurdle in October.

But there are plenty of other top class meeting and races across 22 race days scheduled for 2023, again over both the jumps and on the flat.

So, what are the best betting strategies to employ at either course?

Well, the courses are not considered to be particularly favourable to any draw bias for the horses, although Chepstow is an undulating course with an uphill finish that tends to sap the strength of some front runners in races over two miles.

At Ffos Las, the course is wide, with more gentle undulations and again there is no draw that seems to offer much favour, with horses tending to race towards the middle of the course rather than either rail.

Ffos Las, though, often grabs the headlines when it comes to extremes – big favourites or long-odds outsiders.

Earlier this year, Whatawit equalled the record for the shortest-priced winner in Britain and Ireland when the Sir Mark Prescott-trained five-year-old justified a starting price of 1-100.

It was the first time in nearly 120 years that a winner had been returned so short.

At the other end of the scale, last year Once More For Luck added his name to the list of longest-priced winners in Britain, stunning punters with a 125-1 victory, yet it was not the biggest surprise to his trainer.

Statistically, both courses tend towards the average measure of around one third of races being won by favourites.

So, is betting on favouries always the correct strategy, given that your horse should win one time in three?

That, of course, depends on the odds, since if you get 30 winners from 100 bets, you would need to be getting average odds of 11/8 on each winning favourite just to break even.

Shrewd punters need to use all the information at their disposal to have an effective and successful strategy.

You may fancy a favourite, but what’s the recent form, particularly at that course?

Is he being ridden by a leading jockey? What is the horse like on today’s ground? And does the trainer have a good recent strike record?

There’s always lots more to consider than just the starting price.

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