The first thing we’d like to say is, we’d never dream of having anything to do with fixing horse racing. We do love beating the bookies, but we like to do it the fair, lawful, and morally right way by using our skills as tipsters / pro punters.
We’d also love to tell you that no horse race in the centuries of horse racing that have taken place has ever been fixed – but we would be lying.
Unscrupulous characters have tried a variety of tricks to fix horse races, including bribing jockeys and trainers to stop horses from running up to their best, while others have managed to administer illegal performing-enhancing substances.
But horse racing isn’t the only sport that has been tarnished by unscrupulous characters looking to make a quick and easy profit. There have been scandals in football, athletics, cricket, and many other popular sports. There have also been the likes of cyclist Lance Armstrong, who fooled the world into thinking he was almost superhuman before being revealed as a drug-cheat.
But for all the scandal there’s been in horse racing, 99.9% of it is operated in a fair and open manner, with horses, jockey, trainers, and owners competing against each other on a level playing field.
Why Don’t Horses Always Perform To Their Best?
One reason why many people think horse racing is fixed is that horses don’t always run up to their best, and punters question why this is. The simple answer is that horses are just like people in many respects – so do you always perform to your best?
I’d like to think most days that I’m a consistent sort who always puts his head down and tries hard, navigates any hurdles in his way, and tries to reach the finishing post ahead of his fellow competitors. But the truth is some days I just can’t be quite as arsed as I should be, and horses are also creatures that some days don’t always achieve what they could.
It may be that they don’t feel 100% or they get frustrated that other horses are just running that bit faster than them. This is especially true of older horses that become fed-up of trying to match younger legs.
Sometimes, horses also meet trouble in running. They can get a wider than ideal draw or track position during a race, making it hard to achieve their best. They may meet interference in running, either another horse swerving into them or getting stuck behind horses when the jockey ideally wants to make his race-winning move. These factors can all be the difference between winning and losing.
Why Do Some Jockeys Not Seem To Be Trying As Hard as Others?
Like you, I’ve often thought that some jockeys in races don’t make anywhere near as much effort as other jockeys. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that there could be lots of reasons for this. I wouldn’t call these reasons race fixing, but I’ve grown to understand what the mentality of jockeys and trainers are in certain situations.
Horses can start racing as 2-year-olds and, before they have their first race, it’s a trainer’s job to try and decide what the future of that horse may be. If he/she thinks they may have a potential Listed or Group race performer on their hands, they will be trying to be competitive in early novice races before stepping up into better company.
But a trainer must also decide whether the future of a horse is in handicaps, races where a horse’s rating determines the weight it carries. To win one of these races, a horse tends to need to be well-handicapped, I.e. it must have a lower rating than it is capable of running to. In order to get such a mark, horses often must run down the field in races where the winners are those that trainer’s think will be group races. This is often when you may see a jockey who’s not trying as hard as others. While some may think this is race fixing, it is a kind of unwritten accepted practice in horses racing – despite BHA stipulations that a horse must always try its best.
Of course, there’s a wide spectrum of horses between these two levels. There are expected stars that don’t shine and metaphorical ducklings that surprisingly turn into swans. Just like humans, some horses also improve suddenly with age and growth, while some just spit the dummy out and do nothing that you want them to.
How Do You Beat Fixed Horse Racing?
If you ever get asked to be part of a fixed horse race, we strongly suggest you have nothing to do with it. It may seem like a get rich quick scheme, but most race fixers get caught in the end, due to the monitoring of strange betting patterns.
What we do recommend is spotting patterns that, while pushing accepted boundaries to the extreme, are widely accepted practices in horse racing. We like to call these tricks of the trade and they can be a great way to profit from horse racing in a perfectly legal way.
We suggest you take a careful note of 2-year-olds that go handicapping after not making much impact in their early races. This is especially true of horses stepping up in trip or running on different ground than they have been doing.
Another angle is older horses stepping down in class or returning to a handicap mark that they have won off in the past. These two factors can often coincide and be a good source of regular winners. There are other patterns to look for too, but we can’t tell you all our hard-earned secrets.
It takes a good deal of time and studying to spot these horses, but don’t worry if you haven’t got the time to do it yourself. Many professional horse racing punters spend their lives looking through the form book for horses like these and are willing to share their advice and tips for a small monthly subscription. Some even offer some of their tips for free, just so you can see how good their advice is.
We hope that’s answered your question about how to spot a fixed horse race. It’s true, there have been some instances of horse race fixing, but much of what people think is horse racing fixing is just accepted tricks of the trade.
If you’re looking for more advice about horse racing, you’ll find lots of articles here on the Betting Gods blog. Alternatively, check out a few of those free tips we mentioned.