Horse Racing Festivals… How To Win At Them!

Horse racing festival betting should be approached differently to your normal, day-to-day betting.


Because the makeup of horse racing fesitvals is different from a usual days racing!

The three primary differences are…

  1. The fields are big
  2. The runners are the best
  3. The conditions are specific to festivals and only last the duration of the festival

Let’s look at these individually.

(1) Big Fields

Horse racing festivals usually have large fields. When I say large, I’m talking twenty or more runners. But here’s the rub… the majority of them are really good.

And I mean seriously good!

This means that there is a bucket load of competition to beat in each race.

Which is why watching horse racing festivals is very exciting.

The downside for those of us who like to make a profit from our betting is… it makes it very hard for us to profit.

(2) The Runners Are The Best

With the largest prize funds, and the highest status, all trainers and jockeys want to be the winner.

Which means that horses come from all over the world to compete.

Bringing horses from around the world is an expensive business, and if you’re spending that kind of money, you’re going to be bringing your best runners with you.

So… not only do these races have a very large amount of runners, these huge amounts of runners are also some of the best runners in the world.

(3) Conditions Are Specific

What’s very important to understand, is that horse racing festival conditions are very specific to the festivals.

Why is that important?

Because it means that we can’t rely on the long-term!

A horse racing festival is anything from one day to five days, which makes them very short-term betting prospects, and so we need to treat them that way.

If you’ve been a reader of the Race Advisor for any time, you’ll know that I’m very vocal about how you need to focus on the long-term with your betting. I usually suggest a minimum of three months and at least 100 winners for any strategy test, but ideally six months or longer.


When it comes to horse racing festival betting I have a slightly different approach, because we need to concentrate on the short-term.

With this in mind, this means that 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

Okay, okay, I know this goes against general perceived logic, but we don’t have time for the laws of statistics to come into play.

This approach should only be used for festivals that last just a few days, DO NOT use this for your long term daily betting.

We focus on finding the winner because we’re only betting in the short-term. No other reason.


When it comes to staking in horse racing festivals, we also do it differently to normal.

Most of us want to be able to enjoy the whole festival, and bet in every (or most) races.

In order to do this, we take our festival bankroll and divide it by the number of days that the festival lasts.

This will give you a daily bankroll for each day of the festival.

Each morning, take your daily bankroll and divide it by the number of races that day.

This is your total stake for each race.

It doesn’t matter whether your use this stake on one horse to win, or spread it across multiple horses in the race. The key is to never bet more than this amount per 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.

Let me know if this approach is something that will be useful to you when betting at festivals, or if you do something completely different, by leaving me a comment below.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. 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

    1. 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 !!

  3. I do something similar at Cheltenham (but no other festivals) where I do 2 Lucky 15s per day – one normally win only the other e/w so that I have at least one runner in every race add in a placepot and my Cheltenham day is sorted.

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