Staying Races – How You Can Come Out a Winner

While a lot of hoopla gets made over the U.Ks and Australia’s Thoroughbred turf sprints, it’s still the staying races like the Melbourne Cup that offer the top purses and bring in the biggest crowds. Staying races can be just as exciting as sprints in different ways. Whether the winner goes wire-to-wire or closes in the stretch from behind, a staying race can have you on pins and needles the entire time, and the complexity of staying races transforms the sport into an art. If you’re interested in doing some free betting on these trials of endurance, here are some strategies you can use to grow your winnings.

Strategies for Betting Staying Races

The strategies for betting staying races are similar to those you’d use for sprints, but you have to tweak them a bit for the longer events. No one single method is foolproof, but if you combine strategies and do your homework, you can come out ahead a good percent of the time.

Follow a Few Favourite Horses

Some punters like to follow a few favourite horses throughout their racing seasons. Be aware that stayers race less frequently than sprinters, so you won’t see them on the turf quite as often.

Of course, there are national treasures, like sprinter Black Caviar, that develop a huge following. But it can also be fun to pick a few up-and-comers and watch their careers take off. Free betting is getting more interesting now too with an influx of horses from Japan (To the World has been getting a lot of press lately), as well as an uptick in Kiwi and Australian horses and of course horses from the U.K.

If you find a horse that performs well and attracts your attention, check out its connections. Often you’ll find that the owner or breeder has their own strategy for producing winners, so you may like other Thoroughbreds from the same farm or bloodlines.

It pays to know how to pick apart a form guide no matter how you slice it, but especially if you’re looking at specific horses over and again, you’ll want to give it close perusal. Unless you’re seeing prospects live almost every day, placing free bets in Australia without a form guide is a shot in the dark.

In staying races you want to pay attention to how a horse performs over various distances. A horse that runs brilliantly at 1,600 metres can fade and drop to the back of the field at 2400 or more. Look also at turf conditions; some horses, like footballers, are born mudders, and while the soggy track puts off their competitors, they shine in the slop.

Pick a Trainer or Jockey Whose Style You Like

Often when you find a horse you like, it’s because you like the style of the trainer or jockey who’s directing it. If a trainer is happy with a jockey’s performance, the same rider will usually stay with that horse for multiple races.

You’ll discover jockeys often ride for the same couple of trainers, and trainers tend to hire their favourite jockeys again and again, especially for staying races. It takes a special kind of skill to manoeuvre a horse from within a large field to the front of the pack. It also takes a rapport with the horse to get it to hold back at first then find that extra gear coming down the stretch to overtake its competition.

Watch Morning Workouts

All Thoroughbred race horses work out early in the morning at their respective tracks. Sometimes it’s a light canter to loosen up, while others it’s a full-on breeze at racing speed. Performance at morning workouts and breeze times are carefully watched by those in the know, and you as a bettor can benefit from this information.

If you can’t watch the workouts yourself (check with your track or make friends with a trainer for an even better view from the backside), try Youtube or horse racing sites, including form guides, for workout results and videos. If you have horse handling experience, you may be able to get some work hot walking horses after their workouts, another perfect way to get your backside news from the inside.

Other Tips for More Wins

Subscribe to as much racing media as you can, and chat with jockeys, owners and handicappers on social media–a great source of behind-the-scenes knowledge and, frankly, gossip, that can give you the full picture of your favourite equine athletes.

If you’re betting live at the track, plan on some last-minute checks before placing your wagers. In addition to assessing weather and turf conditions, you’ll want to look at the size of the field and your horse’s post position (assigned randomly by computer). Some horses can break well from any lane, while others are fussier about moving from the far inside or outside.

You’ll also want to try to get a peek at your bets in the parade ring when they saddle up to see how they are behaving at race time. Staying races take a lot of concentration and energy; a horse that’s anxious or downright unruly in the mounting enclosure or post parade may be spent by the time it reaches the starting gate.

Being a winner with staying races takes much of the same perseverance required by the horses themselves. Give yourself time to learn the game of placing free bets for Australia’s and the U.K’s best races, and you’ll eventually go home with a little something beyond a happy memory.

John Hawthorne

John Hawthorne

John Hawthorne is a travel and sports writer from Canada. He writes for various sports websites and when he's not writing he enjoys researching his next destination.


  1. Very nice article Jon. It is well written in a nice, easy going style. I found it enjoyable as well as informative.
    Also would like to thank you for joining in at CappesOvelay. I look forward to your participation.

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