The biggest racing festival of the National Hunt calendar is fast approaching, and no doubt a plethora of tips, trends, micro-systems and the like have started landing in your inbox.

As you probably know, my preferred approach to betting is to treat it as a long-term investment, with the view that the longer and more consistently you use a betting strategy, the more likely you are to take home a profit at the end of the day (or preferably, year).

Paradoxically, this approach is not so popular among casual racing punters, who often only come out to play during the major festivals, and perhaps the odd televised Saturday. The vast majority of money wagered during these festivals comes from the "here today, gone tomorrow" punter who just wants to make a quick pocketful of cash.

The problem is, casual punters almost ALWAYS lose. There will be a few that come out on top at Cheltenham this year, but they will probably lose it all by the end of the year and then some.

Seeing as most major festivals take place over a 3 - 5 day period, with Cheltenham running over 4 days from Tuesday - Friday, this presents a problem for more serious punters who are looking to secure a profit.

That problem is luck, with the all-important question being:

Do You NEED To Be Lucky To Win At Festivals?

It's no secret that in betting, the more wagers you place, the more skill is required to turn a profit. Conversely, the fewer wagers placed, the more luck is required to turn a profit.

The relationship between the number of bets, and luck required to win, can be seen in the following graph:

We're placing a relatively small number of wagers during a typical festival, meaning it may well be luck, and not skill, that has the final say on whether you end in profit or not. Bearing this in mind:

What Can You Do To Increase Your Chances Of Winning?

Here are a some of the practises that have served me well in recent years:

1. Only Use Proven Profitable Strategies. 

Luck may dominate the playing field, but skill still plays an important role. You're much better off using strategies (be it tips, systems, trends etc.) that have been proven to work, than resorting to rumours, irrelevant form glances, or the casual punters fall-back strategy...picking their favourite name.

If you're yet to choose which strategy to use, you might consider our Festival Bets service - CLICK HERE To Join.

This festival-focused service produced 28.63 points profit at Cheltenham last year, and we're hoping for another big result this year.

2. Consider More Wagers At Smaller Stakes.

Remember, the more wagers you place, the less lucky you need to be to win. Find a strategy that provides a higher number of selections, or if you prefer to do the leg-work yourself, you might consider backing two or three runners in larger field races, and betting each way when the odds on offer are decent.

3. Take Advantage Of As Many Bookmaker Offers As Possible.

Racing festivals are prime-time for the bookies to advertise, so there will be plenty of offers available for new and existing customers alike. Festivals are a great time to open new accounts; you'll most likely be marked down as a casual punter (i.e profitable for the bookie) if you bet plenty at Cheltenham, then give your account a short break afterwards.

4. Measure Your Success Over Several Festivals, Not Just One.

While the above tactics can increase your chances of winning, the fact remains that much of your success (or failure) over a single festival will come down to luck. It's therefore better to judge your performance over a series of festivals, providing a higher volume of bets and lowering the amount of luck required for you to profit. My preferred approach is to use a dedicated "festival bets" spreadsheet, and track the performance of all my festival bets over the full year.

You can see the performance of my festival bets for 2019 Here.

At the end of the day, I'm more investor than a gambler. As an investor, I want to reduce the importance of luck, and increase the importance of skill as much as possible. If you'd like to increase your take-home profit from racing festivals, this is the approach I recommend.

Despite these careful measures, I still get a great deal of enjoyment from festival betting, and I'm confident you will too. With the atmosphere and "buzz" that surrounds festivals like Cheltenham, it's easy to get carried away, to go-all-in and hope for a big win. And while that's undoubtedly exciting, it's also a way to lose your bankroll very quickly.

A more measured approach, in my opinion at least, is a way for you to have your cake, and quite possibly eat it too!

  • I have been an avid Horse Racing enthusiast from a young age, and now have over 12 years experience in the industry. After leaving a dead end job to work as a full time Horse Racing Investor, I founded Lucrative Racing in 2011. The company focuses on teaching people how to create a supplemental income from betting investment, providing greater financial freedom in a time of economic uncertainty.
    Name Michael - Director, Lucrative Racing