The term novice is used in horse racing quite a lot. You need to know the novice meaning in this sport to take advantage of betting opportunities. Once you are clear on the novice definition, there are pros and cons to placing wagers on them. Learning about those is also essential, as is finding out what you need to consider before betting on a novice horse race. Knowing how to bet on such events, be they novice stakes on the Flat, novice hurdle, or even a novice chase over fences, can tell you whether or not there is value to be had.
What is a novice horse
This is not quite the same as asking what does novice mean in horse riding, as the sporting term applies to the horse rather than the jockey. A novice horse is one with limited or a lack of winning experience within a certain sphere of racing. Racehorses can hold different statuses depending on the code and type of competition. For instance, it is possible to be a novice on the Flat, a maiden over hurdles, and the winner of several steeplechases.
Once a horse with novice status wins a race, then their days of competing in such events are numbered. They can only be novices for so long after tasting victory in a novices’ event. In National Hunt horse racing, this is traditionally for the rest of the current season. On the Flat, it is even more restricted with horses only considered novices if they have won one race (a maiden) or sometimes two, or not run more than twice. Novice horse race status is retained by horses so long as they don’t win a race of their competing type.
In the following shortlist you can find the top bookmakers for novice race betting. We picked them by investigating the payouts, the variety of horse races at hand and if they have promotional offers for horse racing.
The most famous novice horse race events
Novice racing events are commonplace under both codes of horse racing, but there are several famous examples over jumps. Each of the 20 races listed below holds Grade 1 status and are open only to racehorses maintaining novice status within the same season (or calendar year):
|Henry VIII Novices’ Chase||Sandown Park||Early December|
|Kauto Star Novices’ Chase||Kempton Park||Boxing Day|
|Finale Juvenile Hurdle for 3-year-olds||Chepstow||December 27th|
|Challow Novices’ Hurdle||Newbury||Late December / Early January|
|Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle||Sandown Park||Early January|
|Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase||Sandown Park||Early February|
|Supreme Novices’ Hurdle||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|RSA Novices’ Chase||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Marsh Novices’ Chase||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Triumph Hurdle||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle||Cheltenham (Festival)||March|
|Manifesto Novices’ Chase||Aintree||April|
|Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle||Aintree||April|
|Top Novices’ Hurdle||Aintree||April|
|Mildmay Novices’ Chase||Aintree||April|
|Sefton Novices’ Hurdle||Aintree||April|
|Mersey Novices’ Hurdle||Aintree||April|
|Maghull Novices’ Chase||Aintree||April|
What are the upsides to betting on novice racing
Among the benefits of betting on a novice horse race is the nature of the markets. It is difficult for bookmakers to assess racehorses with little or no experience relative to ones that have more. You may end up getting better odds for a horse you fancy as a result. High prices mean healthy returns on your wagers. When there is a past form to go on, you may be able to estimate a racehorse’s ability based on how it has performed in another sphere and find a value bet.
For example, horses that run in National Hunt Flat races, colloquially called bumpers, before going into a novice hurdle, may appreciate longer distances even though there are obstacles to be jumped. The time to bet on those types is when they are stepped up in trip. Competitive novice races are also reflected in the betting, so you can get good prices on feature races like the above Grade 1s by looking at ante post markets.
Are there any drawbacks when betting on a novice horse race
The downside of betting on a novice horse race is you don’t know whether ability transfers from one code of the sport to another. A racehorse may be a very slick hurdler but have no aptitude for fences. When there is only its hurdles form to go on, and the horse has won many races over them, it will be made favorite by the bookies for its steeplechase debut. There are no guarantees with betting on a novice chase where your horse has no experience of fences.
While false favorites can lurk at every turn, a higher proportion of market leaders do win novice chases than other events. That means it can be difficult for you to find a value bet. There can be quite a few unknowns with novice races too. When you assess a horse on who trains it, rides it and owns it, and its breeding alone, then that is far riskier for both bookmakers and bettors alike.
How do I bet on a novice horse race effectively
Looking at a fancied horse with novice status for its next race in the ante post market can be an effective way of getting a value bet on. You are gambling on it winning the novices’ event it is running in first, and bookies then cutting the odds for a bigger target thereafter here, though. When it comes to a novice chase, a higher proportion of favorites have been statistically found to win, so a practical approach to betting here may be to side with the market leader.
Comparing unraced novices with ones that have experience
What lies at the heart of betting on novice racing is making the right judgment of balancing an unraced horse’s potential versus rivals with greater experience. Without any form to go on, an untried racehorse could be anything. You cannot be sure about its pedigree and connections alone. On the other hand, those horses with greater experience can be overexposed at the distance and therefore regarded as vulnerable to younger, improving types.
That can be a real headache judging one sort of horse against another. Things are further complicated still by the bookies who may put specific horses as prominent in the market on their potential. Again, it may be all they have to go on. Sometimes, bookmakers have to gamble themselves on unexposed horses taking a step forward. Betting here cannot be advised in any serious way, so consider only placing small stakes and avoid getting heavily involved.
How should I approach betting on a novice hurdle
Novices’ hurdle races bring horses together from the bumper scene, Point-to-Point field, and converts from the Flat turf and all-weather racing. For those with bumper and Point form, hurdles can often be their next port of call before they tackle steeplechasing. As most Points are run over three miles, betting on such horses dropping back into a novices’ hurdle over two miles makes little sense. Flat turf and all-weather converts, meanwhile, tend to have speedier pedigrees. Depending on what the ground is like underfoot, these types are better suited for shorter distance races.
How the type of novice race influences which horse I should bet on
Depending on the kind of novice horse race, how you bet needs a different approach. There are far too many unknowns on the Flat with novices because their experience is so limited. With novice hurdles and chases, however, there should be more to go on. Looking back over past performances can give you some idea. The novices that you bet on must jump the obstacles and fences fluently to stand any chance of winning.
How does the novice chase system work
There is an effective novice chase system that is statistically proven to be rewarding from a betting perspective on these races over fences. The horse with the best hurdles form, and the highest rating, more often than not wins such a race first time out in a steeplechase. However, the bookies are aware of this trend too, and the odds they offer reflect that.
Before you use this novice chase system in every race, however, just remember it does not guarantee that you will be on the winner every time. Some racehorses do better over fences than hurdles, and past form can be reversed. Being aware of this helps to manage your expectations. It allows you to look at scope types that may be better suited by jumping in steeplechases than brushing through the top of hurdles.
Book Spy: Is there value in betting on a novice horse race
Although there is value to be had on novice betting, you are better served by having one eye on the future. A highly regarded horse with ability in another kind of horse racing will be made favorite by the bookmakers. Although a higher proportion of these types win novice chases, for example, their price may be too short for the risks involved with jumping steeplechase fences.
Betting on Flat stakes novice horse race comes with too many unknowns. While that again makes value possible to find, it is far more challenging to come by because the entire field of horses possesses so little experience of racing. Getting your bets on ante post for major novices’ hurdles and chase races at a price that makes each-way betting viable is the kind of value wager you are looking for in a novice race.