Betting on a horse can be both fun and frustrating at the same time, with the margins between profit and loss sometimes no more than a neck, but there are things to look out for prior to placing a bet that can help beat the bookies.

Many punters head to the races with little or no idea about what they are about to gamble on but, if you are serious about trying to turn a profit, it is essential to get yourself up to speed by reading the racing press.

Both online and in print form, there are experts galore who will all proffer their opinions as to which horse might win or be placed in a race, and while they do not always get it right, it narrows down your options.

While betting at the track might be stressful especially to racing newcomers, with bookies waving their arms about in all directions and fans jostling to get the front of the queue, there are no such problems with online betting.

For those who might need a little guidance on which bookmaker to choose and which horse to go with however,’s free racing tips are a good place to start.

Horses that have been successful at a particular track are worth siding with, especially if they have won over both course and distance, but it is also prudent to make sure your selection is comfortable with the under-hoof conditions.

The going is all-important, especially in the UK as the weather can be so variable and horses that like fast ground will always struggle if there is bit of cut in the turf.

While conditions overhead and on the ground are important, the draw is also a variable that needs careful consideration, especially in the cavalry charges seen at the height of the Flat season.

Even in the short, five furlong contests, there is often a track bias and, again, this is something that needs researching before parting with any hard-earned cash.

Taking note of where a specific trainer takes his horses can be of benefit before placing a bet as handlers tend to stick to the same venues, and if one opts to take a horse to the other end of the country for a certain race then it is obvious he/she means business and expects to win.

The form of a horse is obviously vital as it would not be wise to back one that had finished last in its previous three starts or been pulled up over the jumps all season.

But the way that an animal ran last time out, regardless of whether it won, should be taken into consideration.

Information on whether a horse finishing second or third ‘stayed’ well or finished fast is readily available and could be a pointer to a possible profit.

If it is entered into an easier race next up then there is every chance that it might do the business and go on to land the spoils.

The type of race to bet on is also important, with maidens notoriously difficult to predict as the horses have never won before – they should certainly be avoided for the novice punter.

There will always be punters who use the ‘pinstickers’ method or select a horse based on its catchy name, but stick to the suggestions above to give yourself the best possible chance of going home with bulging pockets.