The Ultimate Guide to Horse Racing Handicapping 2021

A handicapped race is designed to have every horse finish as close to each other as possible to achieve competitive horse racing. The horses that participate in handicap races run with different weights attached to them. This method offers each horse an equal chance of winning the race.

Handicapping a horse can happen in a variety of ways. Looking at the various factors and methods can help you build your  handicapping skills . As a result, you’ll be able to use your knowledge to find the best betting deal when wagering on this type of horse racing.

How It Works

A handicap race is a competition in which each horse is given a fixed weight to carry to keep the game as fair as possible. It is typically held over jumps and flats. Handicapping is based on the total weight the horses carry, which directly impacts overall running speed and stamina.

A winning horse will have to carry a heavier weight if the handicapper believes they have a greater ability to dominate races. On the other hand, horses with less capacity will carry significantly less weight, giving them an advantage against stronger competitors.

The handicapper’s primary objective in assigning handicap weights is to balance the horses’ skills and make them finish in a straight line. For racegoers, selecting a winner of a handicap race depends on successfully selecting a better horse than the one chosen by the handicapper.

Best Way to Handicap Horse Races

While we’re on the subject, let’s look at some of the most effective methods of handicapping horse races. Of course, this is a high-level overview of the important factors you must consider when placing your wagers. You can also take a look online and learn on  how to bet the breeders cup  or the standard horse races.


In horse racing, whether handicapped or not, form is everything. When a horse is in good form and winning races, it performs at its peak and is most likely at the height of its season. So, the most basic approach is to simply look at the field of runners and determine which of them shows a winning form.

The horse’s form can provide insight into its character. You can tell a horse is in good form by looking at its results, such as if it has won twice and placed once during its last three races, especially if it’s a handicapped race. Whatever form a horse has shown in the past, if its winning form isn’t showing for it now, it might mean that horse isn’t a good bet.

Weight/Official Rating

This is the official score and is a significant factor used to determine how well a horse will perform in a handicap. A horse with the potential to win will simply be saddled with more weight for its next race.

The official rating is determined by handicappers who examine the horse’s previous results to determine its current form. The official rating will appear on the race card as a number next to the horse’s weight. The greater the official rating, the more likely the horse is to win if no weights are used.

Race Condition

Is the horse comfortable with the current surface and distance of the race? Even in good form, ability, and class, horses who can’t adapt to certain racing conditions usually end up defeated when entering races unsuitable for them. Some horses transition easily from sprints to routes or from dirt to turf, but others do not. This also goes for horses who join handicapped races.

Taking a broad view, we can say that a better-class horse is more easily able to carry heavy loads than a lower-quality galloper. Moreover, this ability will be determined by the horse’s current racing condition, the distance of the race, and the track’s condition (good, slow, heavy).

On a firm track, a horse may be able to carry 60 kg over 1200m. However, for tracks over 1400m, it may only be able to carry 57 kg to win. Furthermore, if the track is hampered by rain, the horse’s weight-carrying ability is negatively affected even more.

Trainer and Jockey

Many racing fans make the mistake of betting on a specific jockey. Jockeys can have markedly different winning percentages. Moreover, most famous jockeys do get the best mounts. Still, a jockey’s ability to make a horse run faster than its natural ability is limited.

 A jockey  can ruin a horse’s chances of winning by giving the horse a bad ride. However, some jockeys know how and when to ride a specific horse better than others. You could see which jockeys usually ride the horse well by looking at the horse’s past performance matrix.

Meanwhile, trainers who have the most successful horses will actively seek out the most successful jockeys. Whenever a trainer is serious about his horse’s chances, he will frequently use one of his favorite riders. In addition to that, most trainers prefer jockeys who weigh as close to their horses’ assigned weight as possible. This is because they believe carried weight tends to slow a horse more than bodyweight.

To Conclude

When it comes to handicapping, it is necessary to analyze the data of a horse’s past performances. Past performances provide a comprehensive picture of the horse’s career. Once you have learned how to read past performances, you will be able to predict the chances of any given horse in a race much more accurately.

The ability to handicap a horse can tell you whether or not it is fast enough to outrun its competitors, racing in a race that is appropriate for its skill level, and if the horse is under a serious medical issue.

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