Traditionally, Tote wagering has dominated the sport of horse racing. Under this system, all the wagers on a given race are pooled together before being distributed to the winning bettors. One of the main characteristics of this system is that the final odds are not known until post time. Due to this fact, it is in the interests of bettors to delay making a bet until the final seconds before the gate opens. This gives bettors a better idea of the final odds they will get on a horse, allowing them to better predict the value of their selection.
However, there is another type of horse race betting, known as ante-post betting, that has become very popular in England. Unlike parimutuel betting, which encourages last-second betting, ante-post betting is designed to allow bettors to place their bets well in advance of the actual race. Depending on the actual conditions of the race, a bettor can place a bet weeks or even months before the actual race.
Intuitively, making a bet so far in advance may seem like a very risky strategy, which it is. A lot of things can happen that can ruin your bet before the race even takes place. If the horse gets injured and has to be scratched from the race, you will not get your money back. As well, a horse may begin to decline in form after a bet is made such that your bet becomes a lot less valuable once the date of the race arrives.
Given these disadvantages, it may not seem like a great idea to partake in ante-post betting. However, there is one strong incentive to make ante-post bets: better odds. Just like in finance, higher degrees of risk are associated with greater expected returns. By making a bet far in advance of the actual race, thereby assuming a lot of risk with respect to time, a bettor gets the chance to make a huge score.
When making ante-post bets in a horse race, there are generally more factors to consider than in a normal parimutuel betting wager. Form cycles become very important since you want to select horses that will reach their peaks at the right time. In addition, breeding and pedigree become far more important, especially involving races with two-year old horses.
Of course, there are some things, like the conditions the day of the race, that can not be controlled. However, by taking into account everything that can be studied, ante-post betting can be an interesting horse betting strategy for long-term bettors.