All-Weather Horse Racing Betting: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide

Updated: 8918 Learning

Discover the essentials of betting on all-weather horse racing. This guide covers UK courses, track surfaces, biases, and race classes. Your journey to betting proficiency starts here.

All-Weather Horse Racing Betting: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

Break out of the stalls into the world of all-weather horse racing betting. This comprehensive guide is your starting gate to understanding the nuances of all weather tracks, from deciphering different surfaces and track biases to navigating race classes. Whether you're a novice looking to place your first bet or simply polishing your strategy, the insights offered here will boost your all weather betting acumen.

Master the Track: Betting on All-Weather Horse Races Made Easy 🏇📘

Get ready to conquer the tracks! 🐎💨 Dive into our beginner's guide on all-weather horse racing betting in the UK. Learn tracks, surfaces, and more! 🏇💡

The Different All Weather Courses

All weather racing makes up a decent proportion of the flat racing on offer these days so it makes sense to know as much as possible about all weather racing.

 All weather racing takes place on an artificial surface and it is sometimes referred to as racing on sand because of the nature of the surface.

There are currently seven All Weather tracks in the UK and Ireland. 

All weather racing takes place all year round but is more commonly associated with the winter, it is the only form of flat racing to take place in the winter months whilst the jumps season is in full flow.

Please click any of the course links above for a more detailed individual course guide which includes:

  • Course Statistics
  • Daily Tips
  • Draw Bias
  • Favourite Statistics
  • Jockey and Trainer Records
  • Racecourse Map
  • Ticket Information
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All Weather Courses

The seven courses have a mixture of surfaces and this can mean that how a horse runs on one course compared to another can vary. 

Tapeta: Newcastle, Southwell, Wolverhampton.

Polytrack: Chelmsford City, Dundalk, Kempton, Lingfield.

These tracks may be all weather but that doesn’t mean the weather doesn’t affect them. On very hot or very cold days the surface can be affected and can start to favour front runners or hold up horses, depending on the conditions. 

Other factors such as how many times the course has been ploughed can impact this and if plenty of front runners are winning on a particular day or if the hold up performers seem advantaged it can pay to start backing the most likely winners from the favoured run styles.

Course Surface Shape Direction Speed Configuration
Chelmsford City Polytrack Oval Left Galloping Flat
Dundalk Polytrack Oval Left Fair Flat
Kempton Polytrack Oval Right Tight Flat
Lingfield Polytrack Triangle Left Galloping Undulating
Newcastle Tapeta Oval Left Galloping Flat
Southwell Tapeta Oval Left Stiff Flat
Wolverhampton Tapeta Oval Left Tight Flat
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Some of the best value in all weather races can be gained in comparing horses’ records between the tracks and backing them to either improve or decline when switching all weather course. 

Forgiving a poor run first run at Lingfield when a horse is returning to Wolverhampton where he has run well before or backing a horse returning to Lingfield (where he has done all his winning) after a solid third at Kempton can be good strategies.

This is because the bookmakers sometimes lump All Weather tracks together, thinking a horse can go well on any artificial surface from any draw. 

In  some cases this crossover of performance is possible, for example in 2023 forty five horses won on both Polytrack and Tapeta, but it is always bets to be cautious when automatically thinking form will transfer between tracks and different surfaces. 

But overall trainers get a feel for which course suits their animal and tend to favour that specific track, subsequently you see a fair share of gambles on the all weather tracks. 

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The effect of the All Weather draw

In 2024 we looked at the draw and the advantage and disadvantage it can have

The data below shows four years of races that were run on the All Weather between 5 Furlongs and a Mile. 

As expected a horse can win from any draw but the data shows there are advantages to being drawn in particular stalls. 

Horses drawn lower at most tracks gives an advantage. 

The stall 1 bias at Chelmsford needs to be followed to see if that percentage continues. 

Being drawn high at Kempton and Wolverhampton over distances from 5 furlongs to a mile is a distinct disadvantage.

The straight track at Newcastle seems the fairest for the draw, which is maybe to be expected. 

When adding your horse racing tips in the horse racing tipping competition the draw should always be part of your form study. 

Chelmsford City Kempton Lingfield Newcastle Southwell Wolverhampton
Winning Stall 2020-23 2020-23 2020-2023 2020-23 2022-2023 2020-2023
1 15.68% 11.81% 10.37% 8.88% 9.09% 11.40%
2 12.88% 13.03% 11.85% 9.87% 13.19% 12.64%
3 12.97% 11.27% 11.82% 12.84% 9.66% 12.27%
4 12.74% 12.23% 13.64% 10.30% 10.39% 13.76%
5 8.96% 9.68% 12.41% 10.71% 10.10% 11.22%
6 11.66% 11.02% 13.66% 10.31% 11.55% 11.48%
7 12.16% 9.32% 10.98% 11.13% 10.29% 10.22%
8 8.49% 9.64% 10.67% 10.99% 9.21% 9.19%
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N.B: Southwell only has two years of data after they changed surface in 2021. 

The all-weather tracks all have slightly different layouts which you can see via the course maps. 

Comprehensive draw data is available on the individual course tipping pages. 


Other Considerations when betting on the All Weather

Class of Race

Most all-weather races tend to be class 4 or below, and it is not uncommon for some horses to run up streaks on the all-weather. Always pay attention to the race class, though, as many horses’ streaks will end when they step up in class, and they are higher in the weights and facing better horses. Getting beat two lengths in a class 2 handicap on all-weather is often better form than winning a class 4 handicap, and the horse that got beat won’t have gone up in the handicap either.

Tip: Check the class of race and official ratings. 

Breeding

Sometimes, you may fancy a horse to run well on the all weather based on its turf form, but you aren’t sure if the horse will translate that form. You can always check the sire’s record of producing all-weather winners compared to turf winners. Although it’s no guarantee, it can be a significant pointer to a horse’s impending performance.

Tip: Check how well the sire has performed.  

Jockey & Trainer

Look to the trainers who specialise at specific All Weather tracks. With three courses in the south, two in the Midlands and one in the north, trainers, wherever they are based, do not have too far to travel to an All Weather course; if they choose not to go to their nearest course, that can be a clue in itself. 

Tip: Check long-distance travellers and trainer stats.

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Major races on the All Weather Tracks

At the time of writing the highest grade of race on the all weather tracks is Group 3. 

Group 3 Races Course Month
Winter Derby Lingfield February
Chartwells Fillies Stakes Lingfield May
Chipchase Stakes Newcastle June/July
Hoppings Fillies Stakes Newcastle June/July
Sirenia Stakes Kempton September
September Stakes Kempton September
Mercury Stakes Dundalk October
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These better grade of a/w races tend to attract the most interest and also the most bookie promotions and free bets

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What is the All Weather Championship?

The All Weather Championship was designed to improve the quality and reputation of all weather racing and tries to encourage trainers to run their horses in the winter months. 

The Good Friday Championship meeting is divided up into six race categories. 

The horses are separated by distance, sex and age.

  • 3 Year-olds
  • Fillies and Mares
  • Sprint
  • Marathon
  • Mile
  • Middle Distance


How do horses qualify?

Competition for All-Weather Finals Day begins in October, places are awarded in the final fields based on the Official Rating held by those eligible to run.

To be eligible, a horse must have run at least three times on the all-weather in the UK, Ireland or France between October 22nd and the 6-day entry stage for Finals Day.

Of those horses with enough starts, the horses with the highest BHA Rating will win a place in the race. 

There will also be a number of Fast-Track Qualifiers,  for a horse to qualify they need to win one of the designated races held throughout the season in each category.

Newcastle racecourse will host Finals Day on the 29th April 2024. 


FAQ

  • What is all-weather racing?

    This is horse racing that takes place on a synthetic surface, as opposed to turf racing. 

  • What are the advantages of all weather racing?

    All weather racing allows race meetings to be held during poor weather conditions when grass racing becomes unsuitable. 

  • What are the all weather surfaces made of

    There are generally three types of material Fibresand, Polytrack and Tapeta. These surfaces laid at the tracks are a mixture of sand, rubber, various fibres, and wax. 

  • Should i focus just on all weather racing?

    Many do because the surfaces are more consistent than grass, therefore punters regard the form on the individual tracks of as more reliable. 

    However the quality of the animals is not as good with many lower rated horses only competing on the all weather, these poorer animals can be less reliable in holding their form. 

    You have to weigh up all the pros and cons. 

  • Do all horses perform on the all weather?

    No they do not, an unraced horse on the all weather should be treated with caution as it may not replicate its grass form. 

  • How should i approach betting on the all weather?

    As you do with grass racing, consider all the parameters you use when assessing a horse; however, on the all-weather tracks, add in the liking/disliking of the surface by looking at previous runs on the surface.  

Author

Many OLBG Betting Experts have a combined interest in horse racing, including the author of this All Weather betting guide, Andy Powell. He is responsible for managing the horse racing blogs on OLBG and has created thousands of the race articles you read in the horse racing section. His fellow expert, Nigel Skinner, updated and formatted this blog.

Andy Powell

Andy Powell

Content editor

Andy has contributed to OLBG since 2005 and has been covering racing trends for several years looking to find betting angles in the big races both in the UK and abroad, He has an interest in numerous sports for which he manages many of our event previews, particularly horse racing, providing trends and stats looking for betting strategies.

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🏇 Andy was part of an independent team of horse racing punters including Steve Madgwick, who developed a bespoke horse racing rating system in the early 2000s. Andy has meticulously continued to rate every runner and collect results from every race every day since. When it comes to horse racing and numbers Andy is our man. 

⚽ He remains a staunch Ipswich Town football fan and never misses a game, gaining a deep knowledge of the English Football League. 

🏎️🏁 Outside of horse racing and football, Andy also enjoys spending his weekends following Formula 1. His dedication is such that he doesn't mind setting alarms for odd hours to catch both qualifying sessions and the races. 

🏈 🏒 Parallel to these interests, Andy also possesses a keen interest in American sports with a particular affinity for the NFL and the NHL. He follows the Pittsburgh Penguins, emphasizing his broad palette for diversified sporting events.

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