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The Best (And Worst) Racecourses
for Betting on the Favourite
There are many factors that go into drawing up a shortlist of selections as far as horse racing betting is concerned, and all punters have their own idea on which is the most important – is it form, going, the record of a jockey/trainer, previous performances at this level…or something else?

Only occasionally will the racecourse itself get a look in, and yet maybe this should be more of a factor when you consider how the nature of a track can impact upon how the horses perform – especially the favourite.
Goodwood Racecourse
'Goodwood Racecourse' by Janine Forbes (CC BY-SA 3.0)
There are courses where a front-running favourite may be aided by an easy run-in or, conversely, the opposite may be true. Tight, undulating tracks with lots of sharp bends also tend to see the cream, i.e. the favourite, rise to the top. You can check out the latest horse racing results for evidence of that.

So here’s a quick guide to the racecourses that have been typically kind to those who are backing the favourite…and other tracks where swerving the market leader might just be a wise decision.

The Best Racecourses to Back the Favourite

Using information from FlatStats, we've analysed racecourses across the country, with information on a range of competitions and races. 

Over a ten-year period from September 2010 to 2020, it was Folkestone that had the highest win percentage for favourites, but sadly the course is no longer in use there. Instead, that honour now belongs to the turf track at Lingfield, where 36.4% of market leaders have prevailed. But interestingly, a blind £1 SP wager on all favourites at the course would have yielded a net loss of £56.99.

As far as the most profitable racecourse for backing favourites is concerned, the stats suggest that Goodwood is the ideal venue. A win ratio of 32.6% is backed by a healthy profit of £31.48 if you had backed all of the market fancies in the study period.

There are a couple of reasons for that perhaps. Clearly, Goodwood hosts a number of high-profile meetings every year, at which the favourites will be proven, quality performers – not ‘weak’ favourites we might see at lower-profile courses. And the actual characteristics of Goodwood allow the best to prosper, with a five-furlong run-in that is essentially all downhill, allowing the quickest horses to hit the front even if they are trailing behind at the final turn.

The Worst Racecourses to Back the Favourite

In the FlatStats data, arguably the worst racecourse to back the favourite at is Wetherby, where the win ratio sits at just 27% for an ROI on bets of -20%.
Eglinton Stand Ayr Racecourse
'Ayr Racecourse' by William Craig (CC BY-SA 3.0)
However, that is a small sample with few races hosted there, and so of the more prolific venues the honour of worst track to back the favourite at goes to Ayr.

In 1200 surveyed races, the favourite prevailed on 334 occasions – a success rate of just 27.8%.

So why is Ayr such a graveyard for favourites? Again, it has a downhill finish which should favour quicker horses, but the run-in can be fairly lung-bursting and on a wide track like this there is ample ground to be overtaken. Ayr is also particularly prone to heavy ground, which can shift the balance in favour of the battling outsider.

As ever, this is not exact science, so before placing any bets on – or laying – the favourite, be sure to do your research!

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