Here are some basic rules when following and backing horses.
1. Establish your bank. Your bank should not exceed an amount you are comfortable with.
2. Decide what percentage of your bank you are willing to bet with on any particular race. Keep with that figure. One to two percent is a reasonable amount. Don't forget to use the bookies free bets to add to your bank, just another tactic to add to your arsenal.
3. In your initial impressions of a given race, try to determine whether the favourite is solid, vulnerable or false. Don't waste time on races where the favourite looks tough to beat. Three to five races is a good number if concentrating on only one meeting, but this number can go up or down based on the total opportunities available.
4. Using whatever handicapping methods you prefer, establish the order of preference for your selections. Decide what odds you will accept to help you with your selections. If you get value, back 2 or more horses in the race to win.
5. Know how the race will be run. If you can't get a clear picture of what's going to happen beforehand, you probably don't have a good idea on which horses to bet on.
6. Plan your day. Eliminate the poor races and determine a strategy with potential win bets, singles, exotic wagers, etc. In other words, have an idea of what you are going to do before you go to the track.
7. Once you're in the middle of the betting, stick to your strategy. Let you and you alone determine your final decisions, not the guy at the bar who heard from his trainer that such-and-such a trainer really likes his horse in the 5th. It's your money and you should win or lose based on your own decisions.
8. Don't press when you lose or increase your wagers when you win. Protect your bankroll and don't be overly aggressive. Remember that tomorrow will bring more opportunities. Winning or losing on one individual day really doesn't mean a thing. The long term is all that matters.
9. Remain flexible enough to change your thinking if evidence calls for it. Perhaps a strong bias has appeared. Maybe your top selection is grossly over bet. Be prepared to move on to your second or third choices if that's where the 'value' is. If your top choice is simply 'over bet' in the win pool and you have no strong secondary options, look for ways to exploit the short-priced horse in the exotics.
10. Have fun. Keep your composure and keep your sense of humour. Both are weapons that can help you overcome adversity and succeed at a game that is difficult, but not impossible to beat.