Horse Racing has traditionally been based around win and each-way bets but the introduction and evolution of Betfair has seen a whole host of new markets emerge. I’ve found plenty of success in looking at alternative markets to make even the most sided race a competitive affair.

Betfair, in my opinion, offers the best value when it comes to Horse Racing and I would suggest you always make them your first port of call. While the following markets are not strictly Handicap markets, you can use them to structure bets to your advantage in the manner of a handicap bet.

Without Favourite

I use the without favourite market when I am keen on one of the outsiders in the race and want some insurance in case the favourite wins and my selection finishes second.

The 3:30PM at Chepstow (pictured below) is a great example. Here I am keen on 3. Miss Marina Bay but I am also cautious of the favourite Rosamaria who is trading at odds on prices.Untitled

Instead, I check the “Without Favourite Rosemaria” market to see what price my selection. The below market shows that I can back 3. Miss Marina Bay to win the race at odds of 3.25 – which is of course lower than the standard market, but I don’t have to worry if the favourite beats my horse.


The bet would win if 3. Miss Marina Bay wins the race, or comes second to the hot favourite Rosamaria, therefore increasing the chances of success.

Betting each-way could be another alternative, but as there are only five runners it would only be first two places and it would be 1/4 of the odds of 7.2.

On occasions I split my stake 30/70 between the winner market and the without favourite when backing one of the outsiders in a race.

A v B Market

The AvB market can also be found on Bet365 as well as Betfair and it throws up some nice opportunities if you are looking for a head-to-head between two horses in a big race. 

The bookmaker selects two horses from the race and puts them together in a head-to-head. Your selection has to then finish ahead of the other horse in the A v B market. It doesn’t matter if your horse wins the race or not, it just has to finish ahead of its rival. 

I often look to see what match-ups are available in the A v B market, especially in the races where it’s a big field. The two horses selected are usually evenly matched so it can be difficult to side with one or the other but I would recommend to find a horse that has a bad draw against a horse that has a good draw – all of these small details will give your selection an advantage in beating its rival.

Winning Distance

Occasionally, I will look towards the winning distance market if I cannot find any value in the other markets. This market offers prices on the winning distance of the horse in 1st to the horse in 2nd

There are two schools of thought on this market. Firstly, you can approach it with the mind sight that the race you’re looking at will be won comfortably and look at larger winning distances. However, I prefer to find a real competitive race and look for a short winning distance i.e. Under 1 length.

For this, I look mainly at Handicap races on the flat as the horses as weighted accordingly to their form, so, in an ideal world, the races will be ultra-competitive and have relatively short winning distance. 

Then I try to find two or three horses that I really cannot split in the race, in the hope they will be battling out the finish in a blanket finish and then back the “under 1 length” in the Winning Distance market.

I prefer to use a combination of Bet365 and Betfair for this market as, depending on the race in question, different bookmakers will select different races for this market.