Correct Horse Racing Betting Bankroll Management

Here are some basic tips for building a horse racing bankroll. We will look at the correct percentage of your balance to bet and when to move up in stakes.

If you want to take betting seriously, then protecting your bankroll is fundamental to your success. Many people who have a talent for picking winners will fail, because they do not take the correct approach to building their bankroll.

Bet Sizing

The most common thing that people ask is ‘How much of my roll should I bet on each race?’. This is more complicated than you might think, but still simple enough that anybody can understand it.

Let’s say that your bankroll is £100 and you want to practice sound money management. What would be the right amount to bet on each race? It is impossible to give a figure, without taking into account the odds of the horses you are betting on.

Backing Short-Priced Horses

If you only ever back horses that are priced at odds of 3/1 or under, then starting with bets of £2.50 each would be sensible. Does this entirely negate the chances of you going broke? Not entirely, but if you are a good tipster then you would be very unlucky to go on a losing streak that wiped out your betting balance.

This strategy doesn’t really make sense though. If you like the look of a horse at 3/1, would you turn down the opportunity to bet on it at 5/1? Of course not!

Backing Long-Shot Horses

Now let’s look at it another way. You are somebody who likes to back horses that are priced between 10/1 and 20/1 – long-shots, essentially. Betting £3 a race is now too risky, as you could easily go broke on a downswing. You should make bets of no more than £1 per race now.

Most people just look for value though and that may be found on a horse that is priced at 33/1, 16/1, 4/1, even money, or whatever. So how can you come up with a staking strategy that allows you to bet on both short and long-priced horses?

Projected Returns

You need to think about the projected return, rather than the stake. With a bankroll of just £100, size your bets so that you will win back around £10 on every win – 10% of your bankroll.

This means that you would bet £2.50 on a 3/1 shot, as before. If the horse was priced at even money, you would bet £5. If the horse was priced at 20/1, you would only bet 50p. Each of these bets returns £10 or very close to that amount.

Sometimes, you might pick out a horse that has a huge price – say 66/1. If you think this is great value, then you can still bet 50p on it. Just don’t make a large percentage of your bets on prices that are this big – until you are rolled for it.


With successful tipping, your bankroll will quickly grow. When it reaches £200, it is time to size your bets so that you will win around £20 on each race. When you reach £300, look to win around £30 per race. Use this strategy and you give yourself the best chance of building your bankroll and avoiding going broke!


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