In terms of racing parlance, we are all guilty of being rather obsessed with ‘favourites’. From the casual punter in the betting shop, to top-level trainers being interviewed on television, we talk about a horse being favourite for a certain race.
There is some justification for that. Roughly a third of all races in Britain are won by the market leader. The market is essentially right almost all of the time, believe it or not.
True, two third of favourites don’t win, but that is largely because we’re dealing with animals and not predictable machines. The factors that made a horse favourite before a race are generally spot on.
Though winners (and profit) remain hard for casual punters to come by, around half of all races are won by the first two in the market and that is why favourites, second-favourites and so on remain vital.
The Difference Between Favourites, Joint-Favourites and Co-Favourites
This is what is behind the various ‘favourites’ titles in horse racing:
- Favourite: the market leader, the horse with the shortest odds in the race.
- Second-Favourite: second in the odds to the market leader.
- Joint-Favourites: two horses of the same odds at the head of the market.
- Co-Favourite: three or more horses listed with the same odds at the head of the market are co-favourites.
As the betting changes in the build-up to a race, horses may be joint-favourites. As one moves to a shorter price than the other, you’ll hear phrases such as “this one is clear favourite now”. This doesn’t mean it is miles clear in the betting, simply that it is now a standalone favourite.
Co-favourites are rare and often materialise in very competitive, often larger-field races. There is no limit to how many co-favourites there may be.
This is what to look out for when checking on a result, to see if a horse was a favourite, joint-favourite, co-favourite or second-favourite.
F or FAV: favourite.
2F, 2FAV, J2F: 2nd favourite, or joint second-favourite.
CF, CFAV: co-favourite.
What you’ll need to know when it comes to co-favourites is how many there were.
If three horses at the top of the market were co-favourites, then each horse was the “co-favourite of 3”, noted as CF3. Naturally, each co-favourite of four will be marked as CF4.
This is what it will look like when there are joint-favourites in a horse racing market:
|King Of Steel||5/2JF|
And for co-favourites, they will be marked something like this:
|Blue For You||14/1|
As you can see, co-favourite often come in very busy and close races.