What is a nap?

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When an acclaimed horse racing betting tipster reports that they have found a NAP selection, then it pays to listen.
That’s because a NAP, essentially, is their best bet of the day: that one horse that the pundit will be backing over any other.
So if you follow any horse racing tipster and they reveal the identity of their NAP, then it is well worth jumping on board and putting your money where their mouth is!

Want to know more? See our beginners guide to horse race betting here

Of course, not all NAP selections win – this is the unpredictable world of horse racing betting after all, but the idea behind them is that the horse has been well researched and scouted, is in good form, running on the kind of surface it likes and is (usually) running as part of a small field. That is the idea behind a NAP selection, if not an exhaustive list of all the criteria to look out for. Its worth getting the best odds on you NAP too – Check out our guide to the best horse race betting sites here!

To similar terms to NAP that are worth looking out for are NB and IWAC. NB stands for ‘Next Best’, and this is when a tipster believes that there is perhaps more than one horse that is worth punters’ attention.
IWAC, meanwhile, stands for ‘In With A Chance’, and this generally relates to those longer-priced horses that a pundit likes the look of but is perhaps not of the same class as those at the head of the market. A small stake is usually recommended on IWAC picks.

How to Find a NAP Selection

Find a winning nap - horse racingIf we could all pick out NAP selections that won each and every time, many more of us would be giving up the rat race and retiring to the Maldives! But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that: horse racing betting can be an unpredictable affair.
But what we can do is maximise our chances of picking out a winning bet – our very own NAP selections – by following some very simple rules.

Some good horse racing NAPs from tipsters can be found in the following places

http://www.bet-share.co.uk/twitter-naps/ – The best social site for tips, updated daily with the top tipsters on twitter competing for the top prizes.

1. Keep the Field Small

The more horses that your selection is running against, the less chance it has of winning. That’s a fairly basic assumption based on probability, but one that rings true. This is particularly the case in National Hunt racing, where ‘interference’ between two or more horses when jumping fence is usually the most common cause of a NAP selection losing.
Just think of the maths: if your selection is in a field of five horses then it has a 20% chance of winning even before we consider form, class, the surface etc. If our selection is in a field of ten horses then our chances of winning decrease to 10%, and so on.
By using this as our first yardstick, we can usually eliminate a number of races from a meeting before picking our NAP.

2. Quality Not Quantity

Understanding the quality of the field is important too. On a basic level, it is nigh on impossible to find a NAP selection in, say, the Gold Cup because most if not all the horses on display will be quality operators. Instead, it pays to seek out less prestigious races or those at the lower grade to find nailed-on selections.
So the Grade 2 races and lower tend to offer fewer potential winners within a field; often, a selection (typically the bookmakers’ favourite) will stand out like a sore thumb here, as they do in novice chases and hurdles. It is removing the ‘fear of the unknown’ that is the most effective way to find a NAP.

The stable for Frankle has some NAP winners3. Stable Relationship

This is where a bit of research and groundwork comes in handy, but understanding which of the particular yards are producing winners at any given time is crucial. We all know about the big hitters such as Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins, but if we’re going to be looking for NAP’s in the smaller meetings then we need to get an insight into which trainers are doing the business at any given time.
The very best stables don’t simply create winners: they place them in the races in which they stand a good chance of winning!

4. Do Your Homework

To find a NAP we must then consider perhaps the four most important factors when trying to pick out a winner: form, class of opponent, ground suitability and jockey on board.
Form is obviously crucial: a horse with a habit of winning is one to keep an eye on. But look into those victories: were they on the same type of ground and over a similar distance? What was the quality of the field like? Often, a horse that hasn’t been winning will step down in class; and then will find their natural home.

Ground suitability is crucial in horse racing: only a small number of horses can run well regardless of the conditions. Find out if your selection prefers nice soft ground or the going to be a bit firmer, and then consult the weather forecasts for predictions as to the prevailing surface type.

And finally make a note of the jockey that is squiring your selection. Are they a proven winner? The layman would argue that surely it is the horse’s ability alone that determines how successful they are, but there’s no secret that a good jockey can cajole winning performances out of even the most ordinary of sprinters. There’s a reason why Tony McCoy was Champion Jockey for two decades, after all.