What is a Nap in Horse Racing?

Horse racing is an historic sport. Ever since people first starting racing thoroughbreds hundreds of years ago, others have enjoyed making a wager on which horse will win. Many of those who have had a bet over the centuries have limited success but some, who really are horse racing experts, have a knack for picking a winner.

Over time, these experts began giving their tips to an appreciated audience. If you’ve ever read a tipster in a newspaper or had a look at our expert racing tips here at you’re sure to have come across the term ‘nap’.

But what is a nap in horse racing? We’ve answered that question and more in the following article.

What is a Nap?

Even the best tipsters don’t always have a rock-solid bet for every race. There are all sorts of reasons from this ranging from the time of the season, the calibre of the horses taking part and the competitiveness of a given race.

Sometimes though, a horse racing expert is convinced they have found the best bet. Historically, racing tipsters in newspapers would indicate their best bet of the day with the word nap.

A nap, therefore, is the strongest fancy that a given horse racing tipster has. Usually, naps apply to one day’s racing but you’ll also find naps for a whole meeting such as the Cheltenham Festival.

Where Does the Term Nap Come From?

The term nap has it’s origins in playing cards, specifically a game called Napoleon. The player in that game who held the strongest hand of cards was said to be holding the ‘Napoleon hand’.

The popularity of Napoleon meant that phrase became used in other contexts including horse racing where it was shortened to the ‘nap hand’. That’s a phrase you will still hear in racing. For example, if a trainer trains the three shortest priced horses in a race you will hear people saying that they hold the nap hand for that race.

Nap hand became shortened to nap in the world of horse racing and was used by tipsters and racing fans to indicate the horse that they believed to have the strongest chance of winning on a given day or at a given meeting.

How Often do Naps Win?

This is the million dollar question.

Betting on horse racing would be very easy if we could all just back the nap of a given tipster but the truth is there is always risk and unpredictability in this sport.

It always pays to do your own research and/or look around at what other people are saying about a race but following a nap is usually a good place to start.

What is an NB?

Tipsters usually have more than one take on a day’s racing. If they have a particularly strong fancy that just misses out on being their nap, they’ll call it their next best bet, or NB for short.

Make sure to keep an eye out for NB when you’re looking through tips as there can be some excellent value to be found here.