What is a nap?

In horse racing parlance, the term ‘nap’ is used to indicate the selection in which a tipster has most confidence or, in other words, his or her best bet at any given meeting, or any given day. However, as American writer Mark Twain wrote in his novel ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’, published in 1894, ‘It is the difference of opinion that makes horse races.’

Of course, when it comes to tipping winners, there is no ‘magic bullet’. In the absence of so-called ‘inside’ information, which, by definition, will never become public knowledge, tipsters must rely on diligent study of the form book. A quick look at the ‘Racing Post Naps Table’, in which, at the time of writing, well over half of the tipsters listed are operating at a level stakes loss, in some cases significantly so, reveals that some are significantly more conscientious, or just plain lucky, than others.

In providing a ‘nap’ selection, a tipster is merely voicing an opinion and, regardless of the tipster, whether or not that opinion is valid always remains to be seen. Tipsters live or die by their profitability, so if things are not going well the temptation may be to ‘nap’ selections that are increasing obvious and short-priced, which, while theoretically more likely to win, represent poor value from a punting perspective.

‘Nap’ is the shortened form of ‘Napoleon’ and is taken from the nineteenth-century French card game of the same name. In that game players bid on the number of tricks they believe they can win, up to a maximum of five, which is. known as ‘Napoleon’, or ‘Nap’ for short.