If you've ever read a tipster preview of a race meeting or a tipping article on racing, the chances are you have come across the word NAP and here we dive into an explanation of the term.
The NAP is essentially a colloquial term quite specific to the sport of horse racing.
As can be the case with racing in general, passive watchers will find some of the terminology going over their heads. Here we have an explanation of the term NAP as it relates to horse racing and betting.
Racing previews and betting tips are common-place in the modern world, but the NAP pre-dates the world of social media and instant, at your fingertips content that we have become accustomed to.
In the simplest form, a NAP is regarded as the 'best bet' of the day from a tipster - the one they believe has the best chance of success based on all the factors under consideration, e.g. past success, current form, trainer and jockey form, track style, ground conditions, grade of race and opposition. Many factors are used to try and determine the outcome of a race.
When reviewing a tipping piece where, for example, the writer might have previewed a full seven-race meeting, it is often the case that one selection may have the word NAP beside it. This is the one the writer believes has the greatest chance of success.
The term NAP is derived from the word Napoleon, relating to a French card game. Napoleon is a straightforward trick-taking game in which players attempt to win the most tricks from their five-card hand following suits and a bidding process.
When a player believes they have the winning hand in the game, it's called the NAP or the NAP-hand. Racing has adopted the term NAP from there.
The NAP - or the NAP of the Day - is considered the best bet. Another way of considering it would be to suggest that the NAP is the 'headline pick' when a tipster is previewing multiple races. This is the selection that they have the most confidence behind.
The NAP isn't just the preserve of racing tipsters. When a trainer or jockey has many runners/rides at a particular meeting or festival they, too can be asked to provide a NAP selection.
This could refer to a powerhouse trainer like Aidan O'Brien having multiple runners in the same race and attempting to narrow it down to the most likely winner.
Alternatively, leading trainers like Willie Mullins are often challenged before a major meeting like the Cheltenham Festival to provide their NAP of the meeting, e.g. the horse they feel most confident about going into four days of racing where they will have lots of runners.
A NAPs table brings together daily NAP selections from a host of the leading UK and Irish racing press representatives.
They are given one selection per day and their profit or loss to Level Stakes is recorded, forming a league table with the best and worst records. An overall winner is crowned each year.
The NAPs table includes tipsters from all the major daily newspapers and some selected local papers or a regional journalists as well representatives from the Racing Post - the horse racing trade paper.
As with all aspects of betting, there are no certainties. The NAP selection may be the one that has the most level of confidence from the person writing it, but that is no guarantee of success.
By using data provided by the NAPs table, for instance, or by paying close attention to the performance of a selected tipster/writer with their chosen NAPs, it is possible to make an informed decision on which experts are most reliable when it comes to selecting their NAP of the Day.