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A Different Approach To National Hunt Racing Betting
It would be interesting to know what percentage of the betting public actually make consistent profits over a long period of time. The percentage would be fairly small I would imagine, although with the advent of the betting exchanges in recent years, it should be higher than it was say 10 years ago. Why then is it so difficult to stay ahead of the game? One reason could be down to the fact that we almost have too much information these days. Computers have revolutionized betting - by the click of a button, punters can access the full lifetime form of any horse, look in detail at trainer records, pull up pedigree statistics, discuss the merits of a race on numerous horse racing forums, etc, etc. This puts several punters in a similar position in terms of knowledge and hence with more people having related trains of thought, it is likely to make these punters follow the same betting route and come to the same conclusion. Therefore, the prices of such animals will contract as more punters end up backing them, and any value or profit making potential starts to disappear.
With so many people following a form-based approach, it may be time for us punters to think of other options. This article suggests what I call “the lazy punter method”.
The “Lazy” Punter method – wouldn’t it be great if we could pick up the RFO or the Racing Post, spend no more than 10 minutes reading through it, and then come up with all our selections for the day? Well some people use this option already – they are people who use racing systems. Most use a very methodical approach, sticking to a very rigid set of rules and essentially whatever their “system” or “systems” suggest, they end up backing the said horses without any further thoughts. They are not swayed by the fact that the trainer may not have had a winner for a month, or that the jockey booked has not ridden a winner for the stable this year – they have their selection via their system and that is good enough. They put their money on, and have the rest of the day to themselves.
Systems have generally had a bad press for many years. This is despite the excellent work on the subject by systems expert Nick Mordin who has written numerous articles on systems and uncovered a plethora of profitable ones. The bad press is probably due to the numerous number of “FANTASTIC WINNING SYSTEM” adverts seen in various publications week in, week out. You have all seen them and their quotes of amazing successes – “85 wins out of the last 100 bets; no odds on”, etc, etc. Sounds great, but do any systems actually work? Unfortunately most do not, but there are some that have worked well in the past and I am sharing 5 systems with you that have shown a profit over the past 15 years. Of course that is no guarantee they will work in the future, but some will and hopefully the following systems will be worth following for a few years to come. All profits are shown to £1 win stakes:
System 1 – Cheltenham winners
Horses that are able to win at Cheltenham are potentially smart, and therefore I am attempting to use this key fact in a system. It is almost as simple a system as you can get. The rules are as follows:
1. Course - Cheltenham
2. Last time out WON at Cheltenham
The results from this system are shown overleaf:
This simple idea would have produced 11 winning years out of 15. Why does has it worked? Essentially I believe it has worked in the past because not only are Cheltenham winners likely to be well above average in their particular sphere of racing, but they also act well on a fairly unique and stiff track such as Cheltenham. I expect this system to continue to show profits over time in the future. Finally, if you wish to improve the system, then if you concentrate on horses aged 5 to 10 only, the profits increase to £75.66 and the % profit increases to a very healthy 30.9%.
System 2 – Cheltenham winners (2)
The more I look into horses that won last time out at Cheltenham, the more I realize they are horses to follow next time out. The first system showed this to some extent, and this second system further emphasizes the fact. This system focuses on Cheltenham winners that are raised in class next time out. The rules are as follows:
1. Last time out WON at Cheltenham
2. Upped in class on next run
The results are as follows:
I have already discussed that horses that win at Cheltenham are potentially well above average, and hence the idea behind this system is that they should be able to cope with a rise in class next time out. Over 1 in 4 proved they could cope and a profit of over 20% is excellent.
System 3 – Outsider of four
For many years many people have argued in a three runner race, that the value lies with the outsider of the three. This idea is similar, but focuses on the outsider in a four runner race. The rules are:
1. 4th in the betting in a 4-runner race
2. SP 9/2 to 7/1
3. Finished in first six in both of last two runs
The results are as follows:
The idea behind this system is that if the outsider of four is priced between 9/2 to 7/1, he/she cannot be considered a complete no-hoper. Hence, the horse might offer some value in a race where it only has three other runners to beat. In addition, the horse has finished in the first six in both of his/her last two runs, which indicates the horse is in reasonable from coming into the race. 10 winning years out of 15, coupled with the overall results seem to illustrate that this system offers punters a sporting chance of making a profit using this system. I personally would say this is more a “fun” system that has a sporting chance of producing profits.
System 4 – Penalty carriers
Many successful flat systems of recent years have been based on horses that return to the track after a short period of time. The market has started to catch up on the flat, so some value has diminished, but this method continues to work well in National Hunt racing, especially when following horses that are running under a penalty. The following system has three extra filters – all of which are logical to tighten up the system. The first filter (top 3 of betting forecast) makes sure the horse has sound claims from a race prospective; the second (males only) takes advantage of the fact that males outperform females in NH racing. Statistics show that a male runner is 1.5 times more likely to win than a female one; the third focuses on horses that are not too old, and hence hopefully able to reproduce a good run after a short break. The system reads as follows:
1. Carrying a penalty
This system has been successful in 8 of the last 9 years so clearly the system is still performing well. Clearly some National Hunt trainers are keen to get two quick wins out of their charges.
The final system will not give too many bets per year, but is the type of idea that system backers should be trying to think up:
System 5 – Stiff track system
There are only a handful of tracks that have a particularly stiff uphill finish and this system involves three such courses – Exeter, Cheltenham and Towcester. The system revolves about last time out winners at Exeter and their exploits next time out at Cheltenham or Towcester. The rules are:
1. Last time out WON at Exeter
2. Course – Cheltenham or Towcester
The results are as follows:
Horses that have won on a stiff track look sound bets to follow up, assuming they are racing on another stiff track. It certainly has worked for this combination of courses.
The main purpose of this article is not to convert you all to system betting, but I hope I have illustrated that there is possibly other options rather than hours and hours of form study.
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