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Flat Systems To Try Out This Season


Flat Systems To Try Out This Season by David Renham


In this article I have been researching and testing a variety of systems and have chosen the ones that I feel have the best chance of producing similar results for the future. The problem with many systems is that they are back-fitted to improve results. However, I have tried to limit the rules for each system to avoid such problems. With each system there is a brief explanation of why I think it has worked in the past.


System 1 – Laying LTO winners at Chester


Chester is arguably the quirkiest course in the country, being such a tight track and it is often said form at Chester can be unreliable. I have to agree with this having spent many years making money from backing outliers in sprints. Outliers are essentially horses that have run well from a poor draw, and historically such horses are worth backing on their next three starts (usually stopping at a winner). However, outliers from Chester rarely conform to this pattern and too often fail to win soon afterwards. Hence, I am skeptical about Chester form, and from this I came up with the following LAYING system.




1. Won at Chester LTO

2. Up in class

3. Course – Grade 1 track (Ascot, Doncaster, Epsom, Goodwood, Newbury, Newmarket, Sandown, York).


Just the three rules – it is usually the simplest systems that are the best. Essentially we are looking for horses that won at Chester last time out, but are up in race class, and are moving to a higher class track. Idea being that winning form at Chester is suspect generally, and combining a better class of race and a better class of course should produce several successful lays.


To put last time out winners into perspective, they normally win around 17% of the time, losing around 16%. Here are the results from 2000 to 2008 for the above system in terms of if we were backing them:


Qualifiers 247

Wins 19

Strike rate 7.7%

Profit/loss -134.8pts

ROI -54.6%


Hence if you had backed all such runners you would have made significant losses. Therefore, if we had LAYED all qualifiers instead, we would have achieved a winning lay strike rate of 92.3%. Taking likely prices on the exchanges and commission into account, we would probably be looking at profits of around 30%. Returns of 30% are certainly not to be sniffed at.


The question of course readers will be asking is will these results be replicated in the future? This is something I can only make an educated guess at, but I have checked the period from 1993 to 1999 as well and the results were virtually identical in terms of strike rate and returns. Therefore, I am 99% sure that this laying idea will prove profitable in the future.


System 2 – Backing LTO winners at Ascot


This is a reverse of the first system. Essentially if you work out the average prize money at all courses, Ascot comes out on top. Therefore, we can argue that Ascot form should be as strong as any course in the country. Hence, Ascot winners should be worth following under the right conditions on their next run, and here is the system I have devised:




1. Won at Ascot LTO

2. Same class or lower

3. Male runners only

4. Last run less than 7 weeks ago


Again very few rules which is a positive. The male only rule is one I use regularly in systems as males generally are far more reliable than females. The idea of ‘same class or lower’ is that if the horse has proved it by winning at Ascot, then he should be capable of proving it at any track, especially if the grade of race is no higher than the race he previously won. The final rule is simply to make sure the horse is hopefully in similar shape to that Ascot win. Leaving it any longer or using form from last year would be less reliable. Here are the results for this system from 2000 to 2008:


Qualifiers 218

Wins 50

Strike rate 22.9%

Profit/loss +68.5pts

ROI +31.4%


These figures are fairly favourable, especially when all bar one season showed a profit. As with the first system I have looked back at even earlier results in an attempt to give me more confidence in the system. I have back checked the system right the way back to 1990 and during the previous 10-year period it again made a profit; however two bad years in 1994 and 1998 made serious in-roads into these profits. Hence, my feeling is that although this system should prove profitable in the future, it is capable of having a poor year. Having said that, if this season, you fancy a horse that won last time at Ascot, then you should be confident that the horse will give you a good run for your money.


System 3 – Penalty system


Penalty systems have been popular for several years now, as improving horses are often able to defy a penalty. This is a system that utilizes that fact:




1. Carrying a penalty

2. Last run 2 days or less

3. Class 5 or lower

4. Age 3 to 6


The system focuses on penalty carriers that are returned to the track in just 1 or 2 days. Traditionally if a horse is in form, the shorter the break, the better.


The class rule is logical as the lower the class, the less competitive the racing, while the age rule focuses on the age band that are best capable of replicating good form after a short break. 2yos for example being very young, cannot stand too much racing; likewise once you get to 7 or older, horses are generally on the downgrade and are unable to reproduce their best after a very short break. The results going back to 2000 are thus:


Qualifiers 257

Wins 83

Strike rate 32.3%

Profit/loss +88.3pts

ROI +34.3%


A strike of roughly 1 in 3 and profits of over 30% make positive reading. Further good news is that every year since 2000 has returned a profit so the system has been consistent. Another positive is that I have cross checked previous years to 2000 and the results were equally as good, if not better. This system has done particularly well on the all weather.


System 4 – Chester 2yo draw system


The draw bias at Chester is well known, but it surprisingly strong in 2yo races. This system utilizes a low draw and that is just about it!




1. 2yo races at Chester over 5/6f

2. Drawn 1 or 2


That’s it!! This is about as simple a system as you can imagine! The idea is simple – the draw bias at Chester is massive with the lowest draws having a clear edge over the two sprint trips of 5 and 6 furlongs. Added to that 2yos often run a bit ‘green’, and if they are drawn close to a rail it invariably helps. Being drawn 1 or 2 at Chester therefore should be an even bigger advantage in 2yo races. The results back up the theory:


Qualifiers 208

Wins 56

Strike rate 26.9%

Profit/loss +70.1pts

ROI +33.7%


These are fairly remarkable figures for such a simple system, and there seems no reason why it won’t continue to perform successfully in the future.


So there you have it - 4 systems that combined together should prove profitable to follow this season and hopefully for many years to come. If all four perform to their yearly “average” then you can expect a season’s profit of around 35 to 45 points – not bad considering it should only take you a few minutes a day to find if there are any qualifiers.


















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