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Four Simple Horse Racing Systems

Four Simple Systems To Start With

Building racing systems is not difficult. The problems with racing systems I feel are mainly two-fold. Firstly finding a profit, and secondly making sure systems are not back-fitted. When I used the expression ‘back-fitted’ I basically mean that the past data has not been manipulated to improve performance. It is easy to get a basic set of data and then find a rule or variable that improves the results. There is a betting magazine, the name of which I cannot recall, but they had a racing systems writer who was no better than a fraud – he used produced systems such as:

1. Favourites at Course A

2. Months January, April, July, November only

3. Price 8/11 or shorter and 7/4 or bigger

4. Races – handicap hurdles, novice chases, bumpers

This system is a spoof one made up by me, hence the ‘Course A’ variable. However, the point I am trying to make is that a racing system such as this has been totally back-fitted with the prime intention to improve performance and profit. You cannot just randomly pick months, choose different price bands, and focus on a variety of different race types in this way.

If you use a monthly filter, there needs to be a) a logical reason behind it, and b) the months really need to be grouped together consecutively. For example, there used to be a system that tried exploit improving fillies in the Autumn – hence it was a specific time of the year not just random months. Likewise, the same idea applies if you use price filters – eg horses under 8/1 is ok as you are focusing on the front end of the market, but a double price band using 4/1 to 8/1 and 14/1 to 25/1 is not ok, as there is no sense behind it. Indeed, any filter must sensible and not random in any way.

I am going to share with you four systems that have made a profit over the past four seasons (2008-2011). Whether they continue to show a profit in 2012 and beyond is another matter. What we can’t do is predict the future with systems – we can only report on past events.


Kempton draw system

The draw can be important in flat racing (draw being what position in the starting stalls a horse begins from). At Kempton an inside draw can be a significant advantage as this system shows. The rules are thus:

1. Kempton 5f races (excluding maiden races)

2. 9 runners or more

3. Draws 1 and 2

The results show that 27 horses have won from 154 qualifiers for an SP profit of £45.75 (ROI +29.7%). Another positive is that all four years have shown a profit and these profits would have been improved if using Betfair SP.

This system works as it exploits the draw bias using the two horses drawn closest to the inside. The reason maiden races are ignored is simply because maiden races are usually won by the best horse regardless of the draw – this filter I would use for any draw bias system. The number of runners filter is another I would always use as draw bias tends to become more prevalent the more runners there are.


Nicky Henderson 6 month system

Nicky Henderson is a trainer who seems to stick to the same regime year in year out. He is renowned for getting his horses fit after a long break and this system tries to exploit this. The rules are thus:

1. Trainer Nicky Henderson

2. Horses off the track for 6 months or more

3. Price 8/1 or shorter

Simple as that and amazingly Henderson has had 124 winners from 315 (SR 39.4%) from this system over the past 4 seasons. All 4 seasons have produced a profit and the total profit stands at £69.95 (ROI +22.2%).

Now seems a good time to make one positive and other negative comment about using price filters in systems. The negative, is that you can never be 100% sure whether a horse will qualify in terms of price until after the event, as the SP is not known until after the event. Having said that, you should have a pretty good idea, especially if you are able to bet at the last minute. One positive of using a price filter with 8/1 being the highest possible price, is that the results are not improved by one or two big priced winners. Clearly ‘profitable’ systems can have their results skewed by let’s say winners at 25/1 and 33/1.


Sire Midnight Legend in Chases

Sires (the father of the horse) do have an influence in racing. Sires can affect their offspring considerably in terms of preferred distance, going, etc. For example, the offspring of the well know flat sire Pivotal definitely prefer softer ground. Their strike rate on soft or heavy is 19% whereas on good to form or firmer it is only 14%. In a similar way the offspring of Royal Applause are better over sprint distances than they are over long distances. They have a strike rate of 10% in sprints, whereas over 1m4f or more this drops to just 4%. For punters who remember Royal Applause this should not come as great surprise as he was a Champion Sprinter when he was racing.

The system I am sharing with you is one for National Hunt racing focusing on the sire Midnight Legend. The rules are:

1. Sire - Midnight Legend

2. Chase races

Just the two filters and the system qualifiers have produced 79 winners from 380 runners for a profit of £148.69 (ROI +39.1%). 3 of the 4 years have been profitable and going back further all years between 2004 and 2007 showed a profit (albeit from small samples).


All weather penalty carriers

Horses that carry penalties have traditionally been used in systems as they are horses that have a decent chance of winning again before their handicap mark is reassessed. Of course they have to carry a weight penalty but a good proportion of horses are capable of defying the penalty. This system is based on all weather penalty carriers:

1. All weather racing

2. Horses aged 3-5

3. Months – October to March

Again there are only a handful of rules. The age filter is basically in place horses tend to peak between 3 and 5; the months filter focuses on the time of year where there is far more all weather racing. The system has shown a profit in each of the four years with the overall record producing 204 winners from 690 qualifiers (SR 29.6%) for a profit of £54.04 (ROI +7.8%). The returns are not huge but the system has been consistent and if you used early prices or Betfair SP I would estimate you could have doubled the profit figure. I did also look back further in time all the way to 2001 – from 2001 to 2007 this systems showed a profit and 5 of the 7 seasons were profitable.


The key to the success of these systems have been the simplicity of each of them. The simple systems are usually the best – or at least the most robust. When you are trying to develop systems it is best to try and exploit a simple betting edge. Another method is to look for a weakness in the thinking of most punters by using an idea or fact that is under-used and under-valued.

I hope for those of you who are fairly new to system betting, this has been a helpful piece.

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