Backwards Handicapping

Happy New Year!

I hope that you had a good New Years eve party and you enjoyed the racing on New Years day. Today I thought I would take a bit of different approach and look at a finding a selection in a race based on some unique features inside the Race Advisor members area.

The race we are going to take a look at is the 12:15 Southwell. This race is a 5 furlong sprint race and I am going to use what is known as a speed bar. A speed bar projects the amount of speed improvement a horse is going to make.

It is most effective in sprint races where speed is an incredibly strong factor. I have a slightly different approach to most people when finding selections. This is because I believe that most people are trying to find selections the wrong way.

Are you trying to find the winner in the race?

If you answered Yes to this question then I would suggest that you are looking at races in the wrong way. After all finding the winner is incredibly difficult. Follow what I am about to show you and you will find your punting much easier.

As a punter you should actually be looking to…

  1. Find any horses that cannot win and remove them from your list
  2. From the remaining horses find any that are particularly strong
  3. From these look for any that could be offering very good odds based on how likely you think their prospect of winning is

These are the three steps that you should be looking to achieve when you handicap a race. These 3 steps are completely different to 99% of the punters out there.

Strangely enough, 99% of punters lose their money!

Back to the 12:15 at Southwell today.

Screenshot from Race Advisor members area

Step 1

Our speed bars indicate that there are some runners which are significantly improving in speed and others which are declining. If we take away the decliners of Divertimenti, Fear Nothing and Georgous Goblin we have already removed horses who are declining.

Under each runners name we also have a W which stands for Winning Strike Rate for that horse. Would you want to bet on a horse that has never won? Me neither! This would remove Tancred Spirit and Striking Willow, however since Striking Willow has such a big speed improvement we shall keep him in and remove Tancred Spirit only.

Finally would you want to bet on a runner that has not had a good race (GR) for over a year? I didn’t think so. This removes Egyptian Lord, Flow Chart and Skylla.

In just a few minutes we have cut the field down to just 5 potential runners.

Sometimes the horses we remove in this step will win, unfortunately that is just the nature of the business. What is important is that we are not risking our money on them!

Step 2

The particularly strong horses using the speed bars are Striking Willow, Steel City Boy and Argentine. In terms of recent performance we must also include Nafa.

Step 3

We now have four horses and must decide on how to bet them. Here is the run down…

Striking Willow – Yet to win, which is a concern, but improved massively in speed bar in the last race and if this happens again is a potential winner.

Steel City Boy – Massive speed bar improvement in the last race and has been performing well recently, could put in a good performance today.

Argentine – A good speed bar improvement and has run a good race recently. Hasn’t won for a while but has been fairly consistent for the last 3 months and has a good overall strike rate.

Nafa – No speed bar improvement but has been running well recently and has a good overall strike rate.

Some possible ways we could bet on these…

Dutch bet as long as you can get a minimum of 20% ROI.

Choose the strongest and bet as a winner or each-way.

Choose the 2 strongest and bet to place.

Personally I will be placing a dutch bet as long as I can get a 20% ROI. If I cannot then I will remove Striking Willow as he has not yet won a race, and dutch the remaining runners.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. I haven’t used a dutch bet before can you confirm what prices you got for the 3 horses, assuming you dropped Striking Willow so I can try and get my head around type of returns expected.
    Many Thx

    1. Hi Doug, I will need to go into my results to find out the odds achieved on the runners. I will take a return of 10% or higher on a dutch bet but I advise you to look for 30% or higher when starting out. So if you stake £100 you should be looking for a minimum of £30 profit if one of your selections wins.

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