BETTING SYSTEMS: Can They Make Me A Profit

Originally written in 2010, the focus of this article was to teach new horse racing bettors how to create a simple betting system, which allows you to find selections quickly.

The aim wasn’t to create huge profits, but to show how to build a betting system quickly and easily, to get you started at a small profit or break-even.

Once you are up and running, this can then be expanded, and more advanced approaches can be built to increase profits. But when you’re getting started the most important thing is to stop any losses.

Psychologically this is huge, as it allows you to see your potential with a bit of time and effort.

I thought it was time to update this approach, so that’s exactly what I’ve done!

BETTING SYSTEMS: Where to begin…

It’s very common to want to jump straight into betting, but this is the quickest way to lose money.

With a bit of patience you can prevent yourself from losing money, and start with a strong understanding of how to become a long-term profitable bettor using betting systems.

Before anything else, you should decide on what type of bet you want to use.

You’re probably thinking that you will go with win bets. But that’s not always the best choice.

In fact, for most people it’s completely the wrong choice. You can see why in this blog post.

To become a profitable bettor you have to be able to cope with the losing sequences.

Forget about profit and wins from horses with high odds for the moment. Focus on determining what length of losing run you will be happy with, and choose your bet type based on this.

Once you’ve. done that, it’s time to decide what to optimise your betting system for:

  • Profit – Selecting this option means that a higher profit is the most important result.
  • ROI – Selecting this option means that a higher return-on-investment is the most important result.
  • Bets – Selecting this option means that a larger quantity of bets is the most important result.
  • SR – Selecting this option means that a higher strike rate is the most important result.

When we built this process out, as a community, back in 2010, there was a poll to determine which were the most important elements. The results were:

Back System – 88%

Lay System – 12%

Profit – 43%

ROI – 33%

SR – 23%

Bets – 1%

As you can see, at the time the majority of our community wanted a back-to-win system, which focused on as much profit as possible.

Which is completely understandable.

The rest of this blog will follow the original results. However, I strongly recommend that when you use the following approach as a base strategy, or if you follow this process for your own system, you don’t use back to win bets.

For the majority of us, myself included, betting horses to win doesn’t match our ability to cope with losing streaks and downswings. Meaning, that we’re handicapping our ability to become long-term profitable bettors from the beginning!

Long-term profits from horse racing are to do with being comfortable continuing to bet the selections, without changing tactic or approach, through the losing streaks and downswings.

If you can’t master this, however good your selections, you will struggle to make a long-term profit. Master it, and you’ll never have a problem making profits from your horse racing betting!

BETTING SYSTEMS: Some statistics

Whilst profit is the focus for most bettors, we should really be taking into account the A/E ratio, otherwise called the PIV (same thing, different name).

This figure can tell us if we have an edge on our bets. Without this, we don’t know whether we are likely to have an edge or not.

You can learn how to calculate the A/E or PIV here.

I’m going to start by looking at the worse quality of races, primarily because most people don’t!

Focusing on Classes 6 and 7 All Weather racing, which are amongst the lowest quality there is, we get around 10,000 horses running a year.

Taking data from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, I’ve investigated a few of the most obvious areas of a horse’s form and put the results below.

AgeBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E

A Quick Guide To Reading The Table Above

As you can see, I’ve broken down all the races into age groups.

Immediately you notice that the strike rate is very similar throughout all age ranges.

When looking at the profit and loss figures, you must remember to take into account the number of selections and the A/E values.

Obviously more bets mean more losses, but in comparison to smaller amounts of bets, they may not be as bad.

The A/E factor tells us that, even though some of the ranges have made a good profit, this is unlikely to continue because all the A/E ratios are well below 1.00.

An A/E ratio below 1 means that we don’t have an edge on the bet. Although we’ve made a profit here, that’s because we got lucky in the order the horses come in. Based on the odds we are taking, and the number of winners we’re finding, we’d expect this to turn into a loss.

This gives you a good idea how to look at the information. Below are the tables with some more common factors, don’t worry we will get to the unusual ones later!

The number of days since the horse last ran:

3 days600-6.00-100.000
4-5 days200-2.00-100.000
6-10 days1763519.89-1.39-0.791.02
11-15 days77811114.27-117.39-15.090.87
16-20 days159020612.96-73.67-4.630.93
21-25 days242827011.12145.405.990.85
26-30 days328735110.68-270.81-8.240.82
31-45 days922698210.64-324.31-3.520.87
46-60 days59555439.12-832.36-13.980.8
61-75 days35543168.89-78.14-2.200.84
76-90 days22531888.34-171.38-7.610.82
91-120 days25322108.29-104.46-4.130.86
121-150 days17491327.55-236.16-13.510.84
151-180 days14761298.74350.9723.780.9
181-240 days19161437.46-45.31-2.360.8
241-300 days915667.21-23.10-2.520.8
301-365 days528254.73-96.42-18.260.68
366-730 days694294.18-161.10-23.210.64
731-1095 days10121.98-78.72-77.940.45
1096-1460 days1815.56-15.69-87.160.85
1460 days or more1516.67-11.44-76.231.01

The draw the horse is racing from:

StallBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E

Finish position of the horse last time it raced:

Finish LTOBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E
No Previous Run528417.7771.6713.570.93
Pulled Up21583.72-106.53-49.550.6
Unseated Rider45817.7862.66139.231.83

In the poll that we took when writing the original post, the preference was strongly for betting on non-favourites.

BETTING SYSTEMS: Why It’s So Damn Hard To Make A Profit

Straight away I decided to remove all favourites and second favourites, as well as any joint 1st and 2nd favourites. The first extra piece of information I wanted to look at was, to see how the results looked if I only looked at horses who were beaten in their last race by 0.5 to 1.5 lengths. I know you are thinking that this means they weren’t winners! By not looking for horses who won, but horses that ran a good race, we are looking for runners that may not be so heavily bet in their next race, in other words value horses, but have still showed merit in their performance.

If we remove all favourites, second favourites, and joint first and second favourites from Class 6 and 7 All Weather racing, we get these new figures.

YearBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E

This didn’t produce the best results!

A logical way to try and create a better profit is to only consider horses whose last race was on the same race type as the current race.

Narrowing the runners to only horses whose last race was on the All Weather, we get…

YearBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E

Not much change.

The results are still poor. When this article was originally published we’d already pushed into profits by now.


Because, All Weather racing was much less understood back then, and it was far easier to make a profit as the odds were offering huge value.

I would expect the process that I’ve just followed to be very similar to how you may have tried building betting systems.

If you have, then you’ve probably got frustrated, because everything that you try looks similar to the above. Huge losses, low strike rates and no edge.

It kinda makes it hard to keep going. Especially if you’ve spent quite a few hours getting to this point.

So what do we do now? Give up. Move on to something else.


We need to understand why we’re having such difficulty building a profitable betting system this way.

And the reason is…

Because we’re using information that’s readily available to the betting public

It’s almost impossible to build a profitable approach using standard information because the bookmakers, and therefore the odds you’re taking, have already taken it into consideration.

That’s why a few pieces of standard information make a huge loss, compared to a single Race Advisor Pro rating, which only our members and community have access to, making +1431 units profit.

You can read about that rating here.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Instead of trying to build-out a betting system with this information, we can build-out micro-angles.

Our micro-angles point to small samples horses that have made a profit.

We use the micro-angles as a shortcut to finding contenders in the race. Once we’ve got them, we look at the horses closer, to see if they’re horses we feel we could have a bet on or not.

Here’s an example of a micro-angle.

YearBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E
Horse’s last race was in the same class as today and raced 4 or 5 days ago

Or another one…

YearBetsWinsWin %P/LROIA/E
Days since course and distance win 300-365

These are small segments of runners, which have made an edge and a small profit.

Of course, the samples on these micro-angles will always be small. That’s one of the provisos of micro-angles, and why it’s so important to use contender finders. Once you’ve got your contenders. you look at the horses in more detail before deciding whether to place a bet.


Building long-term betting systems, where there is no human interpretation of the selections, is difficult.

Far harder than to learn to form read profitably!

Micro-angles can be a way to get started, but you’re going to need a lot of them to have a big enough volume of bets.

However, the benefit is that you can begin to build approaches using standard data.

Personally, I feel that it’s a lot of effort for the results that can be achieved.

As most bettors want to start with standard information, or are unsure whether a website such as the Race Advisor Pro Members is for them, it can be a good way to get started.

We are developing a system builder that will revolutionise the development of betting systems that make a long-term profit. Depending on when you’re reading this, will depend whether it has been released or is still in development.

But, the biggest weapon in its armoury is access to horse racing ratings that aren’t available anywhere else.

It’s because of the power of our ratings that we can develop profitable strategies and angles so quickly and effectively.

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. In my opinion if this is being aimed primarily at the newbie better then we need to have a simple bet and go system that a 9-5 working day person can easily operate in his local betting shop.

    This sounds like a fun idea and if it proves a success then maybe a more complex in depth system could follow. My thinking here would be only the more dedicated players would have the time to use it therefore helping to preserve profitability.

    Paul (becksfan)

  2. I agree, a simple bet and go system for the 9-5 worker is what I think we shall start with and how I will be concentrating our efforts. If it is popular then there is no reason why we couldn’t then create a more complex system afterwards that only the players with more time could use. It would also mean that everyone gets to see two very different type of system creations happening.

  3. Hi, I think it would be a good idea to start with a system that is allready in use and adding to it.

    Something like the fineform system where the going and speed rating thrown into the pot.


    1. Good idea Barry, what is everyone else’s view on this? Would you rather start from scratch or with a system that is already up and running?

  4. I guess the best way to gain and then keep profitability in any system is to have it as unique as possible with little chance of copying similar selections from other systems. With this in mind starting from scratch sounds best to me.

  5. Hi Everyone,
    Only just came across this while visiting other links!
    I have seen many very profitable days using the Fineform Ratings (Clive Holt) and in particular the slightly newer version where it give double points to 1 run only for current season…I think that although starting from scratch has its merits, taking something which is already quite good and ‘tweaking’ it would decrease the creation time and could prove quite profitable especially since the system is ‘missing’ many other filters that we, as a group, could investigate ;¬)
    Gotta go now hope I haven’t bored you guys! I’ll be back soon ;¬)


    1. How about we work it the other way instead since we have already begun building a new system, check out the second post in the series at Part 2 What we could do is to create something that works without it and then maybe take some of the principles (rather than using exactly as created) and see if they can improve the profitibility?

  6. Yer, That’s a plan lol – I realise I only just caught this thread so am a little behind atm 😮

    But I can see the benefits of applying it in the future as an extra tweak or filter.


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