Finding Winners Step-By-Step

Everyone wants to find a winner, the difficult part is doing it with any form of regularity. I’m going to reveal a method that you may never have seen before which is going to help you pick winners time and time again. Some of the steps you may have come across before and others you may not. Either way they are all important in finding those elusive winners.

As always I recommend that you take these steps, become familiar with them and then develop them further to suit your own style of betting and the races you prefer to bet on. Do that and you will find yourself walking away from the bookies with cash in your pocket.

Throughout the rest of this article I am going to assume that you are using races where the majority of runners have raced a minimum of five time, if they have raced ten or more times then even better.

The first step in finding winners is…

…to look for horses that have won!

This may seem obvious, but the majority of people don’t do this. They delve straight into the form and start trying to decipher whether a horses run was good or bad, whether the ground suited it or not.

All of this is very important and useful information, but if a horse has run fifteen races and never won are you sure you want to be spending a lot of time on analysing the form for that runner? Do you want to bet on a horse that hasn’t won a single race in fifteen?

Unless there is a very good reason to suspect that it is either going to break the form of everything it has done to date, or it’s previous races contained a lot of places where the runner came just a very short distance from the winner, then the answer is almost certainly going to be no.

Don’t waste your time analysing horses who don’t have any chance of winning a race.

I can already hear some people saying that sometimes these horses win, and the truth is you’re right. They do. But if you choose a 90/1 winner then the chances are you picked it more by luck than anything else, and if you look at all the losers you are going to get from these horses I can assure you that it isn’t worth it!

So the first thing you should do is work out how many winners a horse has had, in a percentage, and make a note next to each horse. Do this for a few races and you are going to find four common patterns.

  1. Most runners in the race have a high winning percentage of 30% and higher. If the horses have only had a few races this can be 75% and higher.
  2. Most runners in the race have a very low winning percentage or have not won a race.
  3. All the horses have won a few races and have very similar percentages.
  4. A few of the horses have a higher winning percentage and the rest are low or haven’t won a race before.

Is it possible to find the winner in any of these four situations. Of course. Do you want to? Not at the moment.

When you making a good profit from the easiest type of race to analyse then it makes sense to start looking at the next hardest race to increase your profit. But, if you aren’t making a profit in the easiest races to analyse why would you want to move on to more difficult ones!

This means that we want to focus on the last pattern, number four. A race where a few horses have won a high percentage of races and the rest have a low percent or have never won means that you have a few runners who have proven themselves strong in a field where most haven’t.

That is a perfect type of race for us to analyse because the field has already been narrowed down for us. But, we want to double check those poor horses are really poor before we move on.

So for each of the horses with a poor winning percentage in turn, we open their form history and check how many times each horse has finished within a length of the winner. And we work out what percentage of the total horses races this is.

For example, if a horse has never won but has finished within one length of the winner twice in it’s ten races, then we mark this horse down as having performed strongly 20% of the time even though it hasn’t won.

Any horse that has a very high figure (i.e. 50% and above) you should consider as a threat and make a mark next to. The rest you can dismiss.

You will now have a shortlist of the best horses in the race. If you want you could consider simply dutching these runners, however I suggest that you take this further with just two more simple steps.

From your shortlist open up each horses form and check to see if any of them have NEVER won or come within one length on the current race type as today. If they have never won on the same race type as today then remove them from your shortlist. Of course it is possible that they will win for the first time in this race, but we are looking for proven horses so we have a high strike rate of winners.

Repeat this but using ground conditions. But don’t simply use the ground condition as it is shown on the race card, this is often not correct. You need to go to the BHA websiteΒ where the going is shown as reported by the going stick. Using the going stick rating on this page and the break down of what each rating means, which you can find here,Β you can determine the accurate going at the track.

Once you know this we perform the same procedure that we did with the race types on our remaining horses, but we are a bit more lenient. For example if a horse hasn’t won or come within one length of the winner on a good going (going stick reading of 7.9), but has on a good to firm reading of 8.5 then this can still be considered as a good performance.

In other words if the ground is similar enough to be unlikely to cause the horse a problem then we can include it.

By now you are going to have between two and four horses left most of the time and you have found the most likely winners for the race. There are numerous ways that you could bet them including backing, dutching, forecasts, exactas and place betting. These selections should win with a very high strike rate but how you bet them will depend on your own preferences to risk and odds. If you are happy to take smaller returns and more regular winnings then you may want to dutch, if you prefer larger odds and less regular winnings then you may consider putting them into exotic bets such as exactas, placepots etc…

Start putting this method in to use today and then let me know how you’re getting on by leaving a comment below.

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. Hi Michael,
    Another masterpiece. At the moment i do not have the time to use it on all my own selections but using my top race for the day i checked them both yesterday and today and so far you are 2 from 2.
    Yesterdays race was a 3 Con Stks with only 4 runners
    Race was a type 3 with all 4 having similar win %s.
    4th fav failed due going whilst the other 3 passed all criteria including my own selection which duly obliged at 11/2.
    Todays race was a 7 runner Cl 1 Listed Stakes type 4 race.
    4 runners failed the criteria, 3 passing including the 2nd fav at 9/4, another at 10/1 and my donkey at 33/1.
    The 9/4 2nd fav duly obliged by just over 1 length from guess what, my donkey at 33/1.

    Keep up the good work and will try to send at least one race a day for a while.


  2. Hi Michael if you were using the wins to runs ratio as a filter what % would be your cut off point if you were betting in the big all aged handicaps. At the moment I am left with too many horses on my list. I already use the draw and pace as a filter when there is a bias. I don’t take much notice of the going or distance as I trust that the trainer would declare the horse a non runner if the conditions were not suitable. Can you recommend any other filters,I mostly concentrate on 5 to 10 furlong C2 all aged handicaps.

  3. Good question Richard. To be honest it would vary for each race type and the type of runners in the race. I would suggest using a dynamic filter which is tied to the Win% of the runners in the race. For example if most of the runners in the race have a Win% which is within a few points of each other then I wouldn’t be using it as a filter, I may not even bet on the race unless there is something that strongly sways me towards a certain runner. I would look to take the top percentage of runners in the race, the top 20% is a good starting point. If you want more runners initially and use other factors to reduce then you can take up to 50% of the field (plus one runner).

    Using pace is going to be very useful in races of 5 to 10 furlongs. I suggest you check out my pace articles at:

    In order to find out what sort of pace you should be looking for πŸ™‚

    Going is a very important factor, never assume a trainer will pull a horse on the wrong going as there are many other reasons they may be wanting the horse to run. Just because a horse is running doesn’t mean the trainer wants it to try and win the race!

    To recommend other filters you would need to provide me with some stats about what you are achieving with these filters.

  4. Hi Michael I first narrow the field using ratings if its a 33 runner handicap it still usually leaves me with a good third of the field. Then I work out the likely pace bias of the race and which horse is going to be suited by the way the race will be run. Then I’ll look at if there is a draw bias after that I can still be left with 8 runners or so, if i can back them all and still make a profit that is what I do. It’s great when I drop on a big priced winner which happens quite often but not so good when I lose 8 points of my bank. I take your point about the going, not to assume the trainer is running the horse for the right reasons but very often if I wait to see what the final going is I miss some pretty juicy prices. I always back with BOG and have had my best year ever, you must take some of the credit as I read your articles all the time and they have certainly influenced the way I bet. I just need to come up with the right filters to cut down the amount of horses in the same race, your reply has given me food for thought, so thank you. If you can suggest anything else then fire away I’m all ears, I’m not too keen on speed figures as the races in this country are often tactical affairs the time i have spent on producing them has not given me any better results than I achieve without them. Pedigree handicapping I’m currently exploring but so far it doesn’t seem an exact science, ah well onwards and upwards.

  5. Hi Ray, yes they will be coming from Betfan as it is in association with them. I am just finalising the last race now πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for the reply Richard. I would strongly suggest that you get involved in pace figures.

    BIG HINT: check out early pace runners πŸ™‚

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