Today’s Horse Racing Tips

How Important Are Recent Finish Positions

Originally written back in January 2010, I thought it was time to update this article and make it relevant to todays horse racing tips again. We’re going to discover if, nine years after it was originally written, the same information is true.

What Did We Discover In 2010

First we need to look at the original article and what we discovered…

You hear a lot of articles and systems discussing how you should always look at a horses most recent races as a major factor in assessing the chances of the horse winning. In this article we are going to look into this theory and see whether it is true or false and to what degree.

We will be looking at the horse’s most recent race. Our first criteria is to check and see how many horses that come in the top three in their last race go on to win their next race.

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
132620 21107 15.92 -23130.1 -17.44

As you can see from the table above our first analysis does not look promising. I have taken data from the last five years and to find that we are losing nearly 20% of every bet we make is worrying. It is clear already that is not as simple as just finding a horse that performed well in its last race. If we look at horses that won their last race as opposed to just placing then we get:

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
44385 7752 17.47 -7211.88 -16.25

Immediately we can see that the strike rate increases very slightly as does the return on investment. This is as we would expect because we are now only looking at horses who won last time. You can see the massive difference in the number of runners between the two tables. By just selecting the winners we have not really increased our profit by anything very much. It is clear that we need to look at this information in a slightly different way to find a profit. The most logical step to take next is to see if the number of days since the horse last ran makes a difference. A horse that has performed very well and has run again to quickly may not be back up to the level that it was when it won the race, on the other hand a horse that has run well and is not run again for a long period of time may require a few races in order to get back into their stride.

DSLR Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
0-7 13574 2726 20.08 -1048.92 -7.73
8-14 32234 5197 16.12 -5884.3 -18.25
15-21 28023 4460 15.92 -5060.68 -18.06
22-28 17812 2775 15.58 -2866.85 -16.1
29-42 16142 2479 15.36 -2808.38 -17.4
43-56 5902 874 14.81 -1352.72 -22.92
57-90 4799 691 14.4 -1094.88 -22.81
91-150 3083 415 13.46 -563.99 -18.29
150+ 11051 1490 13.48 -2449.35 -22.16

The information above shows us horses who placed in their last race broken down into days since their last race. We can begin to see a pattern, horses that race again within seven days of placing in a race, have an advantage over the other runners. We can then also put horses that run again after placing within 8 to 42 days in another grouping. More than 42 days and we begin to see over a 20% loss on every bet. Let us now breakdown this data by class and see if this makes any difference to the performance of the runners.

Class No Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
1 10588 1312 12.39 -1776.36 -16.78
2 10453 1199 11.47 -2401.77 -22.98
3 15574 2402 15.42 -2783.15 -17.87
4 33206 5760 17.35 -5151.46 -15.51
5 31537 5511 17.47 -5239.96 -16.62
6 19650 3134 15.95 -3459.51 -17.61
7 2040 309 15.15 -362.57 -17.77

We get some quite interesting results in the above table. You can see that horses in class one have the lowest strike rate of all the classes. However they also have one of the highest returns on investment. Interestingly we seem to have some anomalies in class two races and class four races. At least I would call them anomalies if the sample size of runners wasn’t so large. Horses that have placed in their last race and are now running in a class two race, have the lowest strike rate and the lowest return on investment by quite a way. Horses that have placed in their last race and are now running in a class four race, have the highest return on investment. There are many possibilities as to why this occurs and we would need to investigate further too actually find out. What I want to do though is to combine the knowledge that we have gained so far and look at horses from placing their last race and racing again within seven days in a class four race.

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP
2821 602 21.34 -202.24 -7.17

As expected our strike rate and return on investment have vastly improved. I’m going to stop analysing here before this article becomes a book, but of course it is possible to breakdown this data much further. We have only been looking at the horses last race, we also want to look at its second to last race, its third to last race and possibly more. I hope that I have shown you that it is not just as simple as saying if a horse performed well last time out then it is likely to perform well again. There are many other factors at play that determine how the horse’s most recent performances relate to the race it is about to be run, and this is likely to be different for every race type and condition.

In the future if you see a system that simply says that all horses that won or placed in their last race become qualifiers without any more specific conditions, particularly the number of days since last raced, then you may want to think twice before placing money on the selections that the system finds.

Looking At Recent Finish Positions In 2019

In this updated analysis I will be looking at races from the 1st January 2018 to 24th September 2019, for UK and IRE courses only. During this time there were 214,386 runners.

Those who came in the top three in their previous race, had the following statistics.

Runners Winners SR SP Profit BSP Profit SP ROI BSP ROI A/E
40624 7811 19% -9134.14 -4695.03 -22% -12% 0.74

A lot less runners qualified, but the ROI is much worse, it’s dropped from -17% in 2010 to -22%!

Currently it’s not looking strong, let’s look at horses that finished first last time out.

Runners Winners SR SP Profit BSP Profit SP ROI BSP ROI A/E
20256 3990 20% -3345.92 -2425.23 -17% -12% 0.99

Not such a dramatic drop here, maybe a small one, but nothing major. This has effectively stayed the same over the years… a losing approach.

I don’t need to go any further to know that following this line of enquiry is going to lead us to a dead-end, much as it did back in 2010.

However, this time, that begs the question…

Is it possible to make a profit from horses that performed well last time out?

Can We Find A Profit In These Horses?

In order to find a profit from these horses, we need to start with a logical assessment of the situation.

For me, that means we need to understand why horses that won, or came in the top three last time out, lose money.

And the answer is pretty simple.

The information is easily available everywhere, and it’s the most common element for a bettor to look for.

That tells us that the market is going to have taken into account this piece of information.

In order for us to find a profit from these horses, we need to find a piece of information that most people don’t know about them, or overlook.

If we can find that, then we may be able to claw back an edge on these runners. Although, we have a pretty big hill to climb, and it may not be possible.

There’s an almost limitless number of pieces of information that we could use here, but I’m going to choose one specific piece of information…

A horses earnings

The reasoning behind this is that a horses earnings can be closely linked to the class of a horse, yet it’s a hugely under-utilised piece of information, and often the incorrect level of importance is given to it.

However, we have to be a bit careful!

If we were to simply use the earnings a horse has had, then we’re unlikely to find an edge.


Because that information is available on almost every race card ever made. Which means that the market will already have taken it into account. The horse with the most earnings is often the favourite in the race.

So that won’t help us.

Let me bring you back to this piece of information:

“The reasoning behind this is that a horses earnings can be closely linked to the class of a horse”

This is very important. Earnings can be used to determine the class of a horse, yet very few people recognise this.

With that in mind, we need to look at how we may be able to take the earnings a horse has achieved and relate it to the race it’s running in to give us todays horse racing tips.

One of those ways is to take a horses earnings divided by the prize money of the current race.

You can do this manually, or if you’re a Race Advisor Pro Club member, the rating APRE already does this for you πŸ˜‰

What happens when we add this filter?

Runners Winners SR SP Profit BSP Profit SP ROI BSP ROI A/E
2758 775 28% 60.18 -0.49 2.18% -0.02% 1.01

A very different set of results. What’s most interesting about this is that the Betfair SP profits are significantly less than the SP profits. The 5% commission making a big impact on the odds of these selections. If Betfair commissions wasn’t taken into account, then the Betfair SP profits would be +103.85.

This is a good example of how the Betfair commission can erode away your profit if you’re not careful.

Very telling is the A/E ratio, which shows that these selections have a tiny advantage, we would definitely want a bigger advantage. But… we’re still making a making to SP, which is more than most people can do

And how did we find them?

With just two rules.

Simple and effective.

What Comes Next…

There are a number of options for what comes next in todays horse racing tips, focused on how important recent finish positions are.

You could simply leave it like this, and use your own form reading to make the final decisions.

To do this inside your Pro Members Club, first of all create a race card with these two ratings.

Todays horse racing tips - recent finish positions

Then you can quickly go through each race looking for a horse who finish first last time out, FPLR (Finish Position of Last Race) = 1, and are top ranked for their earnings class in the race, RnkApre = 1.

Todays horse racing tips - recent finish positions #2Once you’ve found a runner that meets these two criteria, like the one above, you can then look into them further to determine whether they’re a strong bet.

You can streamline this process by using our Export feature and then using a spreadsheet program to rapidly find any horses that meet the criteria.

Alternatively, we could look at adding another rating to try and increase the profit.

For example…

Runners Winners SR SP Profit BSP Profit SP ROI BSP ROI A/E
957 315 33% 235.25 -24.39 24.58% -2.55% 1.00

A quick tweak, by find the top rated for our ACPFPClTD (a competitive form rating), has made an excellent profit to SP, however the A/E is still sitting at 1.00, indicating that we don’t have an edge based on the ratings alone.

Of course, this edge can easily be gained with some form reading before you bet, and after you’ve used the rules to find the strongest horses.

Alternatively you could play around with some more ratings to get something more like this…

Runners Winners SR SP Profit BSP Profit SP ROI BSP ROI A/E
960 331 34% 182.89 92.44 19.05% 9.63% 1.08

And then use that as you’re jumping off point!

In Summary

Since 2010 nothing has changed. If we want to find todays horse racing tips using the most recent finish position only… you’re still going to be a losing bettor.

And that’s because everybody’s using it.

However, with a few tweaks you can see that it’s possible to come into a profit with very little extra information.

Whenever you analyse a horse race, you want to consider the information that is readily available to the betting public, and how they use it. Then… do something completely different, something they won’t think of.

That’s what makes a profitable bettor.

Is this something that you think you’ll use in your betting?

Would you like to know what change I made?

Leave me a comment to let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

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. Very interesting, I had sort of noticed that myself, but didn’t have the info you’ve given here.
    Thank you.

  2. Lo Michael,
    Have you ever looked into:

    Distance WON by.

    Distance behind winner (irrespective of its official position) ie a horse could
    finish 6th or 7th and only be 1-1/2 lengths behind the winner; as opposed to a horse finishing 3rd
    beaten 5 Lengths.

    Only considering “like for like races in the above”

  3. I have always favoured a selection that has been placed lto, is a distance winner and had a recent race (up to 14days) but have also considered distance won or lost by and especially a selection described ran-on-well in it’s last outing. However the earnings aspect is of great interest as you have highlighted. I now receive ratings that include this aspect. Thank you for the data analysis.

  4. How is the APRE worked out. Is it total winning prize money divided by total runs, or is it winning and place earnings divided by total runs.

  5. Hi Michael, very nice ? as you know I am currently trialling a system that uses wlto as one of the main factors and stakes based on the Fibonacci sequence, I am using about a dozen different factors but nothing about money so may look at that on paper and see what affect that has, cheers Will

  6. So many inponderables leaves the punter dizzy with doubt: One thing that keeps springing up in my mind is the horse that ran 3rd in a three horse race 20 lengths behind the winner, versus the horse that ran 10th in a 20 horse race only five lengths behind the winner versus a right hand track against a left hand track, versus a few yards further than a few yards less, versus a change of jockey versus the jockeys past performance etc etc etc etc etc etc: Where does it all end: At the end of the day it amounts to Place your bets and cross your fingers and hope that on the day you got it right through instinct rather than knowledge: I must admit however that whichever angle you choose to attack the mathe, a winner is a winner and the day belongs to you, against the day you cannot get anything right causing your mind to drift in the dirction of a fixed race to chronic corruption of everyone attached to that horse in question. Blame has to be fixed squarley if not fairly at the Gods of racing in collusion with the Devil incarnate to outwit the most important person on the planet (ME). Waking up to tomorrow however with the sun shining through your windows is another day, affording you an insight into where it all went wrong the day before, building your confidence to the point where let me at em: A Life in the day of the average punter versus A Day in the Life of the same average punter all boils down to outsmarting themselves into believing that around the next bend the Gods of averice and greed will cease to block the channels of common sense and everything will unfold into the uplands of everything you have ever believed in (YOURSELF). Roll On Tomorrow: Just Saying:

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