How To Narrow the Field For Big Races

Another week has gone and this time next week I shall be back in the UK. I shall enjoy my last week away but it will be nice to get back for a bit.

Last week I promised you some betting concepts for this week, and I have them for you but we will come to them in a little bit.

There have been two articles published on the blog this week. The Jag has focused on Silvestre De Sousa in his All About Jockey Series this week. You can catch up on it here.

Betting tips are something that everyone is interested in, but not everyone can make them work successfully even if they hear other people are making profits from the same tipster!

Why is this? Is it because you don’t have enough information about the selections? Or maybe it is because the tipster doesn’t suit your style of betting?

You can find out how to find out if tips will work for you right here.

This weekend we have the 2000 and 1000 Guineas races. If you have access to our Big Race Trends then you will already have a complete breakdown of the race using trends and form from our in-house trends specialist.

What I am going to share with you today, is one way that you can narrow down the fields on these big races.

Part of the problem with any big race, apart from the amount of high quality runners, is the sheer size of the field. Generally, they are huge!

This means that any serious analysis can take hours just for 1 race. In order to prevent it from taking that long we need to find a way to narrow down the field quickly and effectively.

There are many methods for doing this ranging from simple techniques to advanced mathematical techniques.

I am going to be aiming for somewhere in the middle, it may be a little bit of work to narrow down the field but it will be fairly simple to do.

The first question we must ask ourselves is how many runners are we prepared to look further into detail on?

You may already know that I use a maximum number of contenders as half the field + 1. But, in races of 18 runners and more this still leaves us with a large amount of horses to investigate in detail.

So, the aim for today is to show you how to narrow a field to a maximum of 7 horses to look at in more detail. This then becomes a manageable number to do form reading, or any other type of analysis on.

To start, we are going to use the odds available on the horses. The market must be fully formed before doing this, but for the big races they are usually formed enough the day before racing.

Any horse who has odds of 40 or above we are going to remove from our list. Of course, sometimes a horse with very high odds will win, there is nothing we can do about that. However, they do not win often enough to make them viable betting propositions. It is for this reason that we remove them.

Using the 2000 Guineas race today as an example we see…



2000 Guineas Img 1

As you can see above, this immediately removes 7 runners from the field of 18.

Next, we want a horse has been proven over the going or similar going conditions. The going is one of the most important factors in horse racing and in big fields and it can be critical.

We will determine a horse as having run well over the going by looking for it to have finished within 3 lengths of the winner of the race. This allows us to use the Form feature on the Racing Post to display the last 6 races.

Similar going conditions may include going that is slightly either side of the current races condition. For example, at the time of writing this email the 2000 Guineas going is being declared as Soft. I would consider Good To Soft and Very Soft as similar conditions.

2000 Guineas Img 2

The example
above is for just 1 horse in the race because there is not enough space for me to show them all. However, you can see the going in the last race that Abtaal was in is GS, this stands for Good To Soft. The second circle highlights the lengths behind the winner that he finished. This is shown as 1/4L, or one quarter of a length behind the winner. Abtaal has proven he can race well on the going.

That removes another 3 runners from the field, leaving us with 8 to look at more closely. As soon as we reach 7 or below I shall stop adding more conditions.

The next condition is to use the RTF%. This shows you how likely a stable is to perform to form. Any runner with less than 50% I shall remove.

2000 Guineas Img 3

The RTF% is circled
in red above. Please note that not all horses will have this figure.

This removes one more runner which leaves us with 7 left to analyse in detail.

Because we have reached 7 runners left, we stop here. But, the final condition, should you need it, is to look for runners who have performed over similar distances. This works the same way as for the going condition. We use any distance within + or – 3 furlongs of today’s race, although this is flexible and can be adjusted.

2000 Guineas Img 4

As you can see above, this leaves us with the potential runners Abtaal, Born To Sea, French Fifteen, Hermival, Power and Trumpet Major.

Please note, that I have just realised that in my first screenshot I missed out Saigon who should have been removed due to high odds. This would have meant that we would have removed enough runners after applying the going condition and could have stopped there.

Having done this, you are left with just 7 runners to analyse for your selections. Once I have done the analysis, I usually like to go back closer to the race time and check any horse in the top 3 of the market that I removed by the initial criteria.

I then do a quick analysis on them and decide whether I think they should be reconsidered or not. The reason for this, is that our narrowing down of the field cuts large numbers of horses from the race very quickly. If we have removed any horses that the public thinks has a very good chance of winning then we want to go back and decide whether we agree. If we do, then we decide if the odds are good enough to add them as a bet.

Once you have used this technique on a few races, you will find that it takes just a few minutes to narrow down a big field to 7 or less potential runners.

The question I know you are asking is, do we sometimes remove the winner?

Yes, we do. Nothing will ever be 100% accurate, but it is accurate enough for us to combine with the rest of our knowledge to find profitable selections.

I hope that you make use of this technique, please share it with others and I hope that you enjoy the big meetings this weekend.

Until next week,


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.
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