Mastering Bookie Bashing

I Was A Bookie Runner, Now I'm A Bookie Basher - It Only Took 53 Years!


Episode 1 – Bookie Bashing, My Journey!

Episode 2 – The Betting System

Episode 3 – Adjustments & Rules

Episode 4 – The Final Episode

Episode 1 – Bookie Bashing, My Journey!

Hi Folks,

Michael has kindly asked me if I would do a monthly blog about my betting journey to beat the bookies, selection processes, staking and anything else betting wise I can think of, so here goes.

My name is Stuart, married, 76 and have lived in Belgium for the last 30 years.

Had a great working life, BR steam engine fireman, emigrated to Australia mid sixties, plantation manager in Papua New Guinea then joined an airline there as a Traffic Officer and returned to UK in 1971 and became an Air Loadmaster, flying all over the world, for the next 32 years. I have a weird and wicked sense of humour, do not suffer fools gladly and do not tolerate idiots at all.

My first contact with horse racing came in 1953, when my grandfather persuaded me to become a bookie runner for this pub, where he did most of his drinking, a couple of miles outside Berwick upon Tweed. I did this most of the school holidays from 1953 until 1958 when my folks moved down to the Midlands, my days of easy money were over. I was never allowed to bet, except for once when I put a whole shilling, the equivalent of nearly 2 months pocket money, on ESB in the 1956 Grand National. A lucky win  at 100/7, because Devon Loch ridden by Dick Francis, slipped-up just short of the post allowing ESB to get up. That was my one and only bet until the Internet arrived.

When I was over in OZ a couple of my mates hauled me off to a Two-Up game, “ national pastime” said one. So we get there and find a bunch of blokes throwing two coins up in the air and betting on how they will land, sad.

It must have been about 2000 when I really got into betting on the horses. I used to be in touch with a couple of like minded guys in the UK, and we reckoned between the three of us we could come up with various winning systems. We did, and they mostly didn’t – win that is!  We made a bit of money here and there with some of the systems, but nothing sustainable for long. However, all was not lost as, whenever I came across a nugget of info I thought may  be of use, I jotted it down in a notebook.

In 2005 we bought a newsagents, right on the promenade in Ostend.

For the previous five years my wife had managed a Ladbrokes here, and when we bought the newsagents they couldn’t find anyone to take over from her, so they asked me. Much against my better judgement I agreed. In the next four months until they found somebody to run it permanently, I never saw so much misery in one small room in my life.

The punters would spend hours pouring over the various racing papers, then put all their money on some short-priced favourite, which, most of the time, would promptly lose. This would happen day in, day out. There was only one guy there who used to bet on the UK races, paying a whopping 15% betting tax for the privilege, as opposed to only 13% on the French and Belgian races. I gave him some tips, and he made a steady small profit most weeks. This led me to think about getting into it myself as a way of extra income, just in case the shop didn’t work out, which it didn’t, but that’s another story.

January 2011 was when it all came together. I had plenty time in the shop to peruse the internet daily. I found two pieces of crucial information from the Internet, and remembered something my grandfather had said about 5 years earlier. He said, that only one person knew if a horse stood a chance of winning, and it wasn’t the stable dog. That led me to build a system that ran for 7 years and 3 months. It never had, or even looked like having, a losing month and it averaged, once I had got all the garbage out of it, 5 to 8 points to level stakes per day. It finished with 10488.6 pts on the win side and 5574.6 on the place side.

This was all achieved on the Tote. Using Betfair could probably have made more, but I didn’t see why I should pay out 5% of my hard-earned to them! This is the system which, as of next month, we are going to start from scratch. Well, not quite as I started back in April, because where I am getting my selections from now is different. I just needed to know if there were enough selections, and if they would make money or not. There are and they do.

As of the 21/4 it has made 52.78 on the win side, and 36.4 on the place side, all to one point level stakes, so it seems to be working.

All you will need, if you decide to follow me, is a A5 metal-backed spiral notebook, not plastic as the pages come loose,  and access to Microsoft Word, Excel or Open Office to enable you to make and keep a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is one of, if not the, most important tool to enable you to make a profit from any betting medium.

Just one last thing before I wrap this up for this month. Looking at the title of this blog some of you may think I hate bookies, I don’t, I love them. How else could I sit at home, in front of my computer, listening to CCR or Smokie blasting out from the speakers, and making oodles of dosh, if it wasn’t for them……

Cheers Stuart

Episode 2 – The Betting System

Thanks everybody for your interest,

I have now, hopefully, come-up with the goods.

My aim is maximum profits from minimum selections

The basic system is a Trainer based Win & PLACE, and is as follows:

  1. Trainers with a minimum of 25% win, and or 50% placed runners, over the current season or longer.
  2. Minimum SP for the moment is 7/1, 8/1 on Betfair. My original system minimum was only 4/1, but nearly everything below 7/1 this time loses money, including between 4/1 and 13/2 over 50 pts.
  3. Able to handle the going, not necessary even to have won, or been placed, but finished within 5 lengths if win-based, 10 lengths if place-based selection.
  4. On occasions, I will bet on up to 3 trainers in a race, so long as the lowest SP will cover the remaining selections if they lose. This should not be a problem betting at a minimum of 7/1.
  5. I start off my systems with a 100 bank and bet 2% per selection, increasing every time the bank reaches another 100; 1% win and 1% place or 2% if just using the win or place alone. This gives you 50 losing selections before the bank is finished, and if that is the case, the system is a load of crap, but you have only lost 100 of whatever currency you use. It normally does not take long to be playing with the bookies’ money and not your own.
  6. If your selection is from the place-side, you are restricted to 8 to 14 runners inclusive, but on the win-side there are no restrictions on runners.
  7. No upper limit on SP’s, I’ve had winners at 66/1, and the highest place SP was 150/1.
  8. You must police your systems regularly, or you will continue to be betting on horses, trainers, race classes etc. which are just leaking your profits away.

Case in point with my original system when it was still place only. My first 16 place bets at Wolverhampton all lost, not one place out of 48 possible, so no more betting at WOL.

The longest losing run in my original system was 32 on the win-side, luckily followed by a 33/1 winner and about 15/16 on the place-side.

Overall, I had about 5/6 20+ losing runs on the win-side, so if you can’t get your brain around these stats, I don’t really think that this is for you.

Results for the first 2 months are as follows:

  • Original +68.3 pts = to an average of 1.12 ppd from 547 selections.
  • Version 2 +152.6 pts = to an average of 3.57 ppd from 217 selections
  • Version 3 +378pts = to an average of 6.19 ppd from 143 selections

My current selections come from Sky Sports Racing season stats for Flat and NH trainers, but any site you have with at least the season stats so far, or even 5 year stats, is good.

Hope the above has wetted your appetites – let battle commence!

Apologies in advance if I have missed anything out, just come on the blog and you should have a reply the same day.


Download Spreadsheets

Bookie Basher Place Original Spreadsheet

Bookie Basher Place & Win V3 Spreadsheet

Episode 3 – Adjustments & Rules

Thanks for your continued interest and all the comments and suggestions, both good and bad!

The V1.5 is showing a good starting profit for the first 3 months, with an average of 1.4 ppd, the only change from the Original being making it Win Only instead of Win and Place.

The V2 is now superceded by the V3, and the V3 is averaging a nice 5.1 ppd, with the only proviso that selections must be 7/1 or better, 8/1 on Betfair, and that it now uses all 3 Trainer Stats; Season, 14 days and 7 days, instead of just Sky Sports Season only stat.

Over the next few weeks I will go over both systems to see where the losses are haemorrhaging from, and remove what I can without throwing the baby out with the bath water.

To this end, I have put together various spreadsheets for both the Flat and NH. For example; Trainers, Good and Bad Classes, and Best Class Distances. I hope this will make life a bit easier for you to make your selections, it certainly did for me with my Original system. These will be made available here shortly.

Now the bad news, for these to work, they have to be updated daily or they soon become outdated and of limited use.  However, there is no gain without pain as they say, and your profits should increase in proportion to work you put into making your selections.

Selection Restrictions

V1.5 no SP or number of runners restrictions

V3 Minimum SP 7/1, 8/1 on Betfair and no upper runner restrictions, only minimum of 8 runners if selection comes from Place stats.

A P will be placed at the end of selections from trainer’s Place stats.

Short and sweet this month, but need to put maximum effort into getting these S/S done.

Finding Selections

There are now three versions of the system. Here is how you can find the selections for any of them you’re a member of the Race Advisor Pro Members Club (PMC). It’s quick and easy to do using the following approach.

1) Create A Custom Race Card

First we need to make a race card so that we can find the horses each day quickly and easily.

Bookie Basher Race Card Settings #1

Click on the Settings button form your dashboard and then press the Add New Race Card button.

Bookie Basher Add Race Card

This will show a pop-up where you can access all the ratings on the Race Advisor. Type in “Trainer” and you will see a Trainer SR and Trainer Place SR rating.

Click the + symbol next to each of these and they will move to the right-hand column, and are now on your race card.

Once they’re added to the race card you can name the race card and save it. You are now ready to find the selections each day!

2) Find Selections

The key rule is to find horses where the trainer has a minimum winning strike rate of 25% and place strike rate of 50%.

Using the above ratings you get the strike rate for the entire racing history of the jockey. The Race Advisor PMC also has ratings for the strike rates specific to course and distance, as well as all combinations.

Once you’ve made your race card, choose a race…

Choose the race card you want to use.

Then you can sort the columns to find the trainers with the best strike rates.

There are two horses in this race that meet the win strike rate criteria, but neither of them have a place strike rate of 50% or higher.

If you want to see the trainer strike rate for the last fourteen days, as per the rules in V3. You can see this on every race card here.

Finally we need to check if a horse has come within five or six lengths of the winner over the same going as in today’s race.

In this race the going is Good, which can be seen at the top of the race card.

Clicking on a horses name will open a pop-up window which shows the horses racing history.

You can then see at a glance how many lengths behind the horse was in each race. We can see that on the only Good ground condition this horse came 41.75 lengths behind the winner, so it would fail on this rule.

3) Odds Conditions

The rest of the conditions for finding selections are based on the odds of the horse.

This can be found easily on your Race Advisor PMC race cards. Every single race card is connected live to Betfair and you can see the odds immediately.

Depending on which version of the system you’re using will depend on the odds rules you’re going to use. You can see the three different versions of the system below.

As we refine it these rules will be continuously updated.

Betting System Rules For The Three Versions

There have been three versions of this system so far. Each time we refine it we will make a new version so that we can see the history of how it’s developed.

The rules are currently…

Version 1.5


2. My Selections are from season only stats min Win…25% and Place…50%

3. No SP restrictions and no runner restrictions either Win or Place

4. Must be able to act on the going, not necessarily won or placed before but within 5–6 lengths of the winner seems ok ref some replies. I used to use 5 lengths for a win and 10 lengths for a place so just use what you are happy with, it is not set in concrete.

5. My betting preference is to start with a 100 bank and bet 2 % floating per selection and stop increasing when each selection is 25.

1 to 199…2

200 to 299…4

300 to 399…6 and so on.

This way you always have 50 bets before you lose your bank of 100

Version 2

This has been superseded by V 3 but here are the rules if anyone still wants to use it.

1. WIN and PLACE

2. Selections as No 2 above

3. Min 7/1 SP restriction and minimum 8 runners, no upper limit, if a place selection. Irrespective of which side the selection is from it is for Win and Place bet unless you are personally using just one or the other, your choice.

4. As above

5 As above but using 2 separate 100 banks if using both Win and Place.

Version 3

1. WIN and PLACE

2. Selections from season only, 14 days and 7 days min WIN 25% and PLACE 50%

3. As V 2 above

4. As no 4 in V 1.5

5. As No 5 in V 1.5 and V 2 above

What To Do Next

Start finding the selections yourself, and come and join in the conversation in the forum. I am regularly posting my selections in the forum here.

If you have any questions, suggestions or would like any more information, please leave a comment below or come and chat here.

Best regards


Episode 4 – The Final Episode

Hi Folks,

This will be the final blog.

It achieved what I set out to do, and that was to reinvent my old system that used to average between 5 and 8 points per day.

July saw an average of 7.3 points per day, something I really did not think it would do, as it took 2 – 3 years of tweaking to achieve that with the original version.

FINAL V3 Version

1 Trainers minimum 25% Win SR, Place 50%. Use either or both. I use Sky Racing for my stats, but any site will do especially Race Advisor with their wealth of expertise.

2 Must have won or at least came fairly close to winner on similar going in previous races. I used 5 lengths for win and 10 for place, but a common consensus from readers of the blog reckon 2 lengths for win and 5 for place more reasonable.

3 Minimum SP 4/1 or 5/1 on Betfair and similar sites.

4 No upper restriction on runners only minimum of 8 if selection comes from place stats.

What I did with my system can be done with any system where a SS is kept.

It only makes good sense to get rid of losing trainers, distances, tracks etc so you can increase your profit. This is a bit time consuming but well worth the effort, as my bank balance showed when I finally stopped my system.

July SS, Good Trainers, Bad Trainers SS are available below for those that want them.

Many thanks for those who took an interest in the blog, I sincerely hope you make good profits from it.

My thanks to Michael for allowing the blog in the first place, and to Nicola for ensuring it was posted every month.

I am now taking a sabbatical from racing as I have too much work in the house and garden over the next few months. However, in what spare time I have, I will be testing 2 systems. One averages about 2 points per day, and the other about 4 points per day. I am looking at trying to combine them into one super system.


Trainers Good & Bad Classes

Trainers Good & Bad Class NH

Pro Place + Win V3


Born 1942 at Berwick upon Tweed. Married to Viviane from Luxemburg. Hobbies are Metal Detecting/Treasure Hunting and Flight Sims. Have 2 cats a whippet and a greyhound. Wasted a Grammar/Boarding School education by becoming a fireman on steam engines with BR. Emigrated to Australia, then became a Plantation Manager in Papua New Guinea. Returned to UK in 1971 and spent next 31 years flying all over the world as an Air Loadmaster. Managed a Ladbrokes betting shop for 4 months then we bought a Newsagents. Having a newspaper shop gave me plenty of spare time to hone my betting skills, and come up with systems that were very successful.


  1. Hi Stuart – thanks for a very fascinating read. Looking forward to read more about your system which seems to be extraordinarily good.

    1. Civvie only Doug, think the only airline I worked for that didn’t go bankrupt is Cargolux and they came close in 1982 when they got rid all 16 of us Loadies.

    2. Real entertainin’ & informative Tale, Stuart… Much appreciated. Look forward to the further details… Where do I find the “For um” for Selections, please? ~ Thanx, PaulJo $

      1. Hi PaulJo, If you are already a member of RA just click on forum and put in your email and password, if not got to , when the screen comes up just put in you email and send. you will then get an email shortly after giving directions what to do next, it is free….Stuart

    1. Sorry Mark that was a reply to Ken you got by mistake. Only use the Tote. stuart

  2. “This was all achieved on the Tote. Using Betfair could probably have made more, but I didn’t see why I should pay out 5% of my hard-earned to them! “. This is a strange thing to say given the Tote takeout is 19.25%/

    1. True Andrew, but as Betfair is totally banned in Belgium, along with vitually all other major bookmakers, beggars can’t be choosers. On the Tote they don’t care who wins or how much and a lot of the time, especially with big priced wiinners, the Tote pays out way above the SP but it is swings and roundabouts.

    2. So, nothing to do with who takes your bet and at what charge. You’ve no legitimate choice, you have to bet with Fred Donne/Tote.. Yes, industry SP is generally poor on longshots but again not an option for you.

      1. Hi Andrew, thats about it in a nutshell, however its what ended up in my bank account that matters. Average win SR was 26% and average WIN SP 8 so for every 100 I invested I made 134 pts clear profit. Average SR for the PLACE side was 67% at a PLACE win of an average of 2pts so for every 100I invested I made 101pts clear profit, so no complaints. Stuart

  3. A brilliant story Stuart. Looking forward to the next episode. Regards, Carl

  4. Sounds like an experienced betting man doing well with the racing. Would like to hear more of your wise words

    1. Hi Moss, one thing comes to mind that my grandfather told me, 60 + years ago and that was, finding winners was easy, not finding too many losers was the difficult part. Still holds true today.

  5. Hi Stuart, hope you’re well! Very interesting read, may i use only exchanges (Betfair, Smarket,..) with your system and when is your next blog next month sorry didn’t see any exact date and i definitely don’t want to miss it i’m very much looking forward to read it! Thanks

    1. Hi Fred , thanks for the interest. It will be published in the 2nd week of every month and yes you can use any betting medium you want, bookmakers , tote or exchanges…..Stuart

      1. Hi Stuart, Will the System in question be published in Full, in June’s Blog, or peacemeal over time. Thanks Colin

        1. Hi Colin, Yes it will, then I will start a thread on the forum with the days selections and only use the monthly blog for what rubbish to throw out, if any, plus all the good or bad stats to put in a notebook, which then becomes your racing bible. Anyone who has published anything, unless they do not want it, will get SS of the 2 months results so far. The full original copy, warts and all, and the 2nd copy with what rubbish I have taken out so far….Stuart

  6. HI Emma, yes it was, I just hope it can repeat itself. I am trying to cram 3 years of getting rid of the rubbish, before achieving an average of 5-8 ppd, into just a few months but so far so good as my next cut has it up to +6.1ppd but i need another month’s data to see if it can sustain or better this. …………Stuart

  7. Hi Stuart,
    Can you explain further your references here and on the emessage board to, ‘clean outs’, ‘rubbish taken out’, ‘next cut’ and ‘once i’d taken all the garbage out’?
    From what I can glean, you are using different sources of information for a system/method you have used previously. It appears to be making a profit over the short time you have been using the new sources but it seems you are removing factors to improve the return. Your mention of the two folders suggests this process will be ongoing. Is this right?

    1. Hi Andrew, yep you are pretty well spot on. Main problem apart from having to use a new site to get my selections is that I am trying to condense 3 years + pruning into a few months. If you do not go through your previous results and throw the garbage out you keep betting on the same losing trainers, race classes and on the flat and AW even distances in the classes. all will be revealed including the spreadsheets for those that want them…..Stuart

      1. Thanks Stuart. I’d love to receive the spreadsheets please. is there a reason you’re not giving us the details to follow along straightaway?

        1. Hi Andrew, The system will be published tomorrow, selections on the forum, not too good so far this month, and I will get spreadsheets out SASPO…Stuart

  8. Hello Stuart,amazing to read. I’m German and in the same league as you. Betfair and other exchanges and also all major bookmakers have stopped to serve Germany with horse betting some years ago already due to our stupid tax laws. Can’t wait to get your amazing system to work with. Thanks in advance for giving us this opportunity. Regards Gerald

  9. Hi Gerald, didn’t realise Germany had all those restrictions too. I know a lot of people including some of friends do not like betting into a tote Pool as they cannot guarantee what the return will be will be and this seems to freak them out but me I can live with it quite happily Regards Stuart

  10. Hi Stuart – looking forward to your system. Do you have an average of the number of daily selections ? Also is the system a set and forget one where you place the bets in the morning and leave them to it ?

  11. Hi Andy, original sys for Apr and May was about 8pd, version 2 which runs for June is about 4pd and V3 which will follow is at the moment about just over 2pd. You need to get at least 7/1, 8/1 on Betfair, so if the selections are hovering around 7/1 it might be better to wait till nearer the off if possible. Larger odds are no problem. Pt 2 will be published on Saturday. I would however paper trade at least for this month and probably July as well, as by then I should have managed to get rid of a lot of the bad selections….Stuart

  12. Hi Stuart, looking forward to seeing the system, curious as to why a A5 metal-backed spiral notebook is required

  13. Hi Martin, sorry about that, no you don’t. Everything will be put into a spreadsheet then you can update every day. Selections for today up on forum… Stuart

  14. Hi
    This system looks incredibly impressive so thanks for sharing this Stuart. As for the points I looked at the comments update in the email and they said version 3 Is getting the best results and when I looked at the spreadsheet it has the best overall points profit and daily ave profit so I’ll stick with version 3.
    I have one other question in the staking part you state 2% of the bank and then up to max 25% and the 25% staking is achieved at £1300 on the spreadsheet. 25% of 1300 is £325 but your figures don’t reflect this so I’m guessing it was meant to read £ instead of %. Should the staking be £2-£25 max.
    Please confirm when you get a chance. I have to say if I can replicate anywhere near what you have achieved I’ll be delighted and very grateful for the time you have spent devising and explaining this system it’s a revelation to me as is Racing Advisor which looks great from what I’ve looked at so far.

  15. Thanks for posting Stuart. It was an interesting journey and demonstrated how trainer stats can be used as a basis for a strategy.

    I think you need to be a little more ‘up front’ about your spreadsheets though. These are records of qualifying horses AFTER A SET OF LOSING HORSES BY TRAINER have been removed. In other words, they look back at what the method would have delivered had certain trainers not been included. They do not represent a record of all qualifying trainers’ selections ‘going forward’.

    That is not to say the method wasn’t profitable going forward. It may have been to a greater or lesser extent depending on what prices were achieved, what staking was used and how the subjective elements were interpreted. It’s just that the sheets do not record this and it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as profitable as the backfitted sheets suggest.

    I’m not doubting that you had a successful method in the past and that this involved eliminating qualifying trainers as you went along and they started to show a loss. But we need to be clear, the spreadsheets do not record the selections up to the point of elimination. They show how it would have been had those trainers not been included in the first place.

  16. Hello, just found this and thought it was an interesting read – does this continue to make profit or did the results drift away ?

  17. Hi Michael.Stuart

    I missed this subject first time around (not sure how) and was wondering if I could get hold of the sreadsheets as the links do not seem to be working. Many thanks in advance.

    Kind Regards


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