KISS – Keeping It Simple, Stupid

You’ve probably heard the phrase KISS before. I got an email from a reader asking if I could show a method of finding contenders that was very simple. He didn’t want to get into the statistics or anything complex. Just something simple that could enhance his enjoyment of racing.

This got me thinking. After all, I usually write with a focus of profitable and pro betting, rather than as a hobby that could be profitable. And so today, just this once, I’m changing tact.

Okay, I’ll admit upfront that the aim is still definitely to be as profitable as possible. But the difference in todays article is that I’m not going to write about how you have to break down into specific race conditions. I’m not going to be putting stat after stat up showing details of how you can make a profit from a specific niche. I’m not going to be looking at staking, handicapping, advanced form reading and the other techniques I favour.

At this precise moment you’re probably thinking…

What the hell is he going to write about?

And I’m not surprised. After all I’ve knocked out pretty much everything to do with betting on the horses haven’t I?

Well nearly, but not quite.

Today I’m going to show you something I will probably never do again.

I’m going to show you how you can find the most likely contenders in a race without looking at any race conditions, without needing any special ratings and without needing to spend any time.

That’s a pretty big claim, but over the rest of this post I’m going to do my best to make sure that I come through on it for you.

Okay let’s get stuck into how we’re going to do this.

The first step is…

1) Only look at the first half of the field (based on odds) and ignore any selection that is 20/1 or higher.

The reasoning behind this is that the winner comes from the first half of the field the vast majority of the time and horses at odds of 20/1 higher don’t win often enough to make them viable selections for this method.

To do this we open a race, I’m using Sporting Life in the examples below.

KISS Image 1

We want to take the top half of the field and with nine runners that means 5 horses as we always round up. The first thing we do is sort the race card by the odds which now looks like:

KISS Image 2

We can see that this gives us the horses No No Mac, The Clock Leary, Silent Knight, Cusheen Bridge and Ampleforth to look at.


Cusheen Bridge and Ampleforth both have odds above 20/1 and so we don’t include those, leaving us with just the other three runners to focus on.

So in step one we have already significantly narrowed the field down to just a few runners who we can consider further.

Next we’re going to look at the last form figures and these are displayed on the left hand side of the horse as shown below…

KISS Image 3

This brings us to step two:

2) Only look for horses that have had at least two runs in the current season, unless the last season was within four weeks

What this means is that we want a horse to have raced in the current season. The only exception is if the change in seasons has been in the last four weeks then we can consider the last season as well.

All of our potential selections meet this criteria and so we can move on to step three. And this is…

3) Check the last four races and make sure that they came 2.5 lengths or closer to the winner in at least one race that was at the same or better class as todays race.

KISS Image 4

As you can see in the image above, the class for this race is four. This means that we need to check each runners form to see if they finished 2.5 lengths or better from the winner in a class four or higher race. Don’t forget when you are looking at class the lower the number the better the class. That means that we can have a horse finishing a class of four or lower.

KISS Image 5

Only No No Mac’s last race on the 6th December 2013 and the previous race on the 2nd November 2013 where a class four or better. In these races he finished 7 and 11.75 lengths behind the winner.

This removes this runner from our possible contenders.

KISS Image 6

The Clock Leary has only had one race this season, the last race, which was a class four and this race found him coming 13.25 lengths behind the winner.

The Clock Leary is no longer considered a selection.KISS Image 7

Silent Knight has not yet raced at all. In this situation we use the market to help us to determine whether this runner will be a selection or not. To do this we head over to Betfair.

When you get to Betfair go to the Win market for the race and select the little graph icon next to the horse we are interested in.

KISS Image 8

When you click on this icon you will get a pop-up window appear with a graph in it. The graph will look similar to this…

KISS Image 9

We are interested in one thing, seeing that the graph has an overall average downwards slope. You can see this by drawing a line through the middle of it:

KISS Image 10

As you can see above, Silent Knight has an average downward slope and so this horse remains as a contender.

By the end of this three step process you could be left with anything from a few runners to none. If there are none left then you simply move on to the next race.

But if you do have some runners left, then it’s time to look at how we’re going to bet them.

The whole purpose of this article is to keep things simple and with that in mind, if you have more than one runner left then you are going to place a dutch bet.

Dutching is where you place a bet on each of the runners so that you make the same profit should any of them win. If you’re unsure of how to do this then you can check out this article on dutching here.

If you’ve only got one selection left then you have two possible ways of betting, Win only or Each Way.

Of course there are many potential but for this particular approach we’re keeping it simple.

And to make the decision automatic this is how we choose whether we’re going to bet for Win or Each-Way…

WIN BETS – You place a win bet if the odds on the horse are 4/1 or lower.

EACH-WAY BETS – You place an each-way bet if the odds on the horse are greater than 4/1.

So there you have it, a fast and simple way to find the contenders in a race! Get stuck into using it and if you’d like to leave me a comment below, 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. I found this method very interesting and not too complicated to follow. Only trouble is, it’s still going to take a fair bit of time to implement, and with races coming thick and fast I’m not sure I’ll have the discipline to put it into practice. But I’d be very interested to know if others do and have good results from it.

      1. There is no such thing as the “right races” you can make a profit in any type of race conditions and you will adjust this strategy as you use it to suit your own preferences, even if you don’t realise you’re doing it.

        You should start on the races that you find most interesting because these are the ones you will understand the best and enjoy analysing the most making the work of analysing fun.

  2. Michael
    If the horse has had the two or more runs in the season but has not had four races altogether does it still qualify and also if it has not raced why look at the betfair graph surely this does not qualify either.

  3. Hi Michael’,
    The KIES system is even better.
    Keep it even simpler.
    Having said all that, finding the selections is easy but making good profits means a bit more work going through your Spreadsheet every few months, everyone keeps one I hope, and getting rid of all the loss making garbage in it.

    Started 13/09/2015 and as of yesterday Win Profit 1435.7 pts, Plc Profits 664.6 pts which makes an average of 6.46 pts profit to level stakes, using the Irish Tote as Betfair and UK Tote banned in this wondrous little A******* country of Belgium.


  4. Hi Stuart,

    Can you explain exactly how you go about selecting your horses.
    For eg , what type of races ( handicaps etc)
    What do you exactly mean by top OR , the system outlined by michael discussed adding and dividing horses last 6 races and then averaging out all.
    -Going , does horse have had to win in todays going or merely have had a good run


    kind regards

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