1000 Points In One Year Of Laying, Is It Possible?

I had an email from a reader after writing the article on ‘How Important Are Recent Finish Positions’ suggesting the possibility of using this as the basis of a lay system. I thought that we would investigate this today using estimated Betfair prices to assess the profitability of the lay bets.

In the last article we discovered that when betting to win it is important that when taking the finish position of the last race a horse was in we also take into account the number of days since the horse last ran and the class the horse is going to be racing in.

The email suggested that we start from the basis of looking at laying horses who won their last race as these horses had a strike rate of 17.47% which is odds of 5.72. If we look at laying all the horses who won last time out we get:

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
9304 7641 82.13 1329.9 0.01

At first glance this looks brilliant. By just betting on all horses who won their last race we made an estimated profit of 1329.90 units (after Betfair commission) over the course of 1 year, with a strike rate of 82.13%. Unfortunately our ROI is only 1%. Lay betting return on investment is usually less than backing but 1% does not allow for any margin of error. The other problem is that a few of the odds were estimated at 700 and 800. There are people who lay these horses but I don’t want to be one of them! Knowing that we expect these horses to have average odds of just under 6 I ran the same test but limited the horses to odds of greater than 5/1. This produced the below results.

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
4577 4234 92.51 207.63 0.003

Although the strike rate increases and the profit decreases, which is expected, the return on investment decreases. This is because by only using higher odds we are risking more money for the smaller profit. We have lost over 4500 races by removing the runners less than 5/1 and these are the lowest odds. It may be possible to make a profit by just looking at the horses below odds of 5/1.

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
4292 3037 70.76 1090.57 0.13

As you can see most of our profit has come from those horses that are priced under 5/1. There is a slight discrepancy in the amount of runners because I did not include horses priced exactly at 5/1. We now have a 70.76% strike rate with the highest estimated Betfair odds at 6.15,a profit of over 1000 units and a return on investment of 13%. This could definitely be the start of a good laying system but it is important to remember that this has been analysed over just one year of data and it would be important to test over other years to see if it still holds up.

Before I finish this article I would like to take a quick look at what happens if we use one of the filters that we discovered in our last article. We discovered that horses running again within 8 – 42 days from their last race and who won their last race win much more often. Let us take a look at using this filter on its own and turn it for laying. All horses that won their last race and are not running again within 8 – 42 days from the race produce lay bet results of:

Runners Winners Win S/R P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
633 411 64.93 1658.29 1.59

Now we are beginning to shape up with a good looking system. A much lower strike rate but in return we are making over 1600 units profit in 1 year with a return of investment of over 150%.

Please don’t get too excited as more testing would need to be done. This has only been tested on data over a period of year and would need to be tested over more years to see if it continues to hold up. I would also suggest that it was tested live for a while as while the Betfair estimates are pretty accurate, there is the possibility that this may affect the results.

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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. Perhaps you could break those results down
    into groups ie: Fillies, Geldings, Maidens etc ?


  2. Thank you very much for writing an article and examining my suggestion of last time out winners for lay purposes. The results certainly looked very interesting. Did the last table you showed that excluded runners returning between 8-42 days also include the price filter of below 5/1?

    Also I wonder if the strike rate for laying horses seeking a 3rd consecutive win might be even higher with the average odds even lower?


  3. Graham, I can further explore this if you are interested. I shall put together an article next week with the break-downs. If there are any other break-downs you would like then let me know

    Paul, it is my pleasure. I want any readers who are interested to take an active part in the investigations on the blog. The last table excluded the runners returning between 8-42 days and included the price filter. We can look at what happens with horses going for a third consecutive win as well.

    If any of our readers are interested in finding the selections for these daily and posting them for our readers with an update of the results in the evening then please get in touch with me using the contact form.


  4. After having instigated this idea with my enquiry I thought I’d record some live data on this.

    The data i have collected sp far is as follows:-

    Started on 8th Feb and is upto and including all of todays (25th feb) qualifiers.

    A qualifier is any horse that won last time out and is racing again outside of the 8 to 42 days window. I have included only those horses which met the above and were priced at 6 or below on their betfair SP.

    This has given me
    81 selections
    25 winners or Losing Lays
    Giving a strike rate of 69%

    Here’s the interesting bit. I have recorded the results in 2 different ways. Firstly to a simple £10 lay at betfair SP. Secondly I have worked out the returns if laying to a fixed £10 liability to betfair sp’s.

    Method 1 shows a small loss at present of -£4.5 or just under 1/2 a point.

    Method 2 2 however shows a very decent profit of £172.12 or over 17 points.

    On the face of it that seems very good. I need to point out though that nearly all the profit was from 2 particular results. Denman was beaten at 1.17 giving nearly £59 winnings and Zaynar was beaten at 1.09 giving over £110 winnings. I am not sure whether these should be seen as proof of the systems ability or simply a couple of fluke results.

    It is only a small sample of live data at present but would be interested in any comments all the same.

    Paul (becksfan)

  5. As you mentioned it just a small sample of data at the moment and after removing the two large winners for method 2 it would have resulted in a small loss on method 2 as well. Have you tried breaking down the results you have so far into either different race types or more odds brackets? You may find that using method 2 on lower priced horses results in a better profit overall, for example.

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