A Punters Phenomenon

There’s an interesting phenomenon amongst punters finding their own selections. Most bettors feel that they have to place a bet in every race or have a lot of action every day.


Do we need to have a lot of selections every day? Do we need to be able to bet in every race to make a profit?


So what causes this desire to want to do this? I believe it’s a combination of things. The first is a belief that if you have a winning method then it must work in every race.


In my personal experience this is very far from the reality. In fact quite the opposite is true. I usually find that a method that drives profit under one set of race conditions doesn’t work in the same way in all sets of race conditions.

And… this makes perfectly logical sense.

Why would a winning strategy for all weather sprints work in long distance chase races. They are completely different races that ask totally different things from both a horse and jockey.

So the first thing to remember is not to try and make a single method work for all types of races. You should be specialising by looking for the runners that are going to be suited to the conditions of the race.

Next then we approach the subject of over-selecting. Over-selecting actually also covers a number of other areas that we’ll look at in future articles, such as rushing selections.
As we’ve decided that we’re going to be looking for horses suited to a specific set of race conditions. It follows that we shouldn’t be looking for horses in every race unless we have multiple methods of selections.

I often see bettors with a list of twenty or more selections for a day and this tells me one thing… they haven’t spent enough time on their selection process.

Okay I admit, you can make good profits from a high turnover of selections. But I’ve never seen a bettor become profitable by doing this. It’s something that comes later.

And I think this is primarily for two reasons.

The first is that the edge is generally smaller on a big turnover of selections.

And the second is that the betting psychology is harder with a high turnover strategy. You see if you’re betting twenty selections psychology hit a losing run, you could bet twelve, fifteen or even more points down in a single day.

If you aren’t used to losing runs then this is a very difficult barrier to break through,

Now imagine if you had a week of losing runs. You’re now down a large number of units very quickly because your turnover is so high.

And it’s this that most people struggle with, because the majority of people can’t cope with seeing a big loss take place very quickly.

That’s why I urge you. If you’re looking for selections in every race using the same selection process, or if you’re finding a large number of selections every day.

Think again.

Is this actually the way you want to bet? You may find that only finding a single selection a day suits you better. It’s easier to develop, it’s easier to manage, the biggest losing run you can have on a single day is… 1!

I would suggest that this approach, starting with a single selection every day, suits the majority of punters better than having a large number of selections. It’s all-round less stress and easier to maintain and it’s where I would be starting if I was not profitable or break even on my betting.

Of course, once you’re making profits, you can then branch out into new areas, strategies and more selections.

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. In general I would agree with your message but I have just spent a week analysing bets sent to me free by Focus Ratings. They provide a list of three horses for every race of the the day which are rated in sequence. The most likely winner being the top rated.

    They do suggest that you do not follow them blindly but use them as a basis on which to make your bets. They claim a strike rate of over 50% based on winners per race. In actual fact the true figure taking into account all the selections is a third of that figure.

    I have a system I call my rubbish system as it is not very successful. I chose my top rated which one day would give a profit of 25 points then ten days of losses! I adopted the method of betting on the top three rated in every race using Focus Rating selections and my own.

    At the end of the free test Focus Ratings lost 40.17 points my selections made a profit of 51.88 points. Strike rate on all selections by Focus Ratings was 17.7% my strike rate was 17%. Using their method of calculation their strike was 58.8% mine 48.4%.

    Yesterday I had 10 winners out of 14 races. 71% strike rate. Made a loss of 7.61 points.

    1. hi allen did you work out the strategy and what the suited conditions were for the horses u pick using there system

      1. Hi Russ
        I had a system which I devised many years ago which wasn’t very successful, the reason being that I chose the highest rated horse in every race.
        Focus Ratings showed me a new strategy (ie using the first 3 selections) and when I applied it to my ratings it became more profitable.
        I don’t take ground conditions into account when assessing my ratings nor do I use their system.
        It is time consuming when placing bets as you will imagine and not always profitable. The selections are produced as a by-product of other systems i have written. Production of the selections only takes minutes.
        Yesterday I made Gross Profit of 90 odd points, today I have lost 10 points.
        As I have only started to use the method I will continually monitor its progress from top to bottom and side to side. I have already highlighted races which I do not bet on also some horses I do not bet on.

  2. Is this for people who have never placed a bet before or for people that don’t know how to count. You are capable of writing much more interesting and useful articles than this.

    1. Thanks for your comment Chris, I wrote this because I’ve received a lot of emails recently from people who are making this exact mistake of trying to select to many bets a day.

  3. I plead guilty to backing too many horses. I have developed several systems of my own and, as I’m not a great reader of form, if the computer says a horse is a qualifier I back it. I don’t look at race conditions or opposing horses because history suggests that the systems make a profit so I back all qualifiers. I worry that if I try to make judgements on qualifiers I’ll miss out on decent priced winners as well as a few losers.

    I’m not a fan of backing just 1 horse a day. If systems, research or whatever method you use suggest 3 or 4 have good chances you could chose a loser and miss 2 or 3 winners.

    Losing runs take a bit of getting used to but are inevitable. I’ve had a poor run this month but haven’t got upset by it. I just look at the good run I had last month and the bottom-line for the year as a whole and trust that fortunes will turn again.

    1. Thanks for the comment Brian. It sounds like you have the losing runs under control which is the most important thing.

      I certainly agree that if you have a system that finds three or four selections a day then you should back them all. But, you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to find a selection in every race which is something I see punters doing quite often.

  4. Take for your own model BETFAIR prices. If you can get a better price on bookie, than the LAY price on bookie,just make a bet blindly on bookie. You will have a lot of action and a profit on a long run. In this way on sundays you can make more than 100 bets 😉 The problem is just that bookmakers are not going to love you any more and restrict your acounts to minimum… Make money betting is very easy. The bigest problem in betting on sport/horse racing is to make profit on this bookmakers (betfair, pinnacle, sbobet, 12bet, 188bet,dafabet)

    1. Thanks for the comment Lu. You can do exactly that but then you can trade off bets with Betfair so your account with the bookie is always in negative, then they don’t mind so much 😉

      1. Not thru Michael. I will tell you a litle story. I make arbitrage and make a a good money(of course I lose money on pinnacle and betfair). Once I bet on marathonbet 5000€ of course I bet on other side (sbo) around 6000€. Since that bet (1 minute later) my acount was limited to 1€, but I lost my bet on marathon… bookies dont care if you lose or win, they look if you are beting on value. And since that bet on marathon people from my country can make a first deposit of only 1000€.
        I know haw to make 50.000€/year betting on UK horses and I need to bet only 50€/horse. Just bet horses that have better price on bookies than LAY price on betfair. But after two mounts BET365 and betvictor closed me around 20 acount (I clean cookies nad I use dinamic IP, I know how to hide my identety). This bookie didnt look if I make profit,they notice that I bet on value and close also acounts that made a lose. It is posible to hide to a bookamker for long. The only smart thing is to bet around 10€ and they will probably never limit acount (my friend used this strategy for one year)

  5. Hi Michael,
    Once again you have hit the nail on the head.
    I started a system Mar 2011 and it was making a healthy 1pt plus a day from about 7/8 selections a day.
    Over the last nearly 3 years now I have managed to reduce the selections by regular pruning to about 4 selections a day and in the process increased the profits to an average of 4 points a day.
    I was pretty sure that was about as far as i could go but noticed one area i hadn’t touched so i got stuck in and although it took me nearly a month to complete as there was nearly 3300 selections it was certainly worth it.
    System reduced to approx 1700 selections and profit up to 6.3 points per day average. That was six weeks ago and it still averages
    over 6 points per day.
    You only get out of betting what you put in.

    For anybody starting a system a couple of freebies i use with all my systems.
    1. Selections must be able to act on the going.
    2.I never bet under 4/1 bookies SP. You only need 1 winner in 4.


  6. As a corollary to this mornings posting (the first one) there were 21 races today but 3 had odds-0n favourites and I don’t back on that type of race. This left 18 races with 3 selections making 54 bets. Two non-runners reduced the total bets to 52.

    I selected 11 winners and using Betfair SP I made a gross profit of 64.41 points. With losses and Betfair discount the net profit today has been 20.19 points. The loss of yesterday has been forgotten as a thing of the past

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