System, Let’s Make A Winning One! – The Final

It is the third week of our system build and things have been going well. If you haven’t had a chance to read what we did in week 1 and week 2 then please have a look and send in your thoughts.

Last week we ran a poll to see whether you would prefer backing favourites or non-favourites. 68% of you preferred to bet on non-favourites and 32% chose favourites. This told me that while the preference was for non-favourites there was also some consideration needed for the favourites in races. The benefits of using favourites is that the strike rate is increased but for the following method I ultimately chose to go with the preference of our readers and look at non-favourites as this also helped to increase the profit and ROI which were the top results in our poll for week 1.

That is enough chatter for now, it is time to carry on with making our system. This week I decided to use a piece of software available to everyone called Proform Professional (they have offered a discount of 25% to Race Advisor readers who use the code PRORAT25) to create the system. I did this because I received an email asking if it was possible to create profitable systems without your own database. Of course it is I replied and I thought I should backup my reply by using it here.

If you remember from last week we are concentrating on class 6 and 7 races on all-weather tracks. Although I am going to have to cut out a lot of the process (we don’t want this to turn into a thesis) there are going to be quite a few tables in this article but I think it is important to show you as much of the process that I went through to get to this stage.

Straight away I decided to remove all favourites and second favourites as well as any joint 1st and 2nd favourites. The first extra piece of information I wanted to look at was to see how the results looked if I only looked at horses who were beaten in their last race by 0.5 to 1.5 lengths. I know you are thinking that this means they weren’t winners! By not looking for horses who won but horses that ran a good race, we are looking for runners that may not be so heavily bet in their next race (in other words value horses) but have still showed merit in their performance.

This gave us the results below:

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
2005 198 20 10.1 -30 -15.15 9.53 4.81
2006 408 40 9.8 -38 -9.31 58.98 14.46
2007 474 52 10.97 -5.67 -1.2 102 21.52
2008 368 46 12.5 22.83 6.2 113.85 30.94

This didn’t produce the best results to SP even though we made a profit to the Betfair SP Estimate (a very useful feature). A logical way to try and create a better profit is to only consider horses whose last race was on the same race type as the race we are looking at. If we narrow down to only horses whose last race was on the all-weather we get the results below.

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
2005 151 18 11.92 7.5 4.97 45.94 30.42
2006 349 36 10.32 -10 -2.87 80.97 23.2
2007 397 42 10.58 -3.5 -0.88 91.18 22.97
2008 315 40 12.7 14.33 4.55 89.58 28.44

Well a pretty good start, we are already profitable in two out of four years and that is to SP. We are profitable to the Betfair SP Estimate in every year. On top of that we have a nice number of runners each year and didn’t lose too many by reducing just to all-weather horses in the last race. The strike rate is a bit low and of course we haven’t tested it in the year 2009 to see if it holds up.

However we can do better than that, this was just our first attempt! It is all very good that we are looking at horses within a certain distance of the winner but what happens if it was a tight 10 runner race and eight of the runners were within our distance. In this situation we don’t want to be considering them all, we only want the ones who had the slight edge over the others. With this in mind I added a rule to only consider horses that had finished in fourth position or better in their last race as well.

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
2005 136 17 12.5 1.5 1.1 30.45 22.39
2006 300 34 11.33 14.5 4.83 97.71 32.57
2007 333 36 10.81 -1 -0.3 78.11 23.46
2008 288 38 13.19 20.83 7.23 91.14 31.65

There are now only losses in the year 2007 to SP and that is just one unit and the strike rate has improved very slightly. Things are looking good so far but we want to be profitable in all years to SP, if we can then beat SP slightly by taking Betfair SP odds or early odds at the bookmakers with our selections we shall be making a good profit. By searching through the results I found out that our selections performed much worse in races with two year olds.

I like to have a valid reason for putting any rule into a system; if it doesn’t make sense to me then I don’t use it. Over the years I have discovered that the rules that don’t make sense tend not to work in the future. It would make sense that races with two year olds are going to be slightly less predictable because we have horses with little form who may be improving rapidly. These horses are going to be hard to judge and so by sticking to races with a minimum age of three we can increase our profitability.

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
2005 129 16 12.4 3.5 2.71 31.82 24.67
2006 296 34 11.49 18.5 6.25 101.71 34.36
2007 302 33 10.93 4 1.32 76.94 25.48
2008 277 37 13.36 23.83 8.6 92.71 33.47

There we have it, we are now profitable in every year to SP. Okay I know that 2005 and 2007 weren’t exactly hugely profitable but at least they were in profit. If you were betting to Betfair SP then you would have made a very good profit every single year. The strike rate hasn’t increased much and so we are betting on higher priced horses (average odds around 11.00 in fact) but they are making us a profit. The next step is to look at our trial year and see if the system holds up for 2009.

Year Runners Winners Win S/R P/L to SP ROI to SP P/L BFSP EST ROI BFSP EST
2005 129 16 12.4 3.5 2.71 31.82 24.67
2006 296 34 11.49 18.5 6.25 101.71 34.36
2007 302 33 10.93 4 1.32 76.94 25.48
2008 277 37 13.36 23.83 8.6 92.71 33.47
2009 238 27 11.34 2.75 1.16 60.29 25.33
2010 91 11 12.09 -6 -6.59 10.09 11.09

You can see above that the system holds up in 2009 with 2.75 units profit to SP and 60.29 to Betfair SP Estimate. 2010 is not profitable to SP yet but we are less than half way through the expected number of bets in the year and is only very slightly down so we can expect that to turn around. Of course to Betfair SP Estimate it is just profitable.

Above is a profitable system using just seven simple rules and information that can be found in any paper or website. It was created using the commercially available Proform. Of course it took more trial and error than I showed here but I hope I have shown the general method.

Will it continue to be profitable? A question I can’t answer but there is no reason it shouldn’t continue to be. Can it be made better? Of course, but I have taken you this far and you can now continue to improve it through your own analysis or daily handicapping to finalise a system to be added to your portfolio. That way we may preserve the odds on offer for these 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. form:horsemangg aka glen

    hi yes i quite enjoyed looking at how you piced your system together and the ideas to make it more profitable now i`d just like to throw 1 or 2 things in the mix and if you have time to take a look not for the whole period you covered but say 2009 & 2008 as tou have the whole year to look at ok now i know you did this with the intention of leaving favourits out but as it is said that favourits win 30% somthing of time why not try an claw some of that back but to keep our profit margins and to keep with our higher SP i would suggest the system goes no lower than 7/2 3/1 as we see favs coming in at these prices every day and dont forget lots of 9/2`s so keeping to every thing already set out we can now back the favourits only at these prices and better i also wonder in the races you looked at how meny was won by familey members with only 1 horse at the meeting by this i mean the (Hill`s brothers rideing for Barry Hill`s) and (Adrian Nicholls rideing for Dandy Nicholls)as these combinations and other such family connections can popup at nice odds i would add too (course and distance)winners as you know these allweather course are vastly diffrent from each other and horses that win at one or even two do not win at all of them so i wonder how the system would proform with the 3 extra rules added
    food for thought i think.

    1. Hi Glen, thank you for your comments. I have been approached by another reader also asking about favourite systems. I am working on a favourite selection strategy at the moment that I shall post about as soon as it is ready.

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