The Secrets Of Building A Killer Betting System – Part 1

This is the first of a series of articles which is going to look at how you can build killer betting systems time and time again. It’s going to break apart some myths and share with you some of the techniques that are being used to create winning system after winning system.

If you want to make a profit from your betting then you need to be doing things differently to the majority of the betting public. And that’s true whether you’re reading form or building systems.

Most system builders are built around preset questions or filters. For example…

Include horses that have had at least 10 days since they last raced AND whose trainers have a 17% or higher strike rate

Yes there’s a large amount of variables we can change, we could have 12 days or 52 or days or we could change the trainer strike rate to 17.5% or 23% but…

…are we really doing things differently?

Are we really asking different questions to every other punter out there?

Not really no.

What we’re doing is taking the questions most punters are asking and running them through a database to get the answer faster.

So we have the benefit of speed, but we’re not asking anything different.

And we know that we need to be asking the different questions if we’re going to make a profit.

So how do we do this?

First of all we have to re-align our thinking from “How do we make a profit” to “What horses are most likely to be competitive in THIS race”.

There are very few races where only one horse has a strong chance of winning and, with that in mind, we need to be looking for all the horses that are likely to be competitive in the race.

Only when we know who all these runners are can we ask the question… “How do we bet on these strongest runners to make the most profit?”

Ultimately we want to solve the problem of finding who will win a horse race, if we solve that problem then we’ll make a profit by definition. By not going into our analysis looking for a profit at the beginning, we’re making a fundamental change to our thinking.

Now that we’ve made this fundamental change to the way that we think, we can begin to look at how to answer questions differently to everyone else.

The best way of doing this is to use ratings and ratings that the majority of the betting public don’t have access to. If you’re a Racing Dossier member then you’ll know that I use hundreds of ratings and there’s a good reason for this.

You see, there are only five main factors in racing:

  • Form
  • Speed
  • Pace
  • Fitness
  • Connections

Everything can be put into one of these factor groups. But, there are many ways to measure each of these. Let’s take form as an example. We could create ratings that look at recent performance, preference to race conditions, collateral form, form improvement etc…

And then, for each one of these ratings in the group, there are multiple ways of measuring it.

Now you may be wondering why you’d want to measure the same thing in different ways. At first look it doesn’t seem to make sense.

But… it’s measuring the same thing from different ways will end making you a lot more profit. By doing this you’re effectively giving different importance to the things that go into the rating each time, and different sets of race conditions will find different measurements of the same factor more effective!

So, what you need to do is write down every factor that you think is important and the reason why. Then you need to write down, under each factor, all the different methods of calculating it.

You’ll end up with at least 3 methods for each factor and some could have 10 or 20 methods!

Then in the next part of this series we’ll look at the race conditions.

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. Interesting article Michael. One factor which interests me which is probably overlooked is the actually atmospheric conditions on the day. A horse might have (seemingly) everything in it’s favour on a given day.
    He’s got the right distance and going and he’s beaten rivals in the race previously. Yet he flops. Why?
    Could it be that when he won previously on (say) Good to Soft it was either coldish or mild and he liked the conditions. In the race he gets beaten in the going is the same – G/S – but it is a close, muggy day and he does not like it. So although he seems to have everything in his favour he actually hasn’t.
    It’s the same with people. Some adapt to close, muggy conditions while others sweat buckets. I often walk in the Battle area and usually finish up walking up the long slope by the side of the battlefield towards Battle itself. I usually do it fairly easily especially as a few pints await in the Battle pubs. But when it’s close and muggy I tend to flag and plod up the slope.
    The point is that the distance is the same and the underfoot conditions may be muddy each time but the atmospheric conditions are not the same. One week I may casually stroll up the hill but the next week I may be struggling somewhat.
    It may be nothing when applied to horse racing but it could be an angle which explains why ‘good things’ flop badly when they seem to have everything in their favour.

    1. Atmospheric conditions is a tricky one and there’s a of argument about whether it affects or not. My personal opinion is that it probably does make a difference. But, the big issue is that there’s no way of effectively measuring it’s affect on different horses. For example one horse may require a higher temperature and humidity to be affected while another has a lower threshold. There’s no way for us to know or measure these differences between runners which makes it impossible to use. At least, I’ve never found or heard of a good way yet. For that reason I leave it to be part of the “fudge factor” rating which should be included in all betting models to allow for information that has either been mistakenly estimated or cannot be estimated.

  2. Michael has it right here, I think – there simply isn’t an effective way of measuring the effect of atmospheric conditions. My view is that warm and muggy conditions, for example, affect all animals performance in the same way, which is not to say that some can’t handle such coditions better than others. It is often said, for example, that some horses prefer heavy going. I don’t believe this to be true: running in a quagmire is difficult for all horses and I doubt any of them would choose it. Given that they don’t have the choice, it is clear that some handle it better than others not that they like it! The point is, that adverse conditions are difficult for all the horses and my feeling is that it is better to avoid betting when such conditions pertain rather than trying to find runners which might perform in such conditions. There are always plenty of opportunities when the conditions are nicely balanced, when the form is settled and reliable to afford one the luxury of ignoring those times when conditions make things more difficult for horse and punter. They don’t call it “good” ground for nothing.

  3. Hi – definitely need an edge. Even with an edge, what if the horse is having a bad day??? We all have these! This is why I prefer to lay than back. Can any backing system allow for the above?

    1. We can only allow for that in our model as a “fudge factor” rating. However if you have a sufficient edge then this will be able to cope with the times when a horse just has a bad run.

  4. Always find your blogs very interesting Michael opens my mind and gets me thinking which one must keep doing in this game as you know. Another one of the many factors that could be added into our strongest list is the eyecather ie was unlucky in running never got a clear run, bad ride etc, as a result can underestimate his current OR.

  5. Always find your blogs very interesting Michael opens my mind and gets me thinking which one must keep doing in this game as you know. Another one of the many factors that could be added into our strongest list is the eyecather ie was unlucky in running never got a clear run, bad ride etc, as a result can underestimate his current OR.

    Lost original reply.

    1. Thanks Shay. Absolutely, that’s definitely another one. The problem with these kind of factors is that they’re very difficult to calculate automatically with any level of accuracy.

      1. That’s very true the only possible way would be horses in a tracker list that get a certain rating that you have allocated to such types.

        1. It could also be done using in-running comments potentially as well but you’d need to analyse all the comments and work out what to rate each one based on historical data.

  6. Michael,

    As a complete beginner, could you throw a couple of examples of some of these ‘methods’ of measurement for any particular factor to help me understand?
    Would be greatly appreciated!


    1. Hi Steve, thank you for the comment. For example you could look at class from the perspective of prize money, speed, form, wins etc… or of course a combination of approaches.

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