Van Der Wilding: A Horse Racing Betting Strategy

Over a year ago I wrote a couple of posts on the Van Der Wheil method used in horse racing. The first one was called The Van Der Wheil Method and it outlined how the ratings are calculated. The second one was called A Method For Using Van Der Wheil and is a video outlining a strategy that you can use to find selections using the Van Der Wheil ratings.

So what the hell am I writing about today?

I’m writing a three part strategy that is based on the Van Der Wheil ratings inside the Racing Dossier. These ratings are based on the original calculations but have a slight twist that, in my experience, has made them more effective.

Let me start with a…

Summary of the Van Der Wheil Ratings

There are two ratings that were created, an Ability rating and a Form rating. The Ability rating are based on the prize money a horse has earned. The Form rating is based on a horses finish position in its last three races.

You can get a complete breakdown of the calculations here.

As well as the ratings there was also a principle that was followed when finding selections, and this principle is:

  1. Find horses of the best ability which means we need to look in the best races
  2. Compare form against ability to see which runners are the strongest
  3. Focus on the top five in the betting forecast as the winner comes from there 83% of the time

With these principles in place, the method of finding a selection is:

  1. Consider the two most valuable races on the card.
  2. Rate the entire field for ability
  3. Select the most consistent runners (based on form rating) in the top five in the betting forecast

What is Van Der Wilding

A good question! This is an approach that I have created based on the Van Der Wheil ratings and selection process.

And it’s an approach I am going to share with you over three posts.

There are three elements to the Van Der Wilding process, and these are:

  1. Use adjusted VDW ratings to assess the class/form of horses to find contenders
  2. Implement form reading to reduce contenders to selections
  3. How to bet on selections to maximise strike rate and profit

The first of these steps is what you are reading in this post, the other two shall follow shortly.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: Using VDW Ratings To Find Contenders

I would like to begin by highlighting the first major difference in my approach. I am not going to focus on the most valuable races each day, but we are going to…

Focus only on races where ALL runners have had a minimum of five runs

This will remove any races that have unexposed runners and give us enough data to be able to base our analysis on.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 08.39.47

As you can see in the race above, none of the runners have had five runs so we would pass on analysing this race.

But in this race…

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 08.41.00

All the runners have had at least five runs. The above race actually has 14 runners and goes off the screen, but all of them have had at least five runs which would make this race one we could analyse.

The next step is to only consider the top five horses in the horse racing betting market. To do this we go to Betfair to check out the odds. Ideally you want to do this as close to the off time as possible (15 minutes before should be plenty of time if you have had practice) or you can choose to rate all the horses in the race (details in the next step) first and then shortlist using the top 5 horses in the betting market 15/10 minutes before the race starts.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 08.42.22

The top five horses at the time of writing are:

Claims The Roses

Spring Loaded


Elis Eliz

Magnus Maximus

With those five horses we are now going to rate them for the VDW ability and form ratings. If you’re a member of Racing Dossier then you already have them in your software and you don’t need to worry about rating them.

If not you can read this post to find out how to calculate the ratings.

You can see the ratings for these horses below:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 08.43.37

Spring Loaded, Elis Eliz and Claim The Roses all have very similar VDW Form figures. Magnus Maximus has by far the highest VDW Ability rating with Claim The Roses and Spring Loaded next best and similar to each other. Upavon is near the bottom for both of these.

That means we can remove Upavon from our contender list and focus on Spring Loaded, Elis Eliz, Claim The Roses and Magnus Maximus.

At this stage you will sometimes find you can use the ratings to remove two or three runners and sometimes the horses scores are so close together that you can’t remove any.

In the next post we will move on to Step 2: Using Form To Reduce Contenders To 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.
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