How to Win Using Place Alchemy

The betting scene is laden with punters seeking that jackpot win. Whether it is the 5-horse accumulator or the 25/1 outsider, it is too easy to seek out the big price and forget about value. The world and its mother know that e/w betting is seldom a value proposition but what about Place Only Betting on the Betfair Exchange?

Sure, it won’t give you that sexy 16/1 winner, but it could spit out a ton of winners that makes your bank balance look nice each month. In this article, I am providing you with a guide to using the Place Alchemy tool you’ll find on Racing Dossier. It helps you eliminate pretenders, focus on contenders and make some bank; so let’s get to it!

What is the Purpose of Place Alchemy?

The idea behind Place Alchemy is to help you find good value Place bets by removing horses with little chance of featuring and focusing on real contenders. It is a betting strategy that enables you to use your skill to make selections. While there are six rules to follow, you have enough wriggle room to make this strategy your own.

First and foremost, I must point out that Place Alchemy is specifically designed for All-Weather sprints, so all races over 6 furlongs long are eliminated from contention. Rather than bore you with a lengthy preamble, let’s get straight into it.

Using Place Alchemy

While the process may seem complicated, the Place Alchemy tool on Racing Dossier makes things a whole lot easier. The race I decided to look at was the 16:40 All-Weather race at Newcastle (on 26 October 2017) which was a 5f sprint. With a total of 10 runners and six rules to consider, the most sensible option is to create a table which looks something like this:

Name Rule #1 Rule #2 Rule #3 Rule #4 Rule #5 Rule #6
Bondi Beach Boy
Duke Cosimo
Fruit Salad
Indian Pursuit
Oriental Splendour
Savannah Beau
The Big Short

Now, we look at each of the six rules, in turn, to determine the most likely contenders and eliminate horses with little chance of featuring.

Rule #1 –Runners with Worst Speed Figures in the Last 30-90 Days

The relevant tables are the SHorAv30, SHorAv60, and the SHorAv90 ones for Rule #1. It is important to remember that you don’t eliminate any horse because of any single one of these rules. Also, horses with a lot of blank tables need further investigating.

Only four horses have speed figures for the last 30 days, and The Big Short fares very poorly. He also does relatively poorly in 60 and 90 days along with Duke Cosimo, Bondi Beach Boy, Fredricka, and Fruit Salad who are all in the bottom half with their respective figures.

If a horse does moderately poorly, it is best to mark it as ‘Wary’ rather than ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor.’

Rule #2 – Runners with Poor Consistency in Their Last 10 Races

This is classified as Cst10 and offers a ranking for horses based on past performances. Past wins get 6 points, second places get 2 points, and third places get 1 point. The maximum total is 60 points, and it is divided by 10. Check the table below to see how the horses were ranked. Impart fared worst of all but there were a few poor performers.

Rule #3 – Runners with Poor Consistency on the Going & Race Type & Distance over Their Last 6 Races

Cst6S refers to the consistency of last six races on race type; Cst6G means consistency of last six races on race going, while Cst6D refers to consistency over distance. When ranking horses in Rule #3, you must take all three figures into account.

Overall, Bondi Beach Boy and Savannah Beau perform poorly whereas Liquid and Indian Pursuit fare well.

Rule #4 – Runners Dropping Down in Official Class by 3+ Levels

This means we are looking for horses with -3 in the Class Movement box, but no horse meets the criteria. Indeed, you won’t find it very often but generally speaking, horses that move down by three classes perform extremely poorly and are worth eliminating.

Rule #5 – Runners with Worst Recent Form

You really need Racing Dossier for this one, and the relevant figure is in the ACPFPCI table. The rating starts at 1500 and goes up or down based on performances. Fruit Salad and The Big Short are the only runners with a rating below 1500, but neither is a mile behind the rest.

Rule #6 – Runners with Worst Speed Figure in the Last Outing

This rule is covered by the last five columns in the table which means:

  • SPDFIGLr: Last race’s speed figure.
  • RnkSPDFIGLr: The horse’s ranking in terms of speed in last race. 1 = first, 2 = second etc.
  • RnkSHorPro: The horse’s ranking in this race for its projected speed rating.
  • RnkSHorAvG: The horse’s ranking for average speed rating over the ground condition in today’s race.
  • RankSHorAvD: The horse’s ranking for average speed rating over the distance of today’s race.

The last three columns outline the difference between the horse and the best in the race for those factors. A smart way to handle the speed figure calculation is to get the average rating for each horse’s last race and mark any horse below this figure as a possible problem.

The average for this race is about 130, so Fredricka is a concern while The Big Short has performed badly. While Fredricka is average overall, The Big Short consistently scores in the bottom half.

Name Rule #1 Rule #2 Rule #3 Rule #4 Rule #5 Rule #6
Bondi Beach Boy Wary Very Poor Poor Good
Duke Cosimo Wary Wary Good Good
Fredricka Poor Very Good Good
Fruit Salad Poor Good Very Good Poor Wary
Impart Good Very Poor Wary
Indian Pursuit Very Good Good
Liquid Very Good Very Good Poor
Oriental Splendour Good
Savannah Beau Very Good Wary Poor
The Big Short Very Poor Good Poor Poor

Here is what the table looks like at the end. You should eliminate any horse with one ‘Very Poor’ and any with two or more ‘Poor’ results. As a result, I am removing The Big Short, Impart, Bondi Beach Boy and Fruit Salad from consideration. I also added Good and Very Good in some cases, but that’s your decision.

Finalizing Your Selections

The next step is to narrow your list by including only contenders with a 1 or 2 in the RnkSHorPro, RnkSHorAvG and RnkSHOrAvD tables. We end up with Oriental Splendour, Fredricka, Indian Pursuit and Duke Cosimo. Now you need to check out the DiffTpShor tables and look for the best performers. A horse with ‘16’ in its column means it performed 16 points behind the best horse.

As far as our contenders go, Oriental Splendour is ranked #1 in two of the three columns but is a whopping 65 points behind in terms of speed rating average. Fredricka has the most balanced set of figures. At this point, you have to decide if, after all that work, you fancy making a bet!

Fredricka is almost 5/1 to place and is 25/1 to win. Duke Cosimo started the race as co-favourite while the other two contenders were outsiders. Ultimately, Fredricka finished in fifth just two lengths off third place.

Final Thoughts

One of the great things about Place Alchemy is that you can use your racing knowledge to decide what to do with the data. It is not comprised of a rigid set of statistics that offers no wriggle room. You may well interpret the data differently to me and come up with your own contenders. You can also decide to bet on every contender, one contender or none at all!

What I can tell you is that Michael has managed a strike rate of over 40% using Place Alchemy from approximately 2,000 bets for a very nice ROI of 16%; more than you’ll get from your local bank!

Patrick Lynch

Patrick graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with an MA in Literature and Publishing but decided he would rather have the freedom of a freelance writer than be stuck in a publishing house all day. He has enjoyed this freedom since 2009 and has written thousands of articles on a variety of topics but sports betting is his passion. While his specialty is finding mismatches in obscure football leagues, he also likes to use his research skills to provide punters with detailed winning strategies in horse racing. You can check out his personal blog on or Twitter @pl1982 where he writes content to help small businesses achieve success.
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