Won Last Time Out – How Important Is It Really?

There was a discussion taking place in our members forum recently about how far back in a horses history a win is still an important factor and, with that in mind, I thought that I would take a look at how important a row of wins are in betting. Is have the last race as a winner just as important as having the last two races as a winner and is that as important as have the last four races as winners.

And, of course, are these runners profitable to bet.

To do this I’ve taken data for all of 2013, which gives us 110,118 runners.

Won Runners Winners SR Profit ROI PIV
Last Race 10297 1874 18% -1770 -17% 0.90
Last 2 Races 1627 350 22% -266 -16% 0.88
Last 3 Races 289 66 23% -87 -30% 0.82
Last 4 Races 71 20 28% -29 -41% 0.81

As you can see from the table above, the strike rate significantly improves for every win a horse has had in it’s last four races. It goes from 18% for horses that have won their last race to 28% for horses that have won all their last four races.


Also notice how the ROI significantly drops as well. We start at -17% for horses who’ve won their last race, going to -41% for horses that have won all their last four races.

This isn’t unexpected because this is the most obvious form that there is, and it shows us that betting on these horses is generally not an advisable thing to do as they’re long-term very bad bets.

If we want to do anything with this then we’re going to need to only look at the horses last race, so let’s look at how the last races finish position pans out across other positions.

Finish Position Runners Winners SR Profit ROI PIV
1 10297 1874 18% -1770 -17% 0.90
2 10353 1747 17% -2189 -21% 0.85
3 10090 1396 14% -1786 -18% 0.89
4 9615 1122 12% -1851 -19% 0.89

Broken down by the last finish position of runners we can see that this is not going to be offering us any advantage. The strike rate decreases and we get no benefits on the ROI or the PIV (Pool Impact Value).

What we’re doing is disproving a large amount of systems that are available which tell you to start by looking for a horses who’ve won their last two or three races. This information on it’s own offers absolutely no edge and will lose you money.


Because it’s very easily available to everyone betting on the races. In fact, it’s the first place that most punters start which means that it’s been accounted for in the market.

However, before we draw a conclusion I will look once more at how the last finish positions perform when we combine them with the horses being favourite in the race.

Finish Position Runners Winners SR Profit ROI PIV
1 2868 1012 35% -139 -5% 0.95
2 2692 903 34% -267 -10% 0.91
3 1611 525 33% -78 -5% 0.96
4 1059 328 31% -28 -3% 0.94

Now we’re starting to make some progress. Horses that finished 4th last time out but are favourites this time only lose 3% of their stake to SP, but they still win 31% of their races.

They’re still not losing more races than expected, the PIV figure, but we’re starting to get something that we may be able to work with as a start point.

In fact, it’s possible that this may be break-even, or even just profitable, to Betfair SP!

Finish Position Runners Winners SR Profit ROI PIV
1 2868 1012 35% 0 0% 1.03
2 2693 903 34% -156 -6% 0.99
3 1612 526 33% -18 -1% 1.04
4 1058 327 31% 21 2% 1.02

I’ve now changed the odds we’re using to Betfair SP and we can see that this makes a big difference. Now the horses that finished in fourth place last time out and are now favourites actually make a small profit of 2%!

Those who won last time out and are favourites are break even.

Now, I don’t suggest that you go and start betting on these selections, and bear in mind that you need to be getting the best odds available in order to make them break-even or slightly profitable.

But… you can use this information to kickstart your own analysis for a strategy!

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. Hi Michael
    Thank you for the Christmas present, looking forward to using it over the Christmas period. Your the best blog on the internet and the most generous too. I am enjoying the smartsigger articles and recommend them to one and all, oh and have a great Christmas

  2. Hi Michael
    Thanks for the stats . Can I ask you where do you get data to make analizes?
    I also liked your article last monday on betfan, which is very simillar to this one

  3. I would question your initial data for 2013. Horses winning the last 4 is bets-130, wins-48, S/R-36.92%, profit to BSP- -£20.04. All UK & IRE races from 1/1/13 to 22/12/13. All previous wins in UK & IRE, no overseas data. Check it out on HRB.

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. Our data is provided by the Racing Post and Betfair, as I don’t know who provides HRB data, the structure it forms who how they interrogate the information I have no way of looking into why there is this difference, it may be due to the difference in handling between seasons which has given them slightly more. The above data is based on horses performance within the same season. However we do daily integrity checks on all our data and are confident in its accuracy.

  4. If I am to understand that the sequence of wins must all be from the same season then HRB go bets-49, wins-15, S/R-30.61%, profit to BSP- -£12.95, where all 4 time winners have runat least 4 times that season. I would say that both sources of data are correct but are being interpreted in different ways which is always the case with any set of stats.

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