Your A…B…C to Finding Profits

It’s been a few weeks since I last dug into some statistics for you, and so I decided that it was time to jump back in today.

I want to focus on helping you to find selections as fast as possible (whilst still making a profit of course!)

In order to do that I’m going to focus on using just the first four in the betting. And there are good reasons for that:

1. It reduces the field to just four runners instantly
2.They win 80% of all races

So the challenge was to see if we could make a profit using just the top four runners in the market in any race.

The question was…

Where to start?

Well… I have more factors in my racing database than most people, but I wanted to make sure that whatever I used you can find in the Racing Post, Sporting Life or any other website.

So, it seemed sensible to start by considering the finish position a horse achieved in their last race. For this analysis, I used all the current data available for 2014.

Although it may have been a sensible place to start. Looking at the table below we can see that there is absolutely no value to be had in this information to SP.


Finish Pos. Last Race Wins Runs Profit ROI
1 1892 6001 -801 -10%
2 1868 7998 -912 -11%
3 1315 6777 -858 -13%
4 973 5376 -665 -12%


That’s not really surprising. After all the finish position of the last race is considered by pretty much every single bettor.

Which means we’re going to need to get a bit more sneaky if we’re going to make it work for us.

How about using the number of lengths behind the winner in the last race instead?


Distance Behind Winner LTO Wins Runs Profit ROI
0.1 101 424 -71 -17%
0.25 186 820 -172 -21%
0.5 571 2448 -297 -12%
1 933 4063 -456 -11%


That performance is even worse!

But if we think about it, that’s not completely unexpected. After all, if a horse came just 0.25 lengths behind the winner in the last race would you not expect them to perform well again today?

Of course you would.

What we need to do is to find the horses that went under the radar. The horses that looked to have performed badly, or not able to compete today on the face but… who actually look to be very strong if you know what to look for.

To do that we’re going to need to consider factors that are less obvious such as…

The number of days since the horse had a good race at today’s distance.


Days Since Last Good Run At Distance Wins Runs Profit ROI
<7 177 528 7 1%
<14 567 1908 -151 -6%
<30 1419 6319 -456 -7%
<45 1812 8378 -826 -10%


Who said it was difficult to make a profit?

We’ve used two rules and already have found a section of horses that makes a 1% profit to SP.

The rules are:

1.  Top four in the betting
2. Has had a good race at the same distance in the last 7 days

And, there’s over 1 selection a day, which means there’s space to narrow these down even further and make more profits.

You may be wondering how much profit these horses would have made to Betfair SP.

After all, I always say that if you can get break-even or just above to SP then you’ll make a nice profit at Betfair SP.

So, to Betfair SP, these selections would have made a profit of… 61.48 units after commission.

Pretty good, considering how fast the selection process would be.

But I wouldn’t suggest that you simply go and bet on these without paper trading as they haven’t been tested against unseen data.

Going forwards I will only use the data up to the 31st July 2014 and will test it on the data from the 1st August to the present day.

Next I’m going to add in one of my favourite factors, the DSLGR. If you haven’t come across this factor before, it stands for Days Since Last Good Race.

It’s easy to work out from any site that has race cards and is something that offers good value in the market because it’s not readily available.

Just using the data up to the 31st July 2014. We can see that if we limit the horses to those that had a good race between 30 and 180 days ago we increase the ROI to SP.


3.975 Profit
10 Wins
38 Losses
48 Bets
21% SR
8% ROI


We now have just three rules. But what happens if we now use the latest rule on the data that was unseen from the 1st August 2014 to the present day?


8 Profit
5 Wins
14 Losses
19 Bets
26% SR
42% ROI


The ROI actually increases to an incredible 42% at SP.

But by adding this extra rule we have significantly reduced the selections to just 67 over 11 months. That’s an average of just 6 per month or 1.5 per week.

So you’d have to be patient.

However with such a high strike rate you could have a small bankroll and bet to larger stakes.

Now, how do you put this into an ABC of finding profitable long-term selections?

Well, I would use this as a contender approach. The rules are:

1. Top four in the betting
2.Has had a good race at the same distance in the last 7 days
3.DSLGR is between 30 and 180

Because the third rule reduces the field a lot, you may want to stick with just the first two rules.

Applying these two rules will reduce the days racing down to around 11 selections per week.

Each of the selections I would look at in detail. Particularly focusing on whether they have a preference for the ground conditions and if they have the class to compete against the other runners.

If they both like the ground conditions and have proven to be able to compete against the class of the other runners, then they would become a bet.

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

    Apologies for being dense but

    a) is the definition of a ‘good race’ a max of 1 length behind winner?

    and even denser…

    b) because of rule 2 doesn’t DSLGR have to be <7


    1. Hi Spike, good questions. For the purposes of this article I considered the DSLGR to be a finish position of 1,2,3 or within 2 lengths of the winner in races up to 7 furlong and 3 lengths of the winner in longer races. The third rule is an OR, so any horse that hasn’t had a good race at distance in last 7 days may have had a good race in the last 30-180 days. Sorry for the confusion on that I didn’t make it clear, I shall change it now.

  2. Many years ago I operated something similar (no spreadsheets, no computer, just passion) but to the extent that bets were indeed so few & far between I kept missing them. I then tried to correlate the strike rate with courses (to save me bothering to waste time on looking at all the cards), trainers’ records at these courses….and so on…..I really now do believe that I should have been using a good tipping service if I’d been going to all this hard work for financial gain…but where’s the fun in that? And I suspect that I’d be following my own fancies negating –
    perhaps even decreasing profits further. I guess I need a good shrink as well as a tipster!

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