Profitable Horse Racing Systems

DetectiveThis site is dedicated to analysis of horse racing betting systems. There are as many horse racing systems as there are betting punters and my goal is to plough through them to pick out some of the more promising ones for further investigation and weed out the rubbish and out-and-out cons. I’m doing this largely for my own benefit (i.e. to make a regular, reliable profit gambling on the horse races) but I’ll also put my analysis up on this website to make this a bit more of a collaborative exercise than a lonely battle against the bookies! Any comments and suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.  It will take a little while to work through everything as there’s a mountain of information on horse racing out there so please keep checking back for new content. There will probably be several revisions of the site layout too as the work falls into place.

Let’s get into the meat of it then.

Horse racing betting systems fall into several categories and are based on a variety of different criteria. They vary in complexity from “bet on every horse that A.P. McCoy is riding” to enormous databases of past race results churning out supposed correlations between various factors such as form, course, distance, jockey, trainer, etc.

Some horse racing systems even incorporate financial strategies such as hedging (reducing risk by betting on several different outcomes) and arbitrage (taking advantage of imperfections in the market to lay a horse at one price and buy it back at another to guarantee a small profit). Additionally, the rise of Betting Exchanges such as Betfair in recent years has opened up a whole new range of strategies to gamblers to work with.

Most horse racing systems though work on some combination of the ‘bread and butter’ strategies of my youth such as, jockey form, trainer form, course, distance and lane draw.


So do Horse Racing Betting Systems actually work?

Sad to say it but for the majority of them the answer is NO! However, there is evidence that some systems, if operated intelligently and with discipline, can return a steady profit over time.

To me the crux of making money on horse racing is not actually beating the bookies. They will always win given the volume of bets being placed every second of every day. No the trick is to come in the top 10 per cent (is it even that??) of gamblers who make a profit subsidised by the remaining 90%.

Punters will flick from system to system without giving them a fair try. Others will stick blindly to a betting system time after time even though it is making a loss. See the section on following jockeys’ form for example.

Intelligence and discipline are the keys to making money with systems. Horse racing systems often start with a simple idea or observation. E.g. say someone notices that the Guardian tipster is often right when he picks races under a mile (I’m not saying this is true – just talking hypothetically). The punter would then need to observe this over a period of time, narrowing and widening the focus to get more data and make tweaks and modifications to the system over time. Profitable horse racing systems are a long game not a quick win. The punter who expects instant profits, guaranteed results and big payouts with no risk invariably will find himself in the 90% of losers. The punter who successfully hones a horse racing system over time, cultivating it and training it, has a chance of success.

We will cover the intelligence bit in the forthcoming analysis of the various systems. However, as a starter for ten the following golden rules should be borne in mind:

  1. Only bet when you find value. If in doubt don’t bet!
    • Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But how many times in the past have you had a ‘flutter’ just for the sake of it?? Betting Systems aren’t flutters remember that.
  2. Don’t gamble what you can’t afford to lose
    • Loses on horse racing soon mount up – particularly if you start chasing your tail trying to win back your loses. Bigger and bigger bets soon spiral out of control. A losing streak is part and parcel of gambling and no system is 100% perfect. Don’t veer off your strategy to try to recoup loses.
    • Best of all view horse racing as a hobby not a profession and you’ll be a lot safer
  3. Use your head.
    • It is almost impossible to remove emotion from a betting decision. Only Spock or a computer could be completely logical when placing a bet; especially a big one. Horse racing is exciting – that’s kind of the point! However, betting on your gut feel is destined to leave you on bread and water.
    • That’s the beauty of a numerical betting system I guess. It will churn out an answer based on input criteria leaving less room for sentiment. Far more likely to lead to profits than
  4. Preparation is key
    • Particularly true for those actually attending a race meeting if you turn up on the day and scour the form book five minutes before the off then you are more likely to make a rushed, emotional bet than someone who has worked his horse racing system in advance and knows exactly where the value rides are.
    • This also applies to online betting too. Preparing your strategy allows you more time to adapt to changes to the weather conditions, runners, jockeys, etc.
    • Knowing what you are betting on also gives you more time to work out where to bet. Bookies odds vary. Not by a huge amount but overtime 5-10% here and there will add up and boost your profits.
    • Worst of all is a missed opportunity. Imagine successfully picking the winner then not getting time to put the bet on? That’s happened to me on more than one occasion!
  5. Don’t be a gossip
    • Make your own decisions and don’t listen to or give tips
    • There’s nothing worse than the pub or betting shop tipster who think he knows a thing or two. If he was any good at gambling he’d probably be drinking in a better class of establishment!
    • Similarly keep your own selections to yourself if you can. Every system has the odd loser and it can knock your confidence if the horse you tip to the lads down the pub comes in dead last!
  6. Be a notebook geek
    • The devil’s in the data and keeping track of profits and losses will, over time, build into the foundation for a profitable horse racing system of your own. Spend a bit of time to reflect on what your horse did right or wrong and what you could improve on next time.
    • If you ran your own business you’d certainly keep track of what products or services sold the best or made the most profit. Betting on the horses is no different; or shouldn’t be if you want to be a top ten percenter!
  7. Network and share
    • Notwithstanding what I say above about not sharing your tips you should certainly share ideas and failures and successes with other punters. There are plenty of forum boards out there to join and chances are those inclined to join a forum are a little bit more clued up and savvy than your average gambling.

Click here to view my analysis of the horse race betting systems.